Foods we eat mostly come from farms some miles away. These have to travel a distance before they reach you and are possibly treated with some chemicals. Also, they’re surely treated with some amount of pesticides. If you want healthier foods, one possible solution is to grow your own. It’s possible if you have a piece of land lying around. But if you live in an urban area, this might be a problem since you barely see a piece of empty land to grow foods.
What do you do now? You live in a crowded area, and there’s not an empty piece of land you can see (that you own). You grow them in balconies and terraces, and maybe in the kitchen. One possible way to do it is to get a big box, fill them with soil, and start growing. Easy!! But another solution is Hydroponics. It’s basically growing food without soil. Why hydroponics and not good old fashioned gardening that involves soil???
Here’s why: soil has a lot of insects (mostly harmful) and weeds, which are headaches when you have to pull out weeds every day or two and to avoid insects, you are gonna have to use insecticides, which is a no-no. Plus you might not have that much space to grow enough food if you have a small balcony space and there are a lot of limiting factors.
Why hydroponics? Now, remember we want locally grown healthy foods, which are amazing to look at too. If you have land, it’s still a nice way to grow food, and can be equally healthy too. But personally, I prefer the soilless technique to the other one to grow food at home.
- They’re Cool: Well, I have to admit that I’ve been pretty fascinated by the idea of growing plants without soil. We’ve been doing that for thousands of years and in the soil. Modern Hydroponics was developed in the last 40 years or so and has changed so much and new techniques are developed with better technologies. Search the internet for pictures of hydroponics, and you’ll be fascinated.
- More Food: With hydroponics, you can grow more food in lesser space. Plants are planted inland to have better access to each plant and for the purposes of weeding and so that the roots of each plant do not compete with each other for nutrients. In hydroponics, there are no weeds, what a relief right??? Also, nutrients for plants are abundant. This also means the spacing can be decreased significantly. You only grow what you need and the amount is high.
On land, you can grow only in one horizontal space. With hydroponics, you can stack one layer above the other, and it literally means twice the food if you have two horizontal layers of growing apparatus. Plus point is that food grows faster as they don’t have to worry about competition with other plants for nutrients.
- Less Messy: With the soil-grown food, it’s always messy. In the case of home growers, it’s always a headache to clean up regularly. You don’t have to be hoeing and if you’re always busy working, you possibly want to avoid that. They take less space for more food, and with this technique, foods are always clean. Eat them right off the place.
- Great Decorations: Hydroponics is not only a way of growing food, but they make up for good decorations. You can make a green wall out of the hydroponic setup and come on who doesn’t want to show it off to their friends and families. I will cover these topics including different hydroponic setups.
- More Nutrition and Much Healthier: Plant are provided with a sufficient amount of nutrition for their growth, and they grow without diseases and competing weeds. This means that they have absorbed nutrients and foods produced are also likely to be more nutritious, given that they were provided with the sufficient ones.
Also, plants don’t require herbicides as there are no weeds and the insect attack is less likely as the setup is clean or can be covered with insect nets, so no insecticides. This makes food a lot healthier than the ones grown in the old way (and a bit boring too).
- DIY: Most important of all, you don’t have to buy any expensive equipment or settle with the soil container that looks boring. With basic equipment and materials, you can grow yourself a ‘grow tube’ to grow plants. The next requirement is an inexpensive fish tank pump and liquid fertilizer, which can be made by mixing basic NPK nutrients and some additives (I’ll write more about fertilizer mixes in another article).
You can provide nutrients to plants by setting up a fish tank and use the fish tank water instead of a nutrient mix. The fish tank has a lot of fish 💩 and it loads the water with nutrition. Plants get nutrition and roots filter the water, a win-win.
Personally, I am fond of engineering and I love to build things, and I’m amazed that engineering and agriculture can seamlessly bond. I think it’s cool that the simplest technology like this one can be used to make a huge impact. Food is the most important part of our lives and health but we ignore the facts about what we generally consume. We should know where our foods come from. We should at least make sure that what we eat is healthy and free of chemicals. What’s a better way than to grow your own food??
This is a link to the Facebook group about hydroponics. This group is amazing and if you’re interested in DIYs or general hydroponics, you can join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/637162503142454/