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While most gardens use some type of soil, hydroponic gardens don’t. They use water that’s saturated with a nutrient solution containing all the minerals plants require. Most plants can grow in this type of system with either their roots held in the water mixture or the plant roots put in gravel, perlite or other inert medium with the solution surrounding it. If you’ve ever watched a sci-fi movie where they’re traveling to outer space, you’ll often see a hydroponic system to create the food supply for the long journey. That’s because there are huge benefits with hydroponic gardening.
More Food Can Be Grown in a Smaller Area
Hydroponic plants require far less space than traditional gardening. While you can stack containers of both soil grown and hydroponic plants to save space, hydroponic plants tend to grow faster and larger. Their growth rate is between thirty to fifty percent faster than plants grown in regular soil. Part of the reason is the extra oxygen in the hydroponic medium, which aids in stimulating the growth of roots, allowing the plants to absorb nutrients faster. The nutrients are easily available to the plant, too and delivered several times throughout the day. The plant doesn’t have to use any energy to break them down, which also allows quicker growth. There’s less bug infestation, fungus or disease problems with this type of growth.
It Saves Water
You don’t use nearly the water when you’re growing plants in water. That might not seem to make sense, but it’s true. The reason behind it is because the nutrient rich water is reused. In fact, compared to traditional gardening, it uses a whopping 90% less water. That could be a huge benefit if clean water is scarce. You’re probably starting to see why it might make an ideal system for space travel.
The hydroponic system is easier care, since you don’t have to worry about watering the plants. There are available systems that make setting up the hydroponic system easy, too. You don’t have to worry about soil erosion, since it doesn’t require topsoil. Some may require a pump, but several use the wick system, so there’s no need for a power source.
Many inside hydroponic systems use artificial light, but if that’s not an option, building a greenhouse that allows the light to enter is one way to go. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. There are some simple and inexpensive plans available for free that use wood and plastic. In cooler weather, barrels painted black and filled with water heat in the sun during the day and provide warmth at night. Hydroponics can be a viable way to grow a food supply if you live in the city and your land is limited. It also saves hours of backbreaking work and constant watering.
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