Hydroponics is a result of the increasing demand for food, worldwide. Hydroponics systems were invented by scientists over 30 years ago as one of the solutions to this problem. Unlike conventional farming, hydroponics does not rely on soil for plant growth and is much more organic in nature. Conventional farming relies heavily on fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and so on to meet the demands required. Organic farming, as is found in hydroponics, does not rely on these methods to produce astonishing yields. Hydroponics is a brilliant alternative to get the best results possible from your greenhouse efforts.
Water is but one of the ingredients plants need to survive. Even more important in plant survival is nutrients, normally derived from soil. Plants cannot consume the nutrients in the soil without the help of water, this is a commonly known fact. Greenhouses provide the perfect environment to control this whole process. By mixing the nutrients into a stable watering system, plants thrive and produce much higher yield than normal. This is the magic of hydroponics systems.
The Advantages of Hydroponics Systems
- You have full control over how much nutrients your plants consume.
- Uses much less water since the water can be re-used
- The need for soil is eliminated
- Since no pesticides are used there is no damage as a result
- Extremely easy to harvest
- High yields with a fast turn-around time
- Much healthier plants makes for much tastier plants
In an experiment using the common tomato, scientists showed that you can produce up to 6x more yields in the same growing space. They used the same square area of land for this experiment. The soil based tomatoes produce 10 tons whereas the tomatoes planted in the hydroponics system produced 60 tons! Since most greenhouses are limited for space, growing 6x more food and plants is the ideal scenario.
The best thing about hydroponics systems is the super fast turn around time between crops. Not all crops will grow equally as fast, but you can grow almost any type of plant using this method. Whatever the case, you will still grow your plants much faster than with conventional methods. Furthermore, there is no weeding, tilling or diseases involved. Water is reused, so not a lot of water is required.
Other Systems for Greenhouses
Hydroponics systems started a new way of thinking about how to grow fresh produce. The next step came quite naturally in the form of aquaponics. With aquaponics another element is added to the life circle…fish. The fish provide the nutrients needed naturally whereas with hydroponics you’d have to add the nutrients artificially.
Aeroponics is another mind blowing method that you’d never think could work. The roots of the plants hang in the air and nutrients, mixed with fog, is blown into the air to make them grow.
The flood and drain method makes use of trays where the plants grow. You can use clay pebbles or foam chips to hold the roots together. You then flood the trays on a daily basis with nutrient rich water and drain afterwards.
Hydroponics systems are ideal for backyard greenhouses since it doesn’t need a lot of space. As mentioned earlier, you can grow up to 6 times the amount of plants in the same square area of space. You will need the nutrients and artificial lighting to grow bountiful crops, year round. Make sure you get the right information though before you start a hydroponics system in your greenhouse.