Hydroponics vs soil : Why hydroponics is the Winner?

Table of Contents

Introduction

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Leafy, green and healthy plants cannot be grown in all places. They require nutrients like nitrogen, carbon dioxide and others to grow sustainably. Most of the plants in the world get these nutrients from the soil on which they grow. 

However, nutritious and good quality soil is not available in all regions. It is important to note that the plant does not need the soil as much as it needs the nutrients available in the soil. Considering this fact, imagine growing plants without any form of soil and just providing the required nutrients in some other way. 

Well this is no more imagination, Hydroponics helps to facilitate growth of healthy plants anywhere you need even without the availability of soil.

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a form of horticulture that is used to grow plants in the absence of nutritious soil. It is a subset of hydroculture, which means that this form of farming makes use of liquid solutions with added minerals and nutrients. 

Terrestrial and aquatic plants can be easily cultivated by using the hydroponics method. The solution includes all the required nutrients, manure, and fertilizers which facilitate the growth of plants. Hydroponics techniques are generally practiced within a greenhouse and sometimes make use of some inert medium. 

The common plants that are grown using hydroponics are tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, onions, lettuce, and similar other plants.

Some pros and cons of hydroponics are as follows:

Pros:

  • The main advantage of hydroponics is that plants can be grown in the absence of soil. This removes the space barrier for gardening.
  • Research has proven that hydroponically grown plants provide more high-quality food than normal gardening techniques.
  • Hydroponics makes less use of water than traditional farming. Hence, it can be implemented in areas with water scarcity and drought, where normal farming is difficult.
  • With the use of hydroponics, a lot of space can be saved. This is because plants can be grown vertically and can also be stacked up. Hence, it is the best form of farming in urban, congested areas.

Cons:

  • The set-up cost of a hydroponic system is very high. You need to set up a greenhouse, the water system, the nutrient supply, containers, pumps, lights, solutions and similar other things. Hence, its financial feasibility is lower when compared to normal farming.
  • Growing plants hydroponically requires much more care than growing plants normally. Forgetting to give water or not removing weeds on time, even a single day, can kill your plants.
  • If a piece of equipment or a component of the system breaks or stops working, all of the plants in the hydroponic system will die within hours. Hence, the risk factor is high for this form of horticulture.

11 Reasons: Why is Hydroponics better?

In recent times, hydroponics has emerged as a better gardening technique when compared to gardening on soil. Hydroponics provides a lot of advantages that farming on soil cannot. Hence, people have started to consider hydroponics better than soil. A few reasons why hydroponics is better than soil are as follows:

1. It is less tedious: Because plants are grown without soil, you can save time-consuming procedures such as digging, ploughing, harvesting, and so on. Furthermore, you can avoid getting your clothes dirty.

2. No exposure to sunlight: hydroponics is used indoors or in a greenhouse. Hence, you no longer need to be exposed to the hot sun. Hence, you are safe from excessive sweating or sunburn.

3.Space Saving: As previously stated, hydroponic growing requires very little area. Plants can be grown vertically and piled on top of one another. As a result, hydroponics saves a lot of space. Due to the small space, it is also easier to operate and keep an eye on plants.

4.Good food in less time: Hydroponics has proven to yield high-quality food in less time. Traditional farming techniques require significantly more time than hydroponics techniques.

5.All-time access: You have 24-hour access to your plants because they are grown in a small area and in a greenhouse. You can keep an eye on your plants without going out into the light.

6.Environment-friendly method: Hydroponics is an approach that is friendly to the environment. We do not destroy the soil’s quality because we do not add fertilisers or pesticides to it. This ensures the soil’s long existence.

7.Water saving: As mentioned earlier, hydroponics uses much less water than traditional farming techniques. In fact, some studies claim that water usage is reduced by up to 90% with the use of hydroponics. Hence, this method is best for drought and water-scarce regions.

8.Climate Control in Your Hand: You can simply adjust the temperature, humidity, light intensity, and other factors in a greenhouse to meet the needs of the plants.

9.Control of water pH and nutrients: Since the water is physically provided, you can control and alter the pH levels and nutrients or minerals present in the water. All these features can be adjusted based on the needs of the plants.

10.Avoiding soil-borne pests and insects: Since there is no soil involved in hydroponics, you can avoid all sorts of pests and insects that are born in and present in the soil. Subsequently, the use of pesticides and insecticides is minimized. This also provides greater safety for your plants from pest damage.

11.Increase in production efficiency: Hydroponics has been shown to increase crop productivity by 3 to 10 times. In fact, in a hydroponic system, certain plants can grow twice as fast. As a result, you save a significant amount of time.

Hydroponics vs soil: The Differentiation

Now that we know what hydroponics is, what its advantages and disadvantages are, and similar other aspects of hydroponics, let us understand the difference between hydroponics and soil. This will further help us decide which one of the two is better. To keep it simple, we will discuss five main differences between the two.


  • Health and productivity of plants: The main parameters for differentiating hydroponics from soil are the health and productivity of plants. Various research and studies have claimed that hydroponics clearly wins under this parameter when compared to soil. This means that the plants grown using hydroponics techniques are healthier and have higher yields as compared to plants grown on soil.
  • Costs: The cost of setting up a hydroponic system is substantially more than that of growing plants in soil because it requires a lot of equipment such as greenhouses, water pipes, containers, pumps, sources of light, water, nutrient solutions, and many other things. You don’t need any specific equipment to grow plants in the ground, unlike in hydroponics. As a result, hydroponics is less expensive than soil.
  • Water Needs: Another parameter that we would consider for differentiating between hydroponics and soil is their respective water needs. The water requirement for hydroponics techniques is very small and limited when compared to soil. When you cultivate plants on soil, you need a lot of water to hydrate the entire field. Hence, hydroponics is a more water-conserving technique.
  • External Factors: Plants are highly impacted by external factors and their environment, like temperature, humidity, sunlight, pests, insects, irrigation, etc. Hence, it is important to consider this parameter for differentiating between hydroponics and soil. For cultivation on soil, external factors cannot be controlled by humans. On the contrary, humans can easily control various external factors like temperature, humidity, etc. with the use of hydroponics. As a result, the surroundings can be adjusted as per the needs of the plants under hydroponics.
  • Space: The last parameter under which we will compare hydroponics and soil is their respective space requirements. Hydroponics takes up a lot less room than traditional soil farming. Plants can also be grown vertically and piled on top of one another in hydroponics. This saves a significant amount of space. Gardening on soil, on the other hand, necessitates a significant quantity of room. As a result, hydroponics allows plant enthusiasts to save space.

 

The Final Verdict

Considering the above discussion, it is quite evident that hydroponics is a better gardening technique than soil.

The benefits of hydroponics include time and space savings, increased productivity, water savings, greater control over external factors, ease of application, and many more.

Though the cost of implementing hydroponics is higher than that of soil, the benefits and advantages you get with hydroponics clearly outweigh the costs. Hence, we can safely conclude that hydroponics is better than soil.