How hydroponics could be the future of agriculture and farming

Watch any news program these days and, chances are, there will be a feature or story about the impending climate catastrophe facing the Earth. Climate scientists around the world are now largely in agreement that our planet is changing – and mostly because of human intervention.

Global warming and climate change are now a real and present danger and, with the recent Paris Agreement in 2015, nations around the world are finally waking up to the damage we humans are doing to our planet. If we stand any hope of achieving the net-zero future agreed in Paris, it’s becoming increasingly clear that we’re all going to have to make significant changes.

Farming ranks high in the list of human activities blamed for the ecological emergency, leading many to look for new, greener answers. Step forward the wonderful world of hydroponic farming as a possible solution to the threat posed by traditional agriculture.

What is hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a horticultural technique used to grow plants without soil and instead uses a mix of aqueous solvents and mineral solutions for nutrients. Plants are typically grown in nutrient-rich water solution which results in a much greener and more efficient system for feeding.

Most hydroponic systems recycle these solutions over and over leading to a reduction in water usage of as much as 95%. This endless recycling makes it essential to use demineralized water like distilled water by Golyath to avoid contaminants potentially entering the system. Fertilizers are then added to make a nutrient solution essential for plant growth.

The significant ecological advantages of hydroponics farming

Hydroponics farming isn’t just more efficient than traditional methods, it offers considerable other advantages too:

Hydroponic farming is faster: All plants have specific needs and ideal conditions in which to grow. Using hydroponic solutions, farmers can tailor a plant’s nutrients to make their ideal food, encouraging plants to grow quicker and stronger. Research has shown hydroponic farming techniques can be two to three times faster than traditional methods.

Hydroponics creates a cleaner environment for plant growth: A well-produced, high-quality hydroponic substrate is free from the multiple bugs, insects or fungi that are found in soil and which can slow growth, weaken plants or even, in a worst-case scenario, kill them. Hydroponics environments are considerably cleaner and healthier than using earth for growing.

Hydroponics uses less potentially-harmful pesticides: As plants are typically grown indoors in hydroponic systems, there is less need for pesticides – which is healthier for plants and humans too. Even if pesticides are used, they’re administered in far smaller doses.

Hydroponic horticulture offers farmers far greater control: Because substrates are chemically inactive, farmers have complete control over what they feed their plants. While soil might be considered more forgiving and acts rather like a buffer between plant and nutrients, hydroponics techniques directly transfer food to the plant. For this reason, it’s essential farmers keep a watchful eye over their plants to monitor any changes. Of course, any negative impacts can be countered by making small changes to the solution – but farmers need to act quickly to avoid potential damage.