Hydroponics and the Environment

Hydroponics and the Environment

Let’s Have a Look at How Hydroponics are Helping the Environment

Hydroponics, Farmland, Green, Farm, Plant, Cultivating
Hydroponics are hugely beneficial for the environment (photo credit: iamareri)

So, I know some people aren’t huge fans of hydroponically-grown-food. But perhaps this post can help sway you a little. The whole hydroponics thing is actually really beneficial for the environment, so I promise this is worth a read.


What are Hydroponics?

  • Hydroponics is “the cultivation of plants in water” –The Hydroponics Store
  • It is simply plants that are grown indoors with artificial sun light. these plants however, do not require any soil. – The Ecopost
Close-Up Photography of Leaves With Droplets
Plants need water nutrients and light, no soil required! (Photo credit: Sohail Na)

The term ‘hydroponics‘ is an umbrella term. Meaning, there are multiple other meanings to this phrase.

What else does ‘Hydroponics’ mean?

It is not just about growing plants in the nutrient rich fluid. It also has something to do with the combination of fish and plants. This technique is called aquaponics and its pretty weird and wonderful.

So this ‘nutrient-rich water’ mentioned above. It seems that having fish that live in water provides if not more nutrient-rich water for the plants. This is due to the fish’s excretion holding all the nutrients a plant could ever need.

Orange and White Koi Fish Near Yellow Koi Fish
Aquaponics – the growing of plants with the use of fish tanks (photo credit: FOX)

And next, Aeroponics.

This is similar to the hydroponics method. There is still the use of nutrient rich fluid, however, in the form of a mist! This means, plants don’t have to sit in anything. This is seen as one of the better methods.

There is more equal balance for oxygen, nutrients and water. A common misconception about plants, is that oxygen is only a by product of them. When, really plants also need oxygen. It is absorbed through the roots and is a vital part of their health and crop production.

How are hydroponics beneficial to the Environment?

  • Hydroponics take up 50% less land to grow the same amount of crops. Leaving more land for wildlife and natural ecosystems. This can also be great to us in the future, due to the population rising and running out of space and more need food.
  • When growing crops in soil, lots of water is lost. With hydroponically grown crops, the only water that is lost it to evaporation, which is a substantially lower amount.
  • Reduction in fossil fuels,¬†due to farming land not being as ‘local’ as we would hope, most peoples food has to travel miles to get to their tables. With hydroponically growing crops, food can become much more locally grown. This then reduces the air miles that our precious food gains.
  • 60% less fertiliser required. The solution that the plants grow in is absorbed as it is needed. When crops grow in soil, a large majority of the fertiliser is never absorbed and most goes to waste. This is due to it crystallising before ever reaches the roots.
  • No pesticides: Because all the growing takes place indoors and there being no soil, this means no bacteria and no pests!

If you’re interested in starting your own hydroponic garden, heres some tips:

  • You only need a small area, each plant will really only require a 4 inch ‘pot’ and then just a couple of inches between each plant. So, nothing huge.
  • Head on over to instructables.com for a ton of inspiration on potting ideas. They can be super eco-friendly, with the use of old water bottles and other recyclable objects, making it really easy to do at home.
  • The plants most hydroponic friendly are cucumbers, red peppers, salad greens and most commonly, tomatoes.

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