This article will walk you through each system’s pros and cons so that you can understand why hydroponics is the better and more efficient method for your indoor garden.
One thing to keep in mind is that all landscape gardeners can put these 2 techniques into practice no matter what their level is. Let’s get started!
What is hydroponics? It is a growing process that places the plant roots in liquid mineral nutrients solutions instead of soil. It is one of the easiest, most environment-friendly ways to produce a wide range of healthy and vigorous plants and trees.
- Deep Water Culture (DWC)
- Flood and drain (also known as ebb and flow)
- Non-recovery and recovery (or drip)
- Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
With this technique, boosting the growth of plants the whole year-round is an easy and straightforward job. You do not have to wait until the right season to start a new harvest cycle.
This approach makes a huge difference from the traditional methods like soil growing since it doesn’t rely on environmental conditions, raising the sense of initiative in your vertical farming journey.
Interested in learning more about hydroponics and horticulture? Check the video below:
Nutritions are the primary factor that every grower focuses on. As mentioned earlier, the hydroponic garden system doesn’t involve soil; it relies on nutrient solutions to supply all the vital elements that an individual plant needs to survive and grow.
The plants’ roots won’t have to reach for essential nutrients anymore. Hence, they can grow much closer to one another and become extensively bigger, giving you a beautiful vertical garden that you have always dreamed of and potentially a better yield later on.
Plus, the technique provides access to nutrients, such as potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and many more, leading to healthy plant growth and large vegetables.
The water solution is another crucial element, no matter in soil or hydroponics gardening. Without this component, plants can not survive and grow to their fullest potentials.
With all the nutrition benefits above, you might be wondering: “Do plants grow better in water or soil?” The thing that makes hydroponics the ideal option is its ability to offer the precise amount of nutrients that plants possibly need.
Unlike hydroponics plants, soil-grown plants require gardeners to make efforts to achieve their agricultural intended targets. Any farmer can agree that nutrient management is not a simple task.
The NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) supply in the soil can reduce, leading to plants and veggies malfunction. a. In this case, you have no other choice but to use fertilizers to supplement the NPK ratio, which potentially leads to a new problem: chemical abuse.
As you can tell, using chemical complements can negatively affect human health and also the environment. Hence, hydroponics proves to be a safer and smarter choice.
In terms of space requirement, hydroponics has an advantage over the soil. Hydroponics does not require much space due to the narrow root system, perfect for vertical planting projects.
This form of farming is the best choice for those who live in small places in urban areas as it takes less space than conventional methods yet can still bring the same if not better harvest result.
On the other hand, the soil system requires a standard garden bed of 12 inches in height, which is the most satisfactory drainage for healthy crops. Thus, the soil is more suitable for planting beds in spacious areas, such as suburban zones or the countryside.
Also, if your bed is longer than 6 inches and higher than 12 inches, you may have to install cross-support in the span’s center to prevent the vegetable beds from bowing outward.
Hydroponics vs. soil – which one comes at a better cost? Generally speaking, hydroponics is a premium investment compared to the soil system. The price for this form of horticulture may vary depending on its level:
- Low-tech/ DIY projects: from 50 dollars to 200 dollars
- Middle-tech projects: between 300 dollars to 1,000 dollars
- High-volume systems: over 3,000 dollars
A small note is that this price range only includes the setup; you also need to calculate and add up the energy demands, the water supply, and soil nutrient solution expenses. Since the system is an exclusive operating charge, it is not for everyone.
We have the traditional soil gardening method on the other spectrum. It requires a significantly lower cost, under 100 dollars.
Suppose you have poor quality soil; the maintenance price can change since you need fertilizers to acquire greener crops. Still, the initial charge remains less expensive than the hydroponic method.
When you put the growing time of two processes side by side, hydroponics is more time-effective as it provides the exact amount of nutrients that the plants need for healthy growth.
The p..a .lants will have to develop a stronger and larger root system to absorb the soils for the growing soil setup. Therefore, the process takes more time to achieve the desired result.
Weed is a well-known issue of soil systems, which causes lots of problems and frustrations to growers out there as it takes quite a while to clear up. You will also have to spend extra money on weed cleaning products, meaning your overall cost will be higher.
Plus, you will have to remove the weed and grass every 2 weeks to prevent any adverse effects that might happen to your soil-based garden beds.
Meanwhile, if you invest in hydroponics plants, weeding will no longer be relevant. This method saves you lots of time eliminating the weed and still brings outstanding efficiency, making planting an effortless and painless experience.
Hydroponics vs. soil gardening, what is the most significant difference? The majority of experienced growers will say that it is the maximum yield.
You can notice that hydroponic production increases 3 to 10 times better than in soil due to sufficient nutrient levels and complete control over environmental factors. The hydroponic plants show to grow not only faster and healthier but also the yield values contain more nutrients.
The soil-grown plants’ health tends to increase slower since they have to work harder to reach the needed nutrients under the ground. Sometimes the supplements are not even enough, leading to less abundant crops.
On some other occasions, factors such as plant diseases or meteorological conditions can also affect the overall growth. Thus, when it comes to comparing the two techniques in average yield, the advantages of hydroponics are significant and unquestionable.
So our hydroponics vs soil discussion has come to an end. Each method has its advantage, but as we can see, hydroponics is the better and more effective gardening technique.
Hope this article can provide you a greater understanding of the 2 approaches so that you can now decide the one that works for you.
If you are still a bit confused, a rule of thumb is better to grow hydro due to the ability to provide exact nutrients, yield, and weeding. Meanwhile, soil planting has an advantage in the budget aspect.