Growing up, I was the kid who LOVED science. Unsurprisingly, when I learned about hydroponics, something inside my brain instantly clicked and “just made sense”.In this post, we will have a fun grow media showdown – hydroponics vs soil!
Hydroponics vs Soil – The Modern Gardening Showdown
1) Hydroponics Saves Water
Maybe it’s the old hippy in us, but the fact that hydroponics gardening uses water more efficiently seems… right.
With traditional soil gardening, you water your plants, but not all the solutions will make it to the plant. Some drip out the bottom of the container, some soak more profoundly into the ground, and some evaporate into the heavens.
In a hydroponics setup, nutrients are recycled through a recirculating nutrient reservoir.
In real terms, this means that your plant’s roots will only take what nutrients they need, and the rest will go back into the reservoir to be cycled back through later.
It’s estimated that a hydroponics system uses just 10% of the water that a standard soil system does.
Also, this might just be us, but there’s something relaxing about the sound of your air stones bubbling away that’s highly relaxing.
2) Space Savings
Traditional soil gardening requires an enormous amount of space.
True, you can soil your garden indoors using pots and window boxes, but these limit the size of the plants you can grow.
Hydroponics allows you to produce a larger yield per square meter than soil gardening. For instance, with vertical hydroponics, you can stack rows of plants on top of each other without taking up more surface area.
You also have the advantage of giving your system more exact levels of nutrients meaning plants can be grown closer together as there isn’t a battle for food.
4) Reduced Pest,Weeding and Disease Pressure
Soil gardening is often plagued by pests and diseases that can damage crops and reduce yields. In hydroponics, the absence of soil significantly reduces the risk of soil-borne pests and diseases. Without soil, many common pests and pathogens that reside in the soil cannot reach the plants.
This advantage minimizes the need for pesticide application and simplifies pest and disease management in hydroponic systems. Growers can focus on preventive measures, such as maintaining a clean and sterile environment, ensuring healthier plants with fewer pest and disease issues.
I’ve got to admit, and this one is possibly one of the most appealing things about a hydroponics setup – no weeding is necessary!
5) Faster Growth and Higher Yields
With a properly optimised system, your most significant advantage is that your plants grow bigger and quicker.
For example, you can often take vegetables such as lettuce from seed to harvest in just over a month. This is almost twice as fast as regular soil gardening.
Hydroponics enables faster plant growth and higher yields compared to soil gardening. With precise control over environmental factors such as nutrient concentrations, pH levels, and lighting conditions, hydroponic growers can create an ideal environment for plant growth.
Plants in hydroponic systems experience minimal stress and can devote more energy to vegetative growth and fruit production. As a result, hydroponic crops often have accelerated growth rates and produce larger yields compared to their soil-grown counterparts.
6) You Get To Experiment
Okay, for me, this is one of the most appealing parts of hydroponic gardening – getting to experiment and refine my setup over time.
With shorter grow times, you can make changes and see their impact on your plant growth in weeks rather than months.
There’s also something quite fun about playing with pH meters, nutrient solutions and plumbing – you often feel like a mad scientist!
7) Consistent Crop Quality
Hydroponics offers consistent crop quality compared to soil gardening. Soil composition can vary significantly from one location to another, resulting in variations in plant nutrition and overall crop quality. In hydroponics, the nutrient solution is precisely controlled, ensuring that plants receive a consistent and balanced supply of nutrients.
This consistency translates into crops with uniform size, shape, and quality. Hydroponic produce often exhibits desirable characteristics such as vibrant colors, enhanced flavors, and increased nutritional content, meeting the demands of discerning consumers.
The Bottom Line
While soil gardening has been the traditional method for growing plants, hydroponics surpasses it in several aspects. The efficient resource utilization, faster growth, higher yields, space efficiency, reduced pest and disease pressure, and consistent crop quality make hydroponics a superior choice. As more growers recognize the advantages of hydroponics, its popularity continues to rise. Whether in urban farming or commercial agriculture, hydroponics offers a sustainable and efficient solution for cultivating plants and meeting the demands of a growing population.
Hi, I’m Miles, the lead team member behind Gardeem.com. Besides being a passionate grower and writer, I’m a husband, father and grandfather to three! I started Gardeem in 2017 to provide simple and reliable gardening advice to everyone, regardless of their ability levels.