Hydroponics means growing plants on an artificial basis, without using natural soil. The plant in this case does not feed on the roots in natural soil saturated with minerals and water, but in an air-humid environment. It is saturated with a solution of mineral salts, depending on the needs of the plant. Recently, humanity is increasingly turning to hydroponics - there are regions where water is sorely lacking.
The technology has proven itself excellent in hot, dry countries, allowing you to take several crops per year. Let's take a look at the most popular misconceptions about this fun way of growing plants.
Hydroponics is a new technology. This technology has proven itself since the days of Ancient Egypt. Hydroponically grown fruits and vegetables were served on the table to the pharaohs. And one of the wonders of the world, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, was essentially a hydroponic garden. People in India are used to growing plants directly in coconut fiber by submerging the roots directly in water. So mankind has owned the "new" technology for thousands of years. This technique has long been known, it is just very different from the traditional ones.
Hydroponics produces artificial and unnatural products. The very name of the technology evokes the idea of something strange, almost medical and exclusively for the initiated. However, what could be more natural than normal plant growth? They need simple things for this, these needs are in the right volume and are provided by hydroponics. It's just a different way of getting nutrients than in the soil. No genetic mutation or anything unusual happens. The nutrient solutions themselves are based on simple chemical compounds, no hidden steroids are added there. It is no coincidence that hydroponic products are considered organic. Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs testify that already at that time methods similar to modern ones were used. With no need for pesticides and chemicals to be applied to products from hydroponic gardens to combat soil-dwelling insects, this food is much more environmentally friendly.
Hydroponics is bad for the environment. The myth is completely unfair to technology. Thanks to the cultivation of plants in this way, a person is much more careful about water bodies and land compared to traditional methods cultivated in gardens and vegetable gardens. Water is considered the most precious resource of mankind, while hydroponics can save 70 to 90 percent of liquid compared to conventional methods. The benefit is that fertilizer from the plants does not end up in waterways, which can happen in traditional gardening.
Hydroponics is difficult, unacceptable for the average person. Simplistically, you can think of hydroponics as growing without soil. To prepare for such a process, no special sophistication or complex space technologies are required. An ordinary cheap bucket or flower pot filled with substrate is enough. Irrigation is done with a hydroponic solution. In fact, that's the whole technology. Another option for building a whole system would be to position the pots in the holes in the foam sheet. He himself can float on the surface of a container with an aerated solution. This type of hydroponic complex is very popular with simple educational school projects. And then, with the help of imagination, you can automate the process, completely controlling the place of plant life. However, these are additional frills that are not necessary when creating a simple yet effective hydroponic garden. A person of any age can learn the basics and nuances of hydroponics.
Hydroponics is too expensive technology. This statement is only partially true. As with any hobby, the enthusiast will immediately want to experience new improvements or implement new knowledge gained. But gardeners also spend money on what they like. Some arrange orchids, others build bonsai, and others endlessly improve their garden. And here it often turns out that the allocated budget is not enough to achieve the result. The situation is similar with hydroponics, which are basically inexpensive.
Hydroponics technology has not spread in the world. In fact, this technology is actively used in many countries. It is especially in demand where the climate does not make it possible to grow rich crops, or the soil is too poor. Hydroponics also helps in countries where the soil is so fertilized that it has become toxic. It's simply not safe to grow anything there. And even the United States is among such countries. In British Columbia, 90% of all greenhouse production is hydroponic, and in Israel 80% of all vegetables, herbs and fruits are grown this way.
Hydroponics is used only indoors. One of the great things about hydroponics is the ability to grow plants both indoors and out in the sun. The advantage of growing indoors is that it is the person who controls and manages the season. It can fully last all 12 months of the year. The goal of hydroponics is to grow herbs, vegetables and flowers in a controlled environment. Many large farms are moving production outdoors to expand their workspace. But the climate in this case must also be suitable. And small farms choose enclosed spaces where lighting and seasonality can be fully controlled. In general, today, just as natural cultivation is moving indoors, hydroponics is making its way back.
No pesticides are required for hydroponics. I would even like to believe in this myth. However, pesticides are still used, albeit less and less. Healthy plants are already better able to withstand attacks and diseases than weak ones. And the main spread of diseases is soil, in this case it is excluded. But diseases can appear even in closed rooms. Any garden must be monitored and controlled so that pests do not appear there. In defense of hydroponics, one can only say that toxic drugs are used here in a minimal way.
Due to hydroponics, huge plants can be grown. This myth also has an existing foundation, but there are some important nuances. Any seed, like a living being, has a genetic code. It determines plant size, fruit size, yield potential, and flavor. Hydroponics alone cannot make huge salad tomatoes from planted cherry tomatoes, but it is possible to get perfect small fruits. Naturally, it is necessary that the genes also dispose to this. In other words, it is possible to get huge fruits if it was originally provided by nature, but it is difficult to achieve a result in the natural environment. The soil does not allow to realize the full potential of the plant, because hundreds of parameters affect the growth process. Hydroponics allows you to manage them. This is what makes it an unbeatable option. It can be mentioned at least that in the soil the plant spends its resources and energy to find food, and with hydroponics everything you need is nearby and in an accessible form. This allows the plant to spend energy purposefully on its rapid growth, flowering and maximum yield with the best taste. In his book Hydroponic Growing, Dr. Howard Rash calculated how much crop could be harvested in the same area using the same technology. Cucumbers grown on soil can be harvested about 3.5 tons, while using hydroponics this figure increases 4 times! Tomatoes can be obtained 5-10 tons per acre in the traditional case and 60-300 tons with the hydroponic method. And these results can be applied to any plant. All of Canada requires about 200 thousand tons of tomatoes per year. The fields for this will have to be sown about 25 thousand acres, but hydroponics will give the required volume for only 1,300 acres.
Hydroponics is used by criminals for criminal purposes. One day Henry Ford received a strange letter. A bank robber who traded during the Great Depression and killed several officers in the chase, thanked the industrialist for creating such a reliable and fast car. But can Ford be considered a criminal on this basis? Likewise, the use of hydroponics is also interesting for criminals because this method allows you to secretly and efficiently grow plants. But this casts a shadow over the entire industry, which can solve the problem of hunger and food shortages. But the percentage of criminals using hydroponic systems is comparable to how often Ford cars were used in robberies. The news needs strong stories, but who cares about hydroponic systems that work for legal purposes? Criminals use this technique, in particular, to grow hemp. The popularity of hydroponics is understandable - you can harvest a bountiful and high-quality crop out of sight of prying eyes.
The lighting used in hydroponics is life-threatening. There is a popular misconception that lighting used in hydroponics can be harmful to the skin or eyes. That is why you cannot be under the rays of an artificial source for a long time. This myth appeared because these devices are superficially similar to those used in tanning salons. But plants don't really need ultraviolet light, so hydroponic lamps hardly emit it. As a result, they are as safe as conventional luminaires in a living space.
The lighting for hydroponics needs to be on all the time. Many people are afraid to get involved with hydroponics, considering it a ruinous business. It is painfully a lot to pay for always-on lamps. And although some experts recommend leaving constant lighting for seedlings, there are more and more recommendations to choose the 18/6 mode. In this cycle, 18 hours of light corresponds to 6 hours of darkness. And for the flowering period, you can go to the 12/12 mode, evenly alternating between dark and light periods. This will spur plant growth and bud formation by simulating the sun cycle. The cost of lighting, with a competent approach, can be even less than in a house. Yes, and modern types of lamps, the same LEDs, allow you to spend less electricity compared to traditional types of devices.