What Are The Pros And Cons Of Hydroponics?
Hydroponics: A system where plants are grown in water instead of soil. Aeroponics: A system where plants are grown in air instead of water. Aquaponics: A combination of both systems.
Pros Of Hydroponics
It’s cheap and easy to grow your own food without having to pay expensive fertilizer or buy it from a store. You don’t have to worry about pests or diseases since they’re not present in soil.
You can easily control the quality of the plant with regular watering and fertilizing. You won’t need to spend money on pesticides, herbicides, fungicides etc.
The plants will produce much faster than if you were growing them in soil because there isn’t any competition between plants for light and nutrients like there would be when growing in soil.
Cons Of Hydroponics
If you want to grow something other than vegetables, you’ll have to invest in some equipment such as lights, filters, pumps etc. These things will cost extra which may make hydroponics less appealing. If you do decide to go with hydroponics, then you’ll still need to pay for the electricity used by the pump and lights too.
If there is a power outage your plants will die because they won’t be getting enough water or nutrients.
A tiny leak in your system can cause the plants to die of dehydration or nutrient starvation. If that happens then you’ll need to empty your reservoir and refill it which is a very time-consuming process.
There isn’t enough research done yet on hydroponics to know the full effect that it might have on our ecosystem in the future.
A system where you grow plants and breed fish together in a closed-loop system. The water from the fish tanks is pumped over to the plant beds where it is used as nutrients for the plants, then the water then drains back into the fish tank and is cleaned before being used again.
A system where you grow plants in air instead of water. The roots of the plants are sprayed with a nutrient solution periodically.
The plants grow faster because they’re getting extra nutrients from the fish. You don’t need to buy expensive nutrients for your plants because the fish provide them for you free of charge.
You can breed your own stock of fish in your tanks if you live in an area where it’s legal to do so. The eggs and younger fish can be used for food and the older ones can be fished out and used to breed more. It’s a good way to turn a profit.
You’ll always have a supply of food for yourself if SHTF and the fish can also contribute towards your diet. You’ll be able to grow them all year long too regardless of the season.
You need to constantly monitor the tanks or they could quickly become over-run with algae which would ruin your system. If that happens you’ll need to start again from scratch.
If your pumps or filters become clogged then the water won’t be able to pass through them properly and this will stop nutrients from being delivered to the plant beds.
You should build the system above ground or else you run the risk of your fish tanks leaking and making a big mess on your floor. The entire system needs to be in a well-ventilated area too.
Your system is prone to leaks and if this happens then you’ll need to clean up the mess, or worse, your fish could end up dead in your plant beds which would ruin them.
You need to regularly clean your filters and pumps because if they become clogged with debris then they won’t be able to do their job properly.
Your plants will grow much faster because you’re providing them with more nutrients than they would get in the wild. This means that you can grow the plants year-round and harvest more crops than you normally would be able to.
You don’t need to spend money on seeds because you can just pick wild ones for free.
You don’t have to water your plants which means you save a lot of time spent having to water them by hand.
You can control the pH level of your water which allows you to provide the exact level of nutrients that your plants need.
You can control the temperature of your water, allowing you to raise or lower it as you see fit.
Without the sun, your plants won’t get as much energy so you won’t be able to grow them quite as large as you could otherwise.
You need to constantly monitor the water level in your tanks or else your plants will die.
Your system is prone to leaks and if this happens then you’ll need to clean up the mess, or worse, your entire system could be ruined.
You need to regularly clean your pumps and filters because if they become clogged with debris then they won’t be able to do their job properly.
Which one should you use?
Does the benefit outweigh the cost?
Well, that’s for you to decide. I figured I’d give you the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision. Personally, I’d go with hydroponics. It can be a little fickle but once you get the system working properly it’s actually pretty easy to maintain.
You’ve chosen hydroponics!
Now you just need to decide on a space to set up your system…
Before we get into that though, let’s go over the hydroponics basics.
What you’ll need
A sealed room or building (Bigger is better so long as the roof doesn’t leak)
A power source (Solar panels work great but it really depends on how much electricity your system will use. A generator will also work if you’re near an external power source like a road or river. Coal generators are a last resort due to their lack of kindness to the environment.)
A water pump A water filter, if your water is heavily polluted then you’ll need stronger filters A way to get clean water (if your water is very dirty or has dangerous creatures in it) A large amount of plant pots (These can be anything from old pans to gourds. Just make sure that they have holes in the bottom for the water to drain out. You can also just go the lazy route and use old take-out food containers, they work just as well if not better) Seed (Any old seed will do, you can get them online, from old fruit, or even in some cases find them outside) Nutrients (These are optional but depending on what you’re planting you may need them. You can pick these up at any gardening store or online.
Remember, only use as much as the label recommends! Too much of these and you’ll kill your plants) Sand, soil, grass clippings, etc. (This is what will act as the nutrient sponge. It’s basically whatever you have on hand that is organic that will break down and become fertilizer in time. A lot of people use this stuff as the base of their system so if you’re not using a standard hydroponics set up then you’ll need to find something to act as the nutrient sponge. You can also just use nothing at all and buy the nutrient sponges, it’s up to you)
Zipties (Have these on hand just in case. If you buy a system then you won’t need these but if you’re building your own system then you might need to fasten certain parts together. In my opinion, it’s simple enough to build your own that you won’t need these but it is something to consider before hand)
Alright, assuming you have all of that, you’ll need a location. Your best bet is to find an old abandoned warehouse of some sort. The roof doesn’t have to be in great shape as you can always repair it later, and finding a good location is the most important part. (and you don’t want anyone asking you questions or demanding you apply for permits!
Also, you want to steer clear of areas with lots of people or heavy traffic, in case of raids)
If one isn’t available then try looking in the outskirts of town or just find a big field. It doesn’t really matter where as long as it’s not in someone’s yard and you’re not going to get mauled by a troll or set upon by bandits while building your system!
Use your zipties to mark out a good sized area. This doesn’t need to be perfect since you probably won’t even use all the area you’ve cleared but it’s always better to be sure than to run out of space.
Once you’ve got your area cleared start digging! I know it sounds silly but it really doesn’t need to be that deep. Just make sure the plants can get sunlight and you’ll be fine. If you’re in an apartment then you’ll need to be a little more creative with your lighting but we’ll get to that later.
If you’re really concerned with getting the right sunlight then go outside and use the sun itself as a guide. North faces tend to be a little cooler, east is going to be bright but a little hot, south is going to be very sunny, and west tends to overheat but produce the most nutrients due to the morning dew.Once you’ve decided where to put your plants then, using the nutrient sponges, some water jugs, and your seeds start planting! (Or if you’re lazy like me just plant them in the take-out containers. Wait a few days then slowly move them into the ground once they seem to be adapting. Don’t worry, they’ll grow!)
Once that’s all said and done then comes the fun part: building your system! This can be very simple or very complex, it all depends on how much time and energy (and money if you’re buying a system) you want to put into it.
First things first, you’re going to need lighting. If you’re growing in an apartment then this just means setting up some lamps that will provide all-day sunlight, as close to natural sunlight as possible. You’ll need to keep an eye on the bulbs themselves to make sure they’re not going to burn out, or start a fire.
So once you’ve lit your room (or wherever you’re growing) it’s time to start setting up your hydroponics system! If you’re building your own system then you need to get the right materials. You can get flexible tubing, a large plastic container (such as a coolant jug for your car), a water pump, and of course your seeds.
Start by drilling some holes in the container to allow for drainage so you don’t end up with a stagnant container of dirty water. Then drill some holes in the bottom of the container (Or place your pump if you’re using one. If you’re using the pump then make sure to secure the line so it doesn’t get pulled into the fan!) to allow for water drainage.
Run your flexible tubing through the container so that one side of the container is empty, and on the other side of the container there’s the pump (or tubing attached to a pump). This allows for the circulation of water.
Fill up your container with water and let it run through the system. If you’re using a pump then make sure that the water is draining out of the container. If it isn’t then you might need to use some shims to get the right angle.
Once you’ve got your system up and running then it’s time to plant your seeds! Make sure that everything’s working! You may need to adjust the lights or the temperature of your room (And thus, your hydroponics system) if the plants seem unhappy.
Once your plants are grown you can either eat them or dry them out and turn them into medicine. If you’re drying them out then just hang the big fan out in front of your hydroponics system and turn it on for a few hours. Once it looks like the leaves are brittle then you can break them up (I suggest buying a grinder, but you can use scissors if you want) and roll the buds up in some paper for a nice joint.
Now you’re ready to get high! I suggest setting up a few screens before you start smoking, otherwise you might just get too high. (I’ve made that mistake once or twice.)
So sit back, put on some Pink Floyd, and enjoy your new hydroponics system!
NOTE: This is only meant to be a guide. I’m not responsible for anything you do when using this guide. I’m merely writing it so people interested in this kind of thing (Like me) have a place to start.
Sources & references used in this article:
Hydroponics advantages and disadvantages: pros and cons of having a hydroponic garden by T Tripp – 2014 – books.google.com
An experience of hydroponics fodder production by farmers of Bagalkot district by SN Boltovsky, SR Baymukhambetov, EV Demchuk – New science: current state and …, 2016
Green synthesis of metal nanoparticles using sprout plants: pros and cons by MR Kammar, A Sulagitti, M Kadagi… – … of Pharmacognosy and …, 2019 – phytojournal.com
Hydroponics v/s geoponics by S Park, HK Sung, Y Kim – Journal of nanoscience and …, 2016 – ingentaconnect.com
Quantification of paramagnetic ions in solution using time domain NMR. PROS and CONS to optical emission spectrometry method by A Goenka – International Journal for Emerging Research and …, 2018 – ijernd.com
A Controlled Environment Agriculture with Hydroponics: Variants, Parameters, Methodologies and Challenges for Smart Farming by FVC Kock, MP Machado, GPB Athayde… – Microchemical …, 2018 – Elsevier
Assessing student learning from an experiential module in a greenhouse management course using hydroponics and recirculating solution culture by P Srivani, SH Manjula – 2019 Fifteenth International …, 2019 – ieeexplore.ieee.org
Hydroponic towering agriculture vs traditional soil farming in Southern Arizona by JK Craver, KA Williams – HortTechnology, 2014 – journals.ashs.org