Top Ten Reasons to Grow a Hydroponic Garden

1051. Grow year-round indoors – Hydroponic gardening is one of the best ways to grow fresh vegetables year-round. It is also a great alternative for growing a variety of plants in smaller spaces, such as indoors. Depending on the size of your system, electricity costs of growing indoors will usually be less than $3 a month. You can install your hydroponic setup outdoors as well. (This is what I do because I have a small house) By growing indoors however you can avoid several environmental problems such as insects and other pests such as squirrels and birds that want your tasty veggies too! Heavy rain, strong wind, or excessive heat that damages your plants aren’t a concern either when growing indoors.

2. Grow more in less space – In a hydroponic garden nutrients are pumped directly to the plants, so you can grow plants closer together. This is made possible because the plants roots do not have to compete for water and nutrients. For instance, if you wanted to grow plants the traditional way you would have to space the plants out far enough in the soil so that they could each take up enough water and nutrients to grow properly. If you wanted to grow 20 lettuce plants in soil it would require an area of approximately 20 square feet. In a hydroponic setup you could grow 20 plants in an area of only 8 square feet.

3. Control all growth factors – In a hydroponic system you can control all of the factors such as the amount of light, water, and nutrients by simply turning on a switch or adjusting a timer. You also control the PH of the nutrient solution as well. With a traditional garden planted in soil this is much more difficult. For instance, you cannot control the soil quality without adding expensive fertilizers of back filling with potting soil. Nor can you control the lighting as some days may be cloudy. Watering your garden is easy to control however if you don’t have soil that retains water very well then you may have to water more which would ultimately run up your water bill, especially if you live in a dry climate. The ability to control these factors gives you the ability to make your plants grow faster, healthier, and produce a more bountiful harvest.

4. No weeding – Nuisance weeds do not grow in a hydroponic set up (unless you plant them there)

5. No backbreaking work – You don’t have to work the soil in a hydroponic system because there is no soil. Typically a hydroponic system is raised up a few feet so no need to be hunched over as you tend your garden.

6. Scarcity of fresh water – Ocean water may cover more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, but thirsty humans rely on finite supplies of freshwater for hydration and agricultural purposes to stay alive. It is estimated that only 3% of all water supplies is fresh water most of which is locked up in the arctic. And with exploding human population growth, especially in poor countries, these finite supplies get quickly spoken for. Hydroponics can help to mitigate this problem as many systems recycle the nutrient solution. According to researchers, hydroponic systems use 10 times less water than conventional agriculture. This can be reduced even further by using vapor condensers in greenhouses where hydroponics is used.

7. Poor soil quality – Soil is the most commonly used medium for plants that not just provides support, nutrients, oxygen, it also conveys water and other helpful microorganisms to the roots. This tried and true type of growth is still use overwhelmingly in all major parts of the planet. On the other hand, frequently this same soil carries with it risks to your plant because of issues such as bug infestation, PH, inadequate drainage, poor water retention, or wearing because of soil erosion. Soil infertility owing to constant cultivation brings about inferior yields and low quality produce. For these reasons, hydroponic growing is an attractive option for many producers.

8. Where you live – Hydroponics is an option for people who live in an urban setting. Typically, residents of apartment buildings do not have access to an open plot of land where they can grow vegetables. Often times they have a balcony or patio, however only a small number of plants can be grow in containers due to limited space. Hydroponics solves that problem by allowing more plants to be grown in a smaller space.

9. Less dependency on foreign oil – Of all the oil that is imported to the US, 60% of it is used to produce food. Whether the oil is used by farmers to cultivate or truckers to transport it to market. Our desire to eat requires substantial quantities of oil. Growing food locally via hydroponics will reduce those food miles traveled and will retain more nutrients in the food, help the environment, reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil and create a less centralized food chain, with less risk of widespread disease or terrorism. Nationally, more and more incidents have come up. For instance, the recall of fresh spinach grown in California because of a threat of E. coli contamination. When any of these food incidents happen, it seems like there is a heightened interest in people wanting to know the origin of their food. People want local produce and local fruits. Eating seasonal and purchasing locally keeps the local economy stable, and helps everyone eat better.

10. It’s fun – Another reason to grow a hydroponic garden is quite simply its fun and interesting. If you like to tinker with stuff then this may be for you.