Why should you consider a hydroponic grow system?
A hydroponic grow system is a gardening system that uses primarily water instead of soil as the method of distributing nutrients. The word comes from the marriage of two different root words: Hydro meaning “water” and ponic meaning “to work.” Hydroponics is literally “the work of water,” the art of growing plants using water.
The benefits of a hydroponic grow system are two-fold. Not only do hydroponics systems grow vegetables that are healthy, easy and affordable – it’s also great for the environment. Here are some of the reasons why hydroponics work for protecting the environment:
- Transportation Costs. Traditional produce is transported by land and sea, and occasionally by air, using gas and oil while producing exhaust. When you grow your own food, you completely eliminate these pollutants.
- No Pesticides or Herbicides. Pesticides and herbicides are highly damaging to the environment. When plants are sprayed, and then watered, the water pushed pesticides into the ground, with some ending up in the groundwater. It then makes its way into ecosystems, killing all kinds of insects and other small animals. That damages the food chain, having a powerful negative impact on a wide range of species. With hydroponics, you take yourself out of this harmful cycle.
- No Harmful Fertilizer. Fertilizer production is actually a very toxic process., producing compounds like ammonia and fluoride. A lot of fertilizer production byproducts need to be disposed of as toxic waste. By avoiding the use of commercial fertilizer, you also reduce your environmental footprint.
- Less Waste Water. Did you know that a huge portion of the world’s water supply goes to growing food? That’s right – we literally dump most of our water straight into the ground. Meanwhile, water prices are rising all over the world and many places are facing water shortages. Hydroponics on the other hand recycles its water, so you aren’t wasting enormous amounts of water on gardening.
How do you get started with your own hydroponic grow system?
Before you get build your own hydroponics system, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- You’ll want to have a few days of free time to get the system set up. Once it’s setup the system requires less time than traditional gardening; but you should set aside some time to get everything up and running.
- Research the specific plants you’re planning on growing. Different plants need different types of lighting, different pH levels and sometimes different nutrients.
- Start simple, then move up. Don’t get bogged down in the minutia of equipment and options. Just get your first garden started. It’s much easier to add to it later down the line.
What can you grow in a hydroponic grow system?
You can grow just about any vegetable or fruit using hydroponics. Some good plants to start with are:
You’ll want to start these as seeds in starter plugs, then transplant into the main hydroponics system. As you get more confident with the growing system and how it works, add different fruits and vegetables to get a year round harvest.
Have you ever used a hydroponic system? What are your experiences with it? Be sure to pin this for later!
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.