Hydroponics: Benefits and Challenges

Hydroponics is an innovative technique of cultivation. Hydroponic gardening has adapted itself quickly to many conditions. These conditions range from outdoor field culture and indoor greenhouses to highly specific culture in atomic submarines and space stations.

The improved control over the growing environment in hydroponic gardening provides the finest possible conditions for plant growth. This environment results in better quality crops and higher yields.

Though hydroponic gardening has numerous benefits, it has some prominent limitations too. If you’re a beginner in hydroponics, here’s the summary for you.

Benefits

  1. Environment Independent. Hydroponics is independent of varying weather conditions, seasons, soil type, etc. This is because plants are cultivated in soilless medium and completely controlled condition leading to maximum production.
  2. Continuous Cultivation of Variety Crops. With hydroponic gardening, it is possible to grow your desired crops continuously even though it is off-season. This will fetch you a good market price for your crops. You can grow a wide variety of crops in your hydroponic garden without the hassle of crop rotation.
  3. Bigger Size, Bigger Yields. Hydroponic gardening provides optimum nutrition to plants at every specific growth phase. The plants utilize energy to grow faster, healthier, and to produce more yields.
  4. Eco-friendly. Hydroponics helps in conserving water, eliminating the need for chemical fertilizer and pesticides used in farming methods. It produces highly nutritive, chemical-free, tastier fruits and vegetables.

Challenges

  1. Capital Intensive. Hydroponic gardening requires high initial capital investment for soilless cultivation and for buying equipment for controlling the plant’s environment. You might have to hire labor for setting up the hydroponics system if you’re doing it on a large scale.
  2. Supervision Skills. Hydroponic plants need continual monitoring of solution concentration, water levels, pH and EC levels, nutrition deficiency, aeration. Furthermore, the plants need maintenance of the required growing conditions inside your greenhouse or grow rooms. If you fail to check any of these factors, you would probably kill your sensitive plants.
  3. Highly Energy Dependent. This process requires higher energy inputs to run the pumps, light, fans and other equipment. If there’s an electrical or mechanical breakdown, the whole hydroponics system can stop functioning thereby drying your plants.
  4. Faster Disease Spread. Though hydroponic gardening is carried out in an almost pest-free environment; still if any disease occurs it spreads really fast. If unchecked instantaneously, due to the sharing of a common nutrient solution by all the plants.

Therefore, if you’re prepared to tackle all these limitations of hydroponic gardening, you would never have the fear of losing your hard grown crops.

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