Let’s start with the basics: Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil, instead, a nutrient rich water solution is used to feed the plants. There are many ways that this nutrient solution can be supplied to the plant roots.
So why use hydroponics? There are many natural resources, operational, and quality benefits to hydroponics that make it the right choice for different types of farmers. Below are just a few that have resonated with the mission and vision of our many freight farmers.
1. At the top of the list is water efficiency. Hydroponic systems use significantly less water than soil based farming and allow you to recycle the water you give to your plants. Instead of having it drain down through the soil and away from the roots of a plant, it’s collected and pumped right back to the plants. This cycle of irrigation, collection, and irrigation again continues until the plants have consumed the water.
Water everywhere Plants and beds watered
2. No herbicides. Since there’s no soil and no weeds, farmers have no reason to use toxic chemicals like herbicides to fight unwanted vegetation. The absence of these chemicals helps you grow cleaner food.
3. Fewer pests. Soil based farming is vulnerable to attack from a vast number of unwanted pests that can destroy a season of hard work over night - birds, squirrels, gophers, deer, groundhogs, the list goes on. Hydroponic systems can be set up in places where these pests don’t exist or where you’ve created effective barriers, like four walls and a roof.
4. No Weeds. Do you know how much time farmers spend combating weeds? No? It’s a lot. Weeding is one of the most back breaking and time consuming tasks of anyone growing plants in soil. In hydroponics, there are no seeds from other plants in the growing medium so there’s no weeds growing and fighting against your crop.
Weeds And more weeds
5. Quick turnover. With hydroponics, there are no seasonal limits or restoration periods required for the farm. Once a plant is harvested, the next can be planted in its place allowing for maximum yield be square foot.
6. Precise control over the nutrients your plants need to thrive. By using plant-specific nutrient formulas and daily monitoring, the farmer has control over what their plants are getting and how much nutrients they are getting. By providing plants with exactly what they need to grow and develop to their full size, there is little risk of poor crop quality or quantity.
7. Ergonomic design. Hydroponic systems can be set up and placed at more accessible heights. Because you’re not limited to growing on the ground, the labour of planting, transplanting, and/or harvesting can be done more comfortably and have less impact on a farmer’s body.
8. Freedom to grow just about anywhere. Commercial hydroponics doesn’t have the limitations of being held to rural agricultural land. Being able to grow closer to the people eating your crops increases accessibility and eliminates the need for complex distribution networks that take away profits from the farmer.
9. Ability to grow year-round. Growing hydroponically allows you to grow year-round, and supply local produce 365 days a year regardless of the season. Being able to grow year-round helps farmers eliminate business risks of a poor crop season and helps increase local food access in the Community.
Lettuce in extreme heat An LGM is perfect in all types of seasons
We hope this gives you a better understanding of this method of growing food and its benefits.