‘Hydro’ means water and ‘ponics’ is derived from the Greek word ponein which means to labour, toil. Hydroponics therefore translates to ‘working with water’; it is a method of growing plants in nutrient-packed liquid instead of soil. Interestingly many ancient civilisations through the ages have utilised hydroponic growing techniques. Today, this innovative area of agriculture is being developed extensively. Hydroponics runs on the basic principle that in order to grow healthily, plants require their roots to be in water and nutrients – bottomline being that there is not need for soil.
The potential of hydroponics is the ability to grow fresh produce in non-arable areas of the world and areas with little to no soil. One of the best qualities of hydroponics is that it is a self-contained system and can be scaled to any size — a yard, balcony, terrace, the rooftop of an apartment building, or even indoors. The hype around hydroponics stems from its potential to grow plants in outer space. But it’s not just scientists and analysts who are interested in hydroponics, traditional farmers and eager hobbyists also explore its benefits.
So, here are some of its benefits:
– Hydroponic yields are higher than traditional, soil-based agriculture.
– Food can be grown and consumed in areas of the world that cannot support crops in the soil.
– Eliminating the need for massive pesticide use (considering most pests live in the soil), effectively making our air, water, soil, and food cleaner.
– The ability to meticulously control the variables that affect the growth of the plants.