Which Technique Is Best For Growing Plants: Traditionally or Hydroponically?
Today’s modern-day gardener has numerous factors to consider when deciding how they should be growing plants. For example, should they grow their plants organically or should they use pesticides and nutrients to improve their plant’s health? However, with the introduction of new growing techniques, gardeners now have an even bigger decision to make … which technique is best for growing plants: traditionally or hydroponically?
In today’s guide, we’ll go through the pros and cons of growing plants via a hydroponic system and also by growing them more traditionally by hand watering them. However, for people who don’t know, let’s go over what hydroponic and hand watering systems are.
What Is A Hydroponic System?
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in a water-based, nutrient solution. When growing hydroponically, plants aren’t grown in soil, they are grown in other mediums. These mediums can be perlite, rockwool, clay pellets, peat moss, or vermiculite. The basic principle behind hydroponics is that plants are grown soilless and specially made nutrient solutions are used to improve plant growth rates and yield sizes.
What Does Hand Feeding Plants Mean?
Plants that are watered via either a hosepipe or a watering can are known as hand fed plants. This type of watering and feeding is typically used on plants that are grown in soil and has been used for hundreds of years.
Pros of Hydroponic Systems
Growing plants hydroponically has many advantages, the biggest being that plant’s growth rates are increased. Research indicates that with the proper setup, plants will grow 25% quicker and will produce 30% more than plants grown in soil. This is because plants have direct access to nutrients, meaning their roots have all the vitamins they need to turbo boost their growth.
Another benefit of hydroponics is that a nutrient solution can be easily managed. This means that gardeners are able to control the amount of nutrients a plant receives, whilst also being able to monitor nutrient pH levels. This is important in providing a healthy growing environment for plants. Furthermore, as this nutrient solution is automatically pumped around the system, gardeners need not worry about watering their plants every few days.
Finally, due to an enclosed watering tank, some hydroponic systems use less water, meaning that they are more environmentally friendly than hand feed systems.
Cons of Hydroponic Systems
One of the main disadvantages of growing plants hydroponically is the initial setup. As hydroponic systems are large scale and need numerous pieces of equipment to run, the initial setup cost is higher than growing plants in soil and also take a lot longer to set up. Because of these reasons, more experienced gardens tend to use hydroponic systems.
A final negative of using a hydroponic system is the risk of equipment failure. If one element of the hydroponic system fails, plants can die within hours. This is because they wouldn’t have access to the fresh supply of water that they constantly need.
Pros of Hand Feeding Plants
Today, hand feeding is one of the most popular ways of growing plants. All a gardener needs is access to soil, maybe a few plant pots and finally a watering can or hosepipe. This subsequently means that the initial set up is dramatically cheaper than growing plants hydroponically. This makes it perfect for beginner gardeners.
In addition, due to the nutrients already present in soil, gardeners who hand feed their plants can grow their plants without the need to use chemicals. This allows gardeners to grow plants organically and subsequently allows these plants to produce high-quality natural crops.
Cons of Hand Feeding Plants
Probably the biggest problem with hand feeding plants is that it’s time-consuming. Typically, gardeners have to make up fresh feed every few days and then go around watering each plant individually. This can not only be time-consuming but can also be costly as the nutrient is not being re-used, unlike in hydroponic systems.
Finally, gardeners who hand feed their plants report that plant growth is slower that hydroponically grown plants. This consequently means that plants typically produce lower yields.
So there we have it, the pros and cons of using a hydroponics system to grow your plants, and the pros and cons of hand feeding plants. At the end of the day, gardeners will use whichever technique is best for them. Those gardeners who are growing plants for commercial reasons will probably lean towards using a hydroponic system. However, gardeners growing plants for personal use will probably use traditional growing techniques and hand feed their plants. This will mean that their setup cost is considerably lower.
If you want to easily start growing plants indoors, check out our huge range of ‘Get Growing Starter Packages‘. Each package contains everything you need to grow plants indoors either hydroponically or by hand feeding them.