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Benefits of Hydroponic Gardening (vs Growing Vegetables in Soil)

A branch of agriculture, hydroponics is a soil-free method used to grow many types of plants. Depending on the type of hydroponic system used, the plants' roots are suspended in, flooded with or misted with nutrient-rich water that provides them with all the nutrients they need for healthy growth. While the history of hydroponic gardening is believed to date back to at least 600 B.C., in our society this soil-less method of growing plants has really taken off only recently.

Below, we take a look at some of the benefits of hydroponic gardening (vs soil-based gardening). Many of these benefits also apply to aquaponics, a type of food production method that combines aquaculture, i.e. raising aquatic animals such as fish, and hydroponics. (If you're interested in learning more about how you can use aquaponics to produce food in your own home, see aquaponic fish tanks & herb growing kits).

Benefits of Hydroponics (vs. Soil-Based Methods)

It's a great way grow plants in places where space is at a premium

Hydroponics offers both commercial vegetable growers and home gardeners to grow food in places where traditional agriculture is not possible or cost-effective. As the water used in hydroponic gardening is recycled and reused, and no water goes to waste, areas with arid climates or limited water supplies can greatly benefit from this method, and people in those areas will be able to enjoy fresh, locally grown produce. Hydroponic systems are also useful in urban areas where little space is available as hydroponically-grown plants don't need space for developing large root systems to get access to the nutrients they need – all the nutrients they need are readily available in the growing liquid. With AeroGarden' hydroponic indoor cherry tomato growing kit equipped with LED lights, for example, you will be able to grow healthy and nutritious cherry tomatoes even in a small city apartment.

Chemical-free, eco-friendly farming at its best

Organic farming is booming as people are worried about harmful pesticides and other unnatural chemicals getting into their bodies and causing health problems. One of the best things about hydroponic farming is that it requires little or no pesticides as weeds, soil-loving bugs and plant diseases that spread in soil are eliminated. The uptake of nutrients by plants grown in hydroponic systems is also higher compared with plants grown in soil, so the use of fertilizers can be reduced dramatically. All of this means cost-savings to hydroponic farmers, but also cleaner food and a cleaner environment.

Shorter harvest times and higher yields

Not only does the efficient uptake of nutrients by hydroponically-grown plants reduce the need for fertilizers, it also shortens the harvest time, meaning you will get more crops our of your hydroponic garden per year than you would from a traditional soil-based vegetable garden. As explained above, plants that are grown hydroponically have direct access to water and nutrients, and therefore, they don't have to "waste" energy developing extensive root systems to get the nutrients they need. Instead, the plants can focus their energy on developing the foliage and the fruit.

It's time-tested – and NASA-tested

Benefits of Hydroponic Gardening

If you're skeptical about switching from soil-based gardening to hydroponics, know this: Even though the term hydroponics was only coined in the 1930s, the use of nutrient-rich water as a growing medium for plants has a very long history. It is believed that the ancient Babylonians used hydroponics for their famous hanging gardens which were built around 600 B.C., and during the 10th and 11th centuries, the Aztecs developed a system of floating gardens based on the principle of hydroponics. In the modern world, hydroponic farming is successfully used around the world, from Japan to Holland, from Australia to Canada. Aquaponics, which combines aquaculture (raising fish) with hydroponics, has also been tested extensively by NASA scientists who are looking for ways to produce nutritious food in the space.

Book You May Like
At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well is packed with mouthwatering recipes, beautiful photography and invaluable information on how and why to use specific ingredients. First published in 2014, it has received tons of great reviews, which is not surpring considering the author's background: Raised on a whole food diet by vegetarian parents in Australia, Amy Chaplin has years of experience working as a vegetarian chef in cities like Amsterdam, London, Sydney and New York. She is the former executive chef of New York's renowned vegan restaurant Angelica Kitchen, and she has worked as a private chef for Natalie Portman and Liv Tyler. This 400-page vegetarian cookbook is available through Amazon.