Sizing Up Hydroponic vs Soil
1. Space Savings
Any time you talk about hydroponics vs soil you will see that hydroponics saves an incredible amount of space compared to traditional soil gardening. Usually, a plant’s roots need space to spread out through the soil. Not anymore! Instead, they are submerged in a bath of oxygenated nutrient solution.
Imagine if you had everything you needed to eat in a little pill.
You didn’t need to hunt around for food or eat three meals a day – you simply popped the pill and your body was dosed with a perfect supply of nutrients.
When you compare hydroponics vs soil it is hard to deny what hydroponics provides for your plants. Instead of using soil as a carrier for the nutrients your plants need, hydroponics uses a customized nutrient solution to surround your plants with perfectly calibrated nutrition all of the time. Because of this, you get to pack your plants closer together, resulting in a huge space savings!
2. Hydroponics Saves Water
We are comparing hydroponics vs soil so Let’s think about how the average soil gardener waters their plants. Usually every few days they dump a good amount of water into their soil, ensuring good penetration into the soil so the roots can suck it up.
Sounds great, right?
Well, it’s only part of the picture.
Some of that water drips out of the bottom of their container or seeps further into the ground. Some of it evaporates out of the soil.
Only a small percentage of the water is used by the plant. Hydroponics solves this problem by using what is called a recirculating nutrient reservoir in most types of systems (Deep Water Culture being one of the most popular). This means that a plant’s roots will only take up the amount of water they need at any one time and leave the rest in the reservoir for later. The reservoir is covered to prevent evaporation and no water can seep out of the bottom.
This allows the same amount of water that was used to water a plant in soil for a day to water a plant in a hydroponics setup for days or weeks at a time. You can save around 90% of the water used in soil gardening simply by switching to a hydroponic setup.
3. No Weeding Necessary
One of the most common excuses I hear when someone tells me why they don’t want to garden is:
I don’t want to spend all of my time on my hands and knees weeding! Easy solution. Switch to hydroponics. No soil, no weeds. Simple as that.
4. Less Pests and Diseases
Following that same logic, pests and diseases are drastically reduced in hydroponics. Soil is taken out of the picture and replaced with one of the common hydroponic growing media. Eliminating soil also eliminates a lot of the different soil borne diseases and pests that plague traditional gardening.
5. Double-Headed Time Savings
This is my favorite reason of all. Not only does growing hydroponically save you the time of weeding, pest control and watering, it also speeds up the growth of the plant
If you’re growing outdoors, that means you get to squeeze in more harvest cycles before your growing season ends.
You also get to observe the growth of plants at a quicker pace and learn about all of the different things you could do to improve the growth much quicker.
For example, you can take a head of lettuce from seedling to harvest in around a month in hydroponics compared to two months in soil. Imagine how much faster you could become a gardening expert with a time savings like that!
6. Gives You EXTREME Control
All of the reasons above combine to form one uber-powerful mega reason why hydroponics (and all soilless growing, for that matter) absolutely dominates soil gardening: control.
You become the master of your plant’s environment. It’s up to you to create the perfect nutrient mixture, temperature, humidity and growing schedule. It’s kind of like that movie “The Truman Show.” You’re the showrunner, and your plants are Truman. You turn the sun on and off. You control when your plants get fed and what they eat. You’re fully responsible for their well-being. It’s a wonderful thing!