By: Cameron Blake
Sources: Oklohoma State University/ Life Easy blog/ The Lanka Salad Company
Hydroponics is a system of soilless cultivation using water-based nutrients.
Hydroponics, by definition, is a method of growing plants in a water-based, nutrient-rich solution. Hydroponics does not use soil, instead, the root system is supported using an inert medium such as perlite, rock -wool, clay pellets, peat moss or vermiculite.
The hydroponic system offers farmers the ability to grow crops in areas where traditionally it would simply not be possible (like mountain lettuce at sea level in Sri Lanka). Growing hydroponically (as with vertical farming, aquaponics, aeroponics etc) also saves a lot of land space.
Many growers believe that growing in a soilless medium requires about the same effort as growing in soil. Not as fast as full Hydro-Growing in a soilless medium will get faster growth rates in soil, but cannabis plants will not grow as fast as a hydroponic medium that is able to get more oxygen to the roots.
Well managed hydroponic set-ups are also highly energy-efficient and their existence places less strain on the environment than many traditional ‘monoculture’ farming systems. Water is recycled throughout the hydroponic system, greatly reducing the overall volumes required. As a general benchmark, it is considered that the hydroponic system use as little as 10% of the water required for soil-based agriculture.
With the global population growing steadily, it is imperative that a new form of agriculture develops alongside traditional methods to meet increasing food needs with lower impacts.