9 Benefits of Hydroponic Gardening
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You might have heard about hydroponic gardening but have wondered what the point is, especially if you’ve already got a perfectly acceptable traditional dirt garden! We actually have both a traditional dirt garden outside as well as a hydroponic garden set up in our basement. Here are 9 benefits we have found when it comes to hydroponic gardening.
1. Nerd alert: root system awesomeness
Being able to see the root system of a hydroponic plant is really freaking cool, and even though we’re not new to this anymore, I still haven’t gotten over it. It’s equal parts fascinating and scary because the root system sort of makes me think of some kind of alien monster. If you’ve got kiddos, it’s a neat educational thing for them to see. Just leave out the alien monster description part.
2. No pesty problems
In hydroponic gardening, there are no weeds to deal with. There are no bugs or bunnies or stray cats messing around with your plants. Other than a random boxelder bug who found his way to our hydroponics system and hung out waiting for the big sunshine light to click on, this garden is bug free. I find this especially awesome because I can oooh and ahhh over my hydroponic garden without being eaten alive by mosquitoes.
3. Less labor intensive
Because there are no weeds/bugs/pests, the whole experience is less labor intensive than a traditional dirt garden. Once your hydroponic garden system is up and running, it’s really very much set it and forget it, especially if you employ the use of a smart plug and put your system on an automatic schedule. This is super helpful for people like me who can’t even remember if they’ve eaten breakfast or not.
4. No dirt to deal with
Okay, “no dirt” seems obvious since the base of hydroponics is the fact the plants are growing “in” water. But my point about “no dirt” is that I don’t have to wash the lettuce. Depending on what you’ve got going on in your house, you might want to rinse your lettuce (I never have) but my point here is there isn’t any dirt to wash off the lettuce.
I don’t know about you, but washing my (traditional dirt garden) home grown lettuce before making a salad (even with a salad spinner) was one of my least favorite “hey, I grew this!” chores. Hydroponic lettuce has actually made me want to grow lettuce because the worst part of home grown lettuce it is gone!
5. Plants grow faster
I don’t know what kind of magic (or science) makes it possible, but anything I grow in my hydroponics system grows way faster than if I were to grow it outside. Some sources even say plants will grow twice as fast in a hydroponic garden, but I think the actual speed depends on a lot of different things. Suffice to say, our hydroponics set up has proven to grow things faster than our traditional dirt garden, which is a super big plus when you live in the land of the frozen north.
6. You’ve got control
Hydroponics means no drought, no torrential downpour, no windstorm. There’s no lack of sunlight (unless you forget your grow light) and there’s no massive fluctuation in temperature. (Come to think of it… maybe this is why everything grows faster? Hmmm…)
7. Grow more plants in less space
Because I’m growing vertically (in totes stacked on a shelf) I can grow 24 big gorgeous lettuce plants in much less space than if they were outside in my traditional dirt garden. How awesome is that?
There’s nothing like walking right down the stairs to the freezer to grab some meat to thaw for tomorrow’s supper and being able to pick some lettuce for today’s lunch at the same time. I don’t have to walk outside. I don’t have to go to the store. It’s just right there, and that’s awesome.
9. Cost savings
I love that I can have fresh lettuce year round. “In season” doesn’t matter with hydroponics. I can start seeds in my hydroponic garden whenever I want. Which means I’m not affected by the fluctuating prices at the local grocery store because a) it’s winter or b) inflation or c) alien invasion. I don’t have to worry that the grocery store wants OMGHOWMUCH for a bunch of green leaf lettuce because I’ve got more than I can probably eat in my basement for pennies—and it’s ultra fresh.
Want to start your DIY hydroponic garden?
If you’re looking to get started with your own DIY hydroponic garden, check out my posts on:
- our simple DIY hydroponics set up
- starting seeds for your hydroponic garden
- transplanting seedlings to your hydroponic garden
- lessons I learned my first year of hydroponic gardening