Why Hydroponic Farming Is The Way Of The Future

Vertical Roots

Hydroponic farming is gaining in popularity and shows no signs of slowing down. It is reported that hydroponic farming is growing at nearly 35% per year, and some people estimate the industry will reach $7 billion within a decade.

What makes this type of farming so popular? And who started it all?

The answer may surprise you. In 1907, Plant Scientist W. Atlee Burpee developed the first hydroponic method of producing tomatoes. The process was and still is, known as “The Tower of Growth,” which provides a nutrient solution to feed plants while allowing them to grow vertically.

Understanding The Basics of Hydroponics

Hydroponics is the method of growing plants in a soil-less solution, with or without using an artificial medium such as perlite, vermiculite, or Rockwool. This method does not utilize any type of soil, according to UK-based hydroponics supplier Progrow.

The nutrient solution contains all elements required for healthy plant growth, which includes various combinations of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). Plants take up these nutrients through their roots.

There are various types of hydroponic systems, including DWC – deep water culture, Ebb and Flow – commonly referred to as flood and drain or NFT – nutrient film technique. The Tower of Growth system falls into the Ebb and Flow category.

Hydroponics can be used to grow all types of plants, including vegetables, fruit trees, flowers, herbs, and more. The process does not discriminate.

The Benefits of Hydroponic Farming

There are many benefits to hydroponic farming for both growers and consumers. For example:

  • No soil transmission of plant diseases;
  • Improved plant root aeration and temperature;
  • Elimination of weeds;
  • Higher yields in a shorter period;
  • Less water use as compared to traditional farming.

The Future of Hydroponics

According to those at the forefront, hydroponics is the future of farming. Scientists are developing methods to make it even more efficient, and consumers demand its use in their local markets.

Some emerging techniques in the field include LED lighting systems, mobile hydroponic units, and ocean farming.

The growth in the hydroponics industry results from scientific advancements, consumer demand, and the necessity to feed a growing population. According to Burpee, as much as 90% of plant diseases are caused by soil-transmitted pathogens. In other words, there could be a lot of plants that are lost in the future due to poor soil conditions.

Can Hydroponics Help Solve the Hunger Crisis?

Some experts believe hydroponics can solve the global hunger crisis, although skeptics claim it is too expensive and complicated.

Those in favor of this emerging technology say that if everyone with a backyard started growing their own food with hydroponic techniques, it would free up tremendous quantities of arable land for other purposes such as carbon sequestration, nature preserves, and eco-tourism.

Closing Thoughts on Hydroponics

While this farming method is still in its early stages, it is clear that the industry has a very bright future. The technology behind hydroponics will continue to develop and evolve, which will make it even more efficient while at the same time making it less expensive for both producers and consumers.

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