For those who enjoy gardening, a method called hydroponics is a particularly sustainable form of gardening. Hydroponics means growing plants without soil. Instead, plants’ roots grow in water with nutrient rich minerals.
Plant roots can be lodged in a water mineral solution alone, or gravel, mineral wood, or pebbles. The mineral solution surrounding the roots usually has a mixture of Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus, and using different ratios of those minerals can actually control aspects of the growing process. Hydroponics can be used for a vast array of plant life, from flowers, to vegetables, to a large collection of herbs.
So why is hydroponics particularly sustainable? To begin with, water is conserved since less is required throughout the process. Since there is no soil involved, there are no soil born pests which eliminates the need for pesticides. The material used to house the roots, such as gravel, can be reused for multiple plants. Under this method plants also have longer life spans so the resources devoted to continually replacing plants are decreased.
Aside from environmental benefits, there are other perks as well. Hydroponics allows plants to be grown in an area that does not depend upon large outdoor spaces or land that can be easily cultivated. This is perfect for people who live in a more urban area or want to grow plants inside the house. Hydroponics also leads to a higher yield of crop, and the entire process can be less expensive than traditional gardening. In terms of convenience, hydroponic plants do not have to be weeded or watered since there is no soil. Overall, hydroponics can be a great method for convenient, interesting, and sustainable gardening.
Article by: Abigail Fagan, Class of 2014