Once you’ve got the basics of hydroponics laid down you might be wondering which method is better. Hydroponics Vs soil? Well look no more, because you have pulled up to just the right article. Now for those of you who are new to concept of hydroponics let me just give you a quick overview of what is. Hydroponics is basically a subset of gardening where in plants are bred without soil and in its place a nutrient rich medium, which is mainly a solution of water and nutrients is used.
For a more detailed explanation and the procedure of hydroponics check our last blog, which will tell you where to start, how to start and what to refer to begin your journey. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we move to the question at hand. Why would you opt for hydroponics as opposed to soil or vice-versa?
Well the answer to this will be explained to you in the following references and you can then choose your preferred way of gardening.
Nature of plants
The plants grown through the normal method in soil have particularly longer roots. This is because the roots have to go deeper into the soil in search of the minerals required for their growth. In the Hydroponic method however, the supply of nutrients is direct and unfiltered. There is no search for nutrients as they are implemented directly into the plants through the inert medium.
This leads to the plants having shorter roots. As its effect plants of the leafy family are grown largely through the Hydroponic method. Another major difference that you would find in plants of each of these origins is that the plants grown through the normal method although grow perfectly fine, are a little less healthy if compared to the Hydroponic plants. This is because the required amount of nutrients are available to plants at all times in the hydroponic method.
It might seem like having a nutrient rich medium and a different kind of container along with a lot of other modern equipments required for hydroponics would be an added hassle. But in the long run it cut downs on a larger portion of looking after.
Aren’t you tired of weeding? Of excessive plants growing where they shouldn’t? Well hydroponics helps with just that. As the container is shielded with foil there is no entering of sunlight. Eliminating the growth of algae. There is no soil or a supporting medium for weed to grow. So no weeding for hydroponic gardeners.
In the normal method due to presence of soil comes the inevitable task of weeding and digging. The growth of other unwanted plants is supported regardless of your efforts and you have to put time, efforts and money in order to eliminate those factors.
Hydroponics in this way is like an investment which benefits you in the long run.
You get to control, wait for it, EVERYTHING!!! Everything ranging from your plants nutrition, growth conditions everything. You are in total control.
When you grow a plant in soil, there is only so much you can do to control the amount of nutrition your plant takes in or even gets. In the hydroponic method, all your worries are pushed to the side as you make the mixture of the plant medium. You decide the amount of nutrients that go into the mixture. You decide the ratio of the water to nutrients. Ultimately it’s you who dictates over the growth of your plants. There are no drawbacks, you can’t possibly be dependent on anything else. It’s more or less like being God. Most of gardening is like that but now you have more control over the fate of your yield.
With soil based gardening you can only water your plants and maybe sometimes nutrition it from time to time. That is why most people are inclined more towards hydroponics and this is probably the biggest reason behind the success of this method. Though this method seems a little out of the ordinary to the orthodox gardeners it is the best way to go for better plant health.
The outcome of your yield isn’t always going to be just right because the health of your plants is dependent on you. Plant health and needs differ. The amount of nutrients required for growing maybe a tomato may not be the same for the amount of nutrients required to grow kale. So you would have to go down the path of trial and error to see what method suits your plant the best.
The amount of minerals required, differs from plant to plant. This opens door to infinite possibilities on how you treat your plant. It’s like building your own universe or eco system. There’s always going to be little bumps along the way. And that’s what will set you in this field. Experience and learning. You’ll get to tweak at your initial process for every other plant and make it suitable for each of the varied species. This might also hold true to soil based gardening too as you also need to find the right balance for each new type of plant in soil based farming. However the growth of the plant is something you can’t participate in. Here’s where hydroponics gets the upper hand.
Plant health and speed of growth
This point sort of ties in with the control factor. With hydroponics as you decide the amount of nutrients the plant absorbs you are also ultimately moulding its life cycle.
Plants typically grow faster with the hydroponic method due to its continuous supply of the right minerals. Growth of the plant is directly affected and the yield is also increased. This helps you get the maximum benefits out of your garden. The plants grown through the normal method have their life cycle very specifically set. You can’t really change how a plant grows when it’s growing in soil.
At this point you might feel like the whole article is dedicated towards the pros of hydroponics and to be fair it is. Because this method largely overpowers the normal method because of its scientific control and manipulative freedom. Another advantage of hydroponics is water saving.
In the normal method every once in a while you water the plants. Some of the water spills out of the pot, some of it is absorbed by the plant and some of it evaporates right from the soil. Most of the water doesn’t even reach the plants. In the hydroponic method the water reaches directly to the roots of the plants and the rest of the unused water stays stored in the covered reservoir until it is used later on by the plant. With this you are not only making a contribution environmentally but also saving big time on water bills. It might not seem like much but it adds up to a large amount over time.
Less to no pests
Greater the health of the plants, lesser the pests. As unbelievable as it sounds, if the health of your plants is good, pests would rather attack some other plant that is weak. So the health of your plant is an important part that affects pest attacks.
Also the soil carries a lot of potential diseases that might take a toll on your plants health. Plants grown through the Hydroponic method are less exposed to diseases caused directly through soil and therefore have a better health. This again helps in saving money, time and effort as you don’t need to buy pest sprays and go through all the trouble. Win win!
Growth of more affordable systems
As we have come this far through the pros and cons, there is a repetitive pattern that is observed. The hydroponic method helps save in the long run which is a benefit irrespective. But due to the rise of new and affordable systems of hydroponics it just raises more of a question towards why we are still trying to grow our plants through the normal method.
New and efficient systems for as cheap as 12 dollars are available in the market, there’s not much of a difference in the initial cost of installation as well. This just goes to tell how much this product affects the gardening industry. With the normal method the total cost of installation would come around to about 20 dollars all costs considered and through the Hydroponic method the cost would come around to about 30 dollars. There is only a ten dollar difference and a world of benefits. This just adds to the fact that hydroponics is the way to go.
So Who in the Battle of Hydroponics Vs Soil?
There is no denying the fact that the generic method is most widely used however the hydroponic method is rapidly gaining popularity due to its various benefits and cost effectiveness. It is the gardening of the future as transcends the inherent limitations of soil based gardening. Generic gardening might be appealing and less complicated to begin with but if you want something that will help you in growing your garden in terms of plant health as well as maximum yield, hydroponic method is where it’s at.
The apparent benefits of hydroponics that makes it a better choice are:
- Space Saving
- Lesser pests
- No weeding
- Saving water
- Saving cost in various ways
- Better plant health
- Possible scientific manipulations
- More affordable systems
- Complete control
Now you choose. Hydroponics or not.