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Hydroponics: the future of farming. This hydroponic grow system is ideal for living a sustainable lifestyle and enjoying fresh, organic produce all year round.
Many of us do this as a hobby and a business these days. But in the future, everyone will need to know how to grow in hydroponic systems. This article explains why hydroponic system growing is important for you to know about it.
What Is Conventional Farming?
Conventional farming requires land/soil, water, sunlight, fertilizer, and seeds.
Conventional farming has a long history from ancient civilizations. Farmers would till the land and plant their seeds by hand. With the help of rain, sun, and animals, they could harvest their crops and use them for food, feed, or trade.
Today, conventional farming is still used worldwide with the aid of machineries such as tractors, irrigation systems, Pick-Up Trucks, Automatic InRow Weeder, Harvesting Equipment, Livestock Equipment, and many more innovative tools.
To understand the importance of hydroponics, understanding conventional farming is much needed.
Why Should You Try Alternative Techniques for Conventional Farming?
We need to look into alternative for conventional farming beacuse the conventional type of farming is becoming less sustainable due to the below seven reasons:
1. Conventional farming is not readily available to everyone, including the people who live in urban areas.
It is more expensive to grow food on a large scale in urban areas using conventional methods; because of space limitations, not everyone can have their land to farm. Also, it is difficult for conventional farmers to transport their food from the rural areas where they live.
2. Greenhouse gas emissions from livestock and farm machinery
Another form of pollution that occurs in conventional farming is greenhouse gas emissions. One major source of these gases comes from vehicles to transport produce from the field where they are grown to a distribution center. As a result, greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural activity include the carbon dioxide emitted from automobile engines and farm machinery.
3. The use of pesticides, herbicides, and inorganic fertilizers can contaminate soil, water, and air in inorganic farming.
The use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers can contaminate soil, water, and air. These chemicals can be toxic to both humans and the environment. They can also cause adverse health effects.
For example, when pesticides run off into creeks or streams after rainstorms, they pollute the waterways for fish and other aquatic animals living there. Also, chemicals from fertilizers such as nitrogen seep underground to contaminate groundwater supplies that people use for drinking and irrigation.
On the other hand, organic farming also relies on crop rotation to maintain soil productivity. Crop rotation means that different types of crops are grown in succession on the same piece of land. This helps keep the soil healthy by providing it with different nutrients, and it also reduces the chances of pests and diseases building up in the soil.
4. Soil erosion from tilling and heavy rains
Soil erosion is when soil is carried away by water or wind. This can happen when the soil is unprotected.
When farmers till the land, they break up the top layer of the soil. This makes the soil more susceptible to erosion. Tilling also loosens the soil, making it easier for the wind to carry it away.
Heavy rains can also cause soil erosion. When rain falls on unprotected soil, it washes away the top layer of soil.The rain can also erode gullies and ravines in the land.
5. Overuse of groundwater for irrigation
Groundwater is the water that lies beneath the ground and sustains life. There are two forms of groundwater: bedrock and weathered deposits. The weathered deposits form a porous layer of rock and soil, which easily absorbs water. The deep bedrock lies beneath the surface.
The Ground-Water can be defined as any subsurface water that supplies wells or springs used for agricultural purposes or other commercial purposes, public bathing, and other similar uses.
Alternative water sources should be used instead of groundwater to irrigate plants and crops.
6. The reliance on mono-crops, which can lead to soil depletion and pests
The reliance on mono-crops is another issue that can lead to soil depletion and pests. When farmers only grow one type of crop on a piece of land, it can deplete the soil of essential nutrients. The lack of nutrients can cause the crops to be less healthy and more vulnerable to pests and diseases. Pests and diseases can also quickly spread to other crops if they are grown in the same area.
To avoid the harmful effects of mono-cropping, farmers used to alter the crops each year. Before doing this, they must first improve the soil’s nutrients. So that, they use inorganic fertilizers and pesticides, which further affect the health of crops, soil structure, and environment.
7. Cost of farming equipment and chemicals needed in conventional farming
The cost of farming is related to prices, such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides (inorganic or organic), fuel costs (for tractors), labor costs, etc., that make up a large portion of their overall production costs which pay by farmers. The high price of these inputs, most notably fertilizers and pesticides (inorganic ), has forced many conventional farmers to seek financial assistance from the government.
The use of chemicals in farming also comes with other costs that are not often discussed. These include the cost of environmental damage caused by chemical runoff and soil erosion. The health risks associated with chemical exposure also have a cost, which the farmer often pays.
What Sustainable Alternative Farming Methods Exist?
- Organic Farming
As I previously stated, traditional farming methods are becoming increasingly unsustainable due to poor agricultural techniques. It damages the environment and can also have harmful health effects on humans.
We need an alternative farming system that is more sustainable and does not damage the environment.
1. Organic Farming
Organic farming is a production system that sustains and enhances the health of the soil, plants, animals, people, and the environment.
Organic agriculture is an alternative to conventional farming that does not rely on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Instead, organic farmers use natural methods to improve their soil fertility and protect their crops from pests and diseases.
However, organic agriculture is not without its drawbacks. One of the main problems with organic farming is that it can be more expensive and time-consuming than conventional farming.
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil. Plants are grown in a nutrient-rich water solution.
Hydroponics is a system of growing plants without soil but in an environment that consists mostly of water and nutrients. This method can be used to grow both indoors and outdoors because the plants’ roots do not contact the ground or any dirt, which eliminates the possibility of contamination from pesticides.
Hydroponics, or growing plants in water, is a sustainable alternative to traditional farming that does not rely on the soil. Plants are grown in nutrient-rich solutions instead of soil. This method is beneficial because the plants do not contact soil that could be contaminated by pesticides.
This system does not work well with large-scale farming because it requires expensive equipment, making it less accessible for most farmers to use on a larger scale.
However, hydroponic is the better choice for people in urban areas. It is a cheap alternative farming method for people who grow plants on a home scale. Because, this method is more reliable and gives you fresh vegetables all year long, and can develop an efficient production.
Aeroponics is a type of hydroponic system in which the plants are suspended in air and periodically sprayed with a nutrient-rich water solution.
Aeroponics is an alternative to conventional farming that does not rely on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Instead, aeroponic farmers use a nutrient-rich water solution to spray their plants periodically.
This method is said to be more efficient than traditional farming because less water goes wasted or is needed for irrigation and since the roots of the plant are not covered in soil.
However, aeroponics can also have drawbacks like organic farming. One downside is that it requires expensive equipment like misting nozzles and high-pressure pumps. Also, this method is not as popular as organic or hydroponic farming, so it can be difficult to find supplies and expert advice.
Aquaponics is a type of hydroponic system in which the plants are suspended in water, and the roots are nourished with a nutrient-rich solution.
It is also an alternative to conventional farming that does not rely on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Instead, aquaponic farmers use a nutrient-rich water solution to nourish their plants’ roots.
Aquaponics is said to be more efficient than organic farming because less water goes wasted or is needed for irrigation, and the roots of the plants are not covered in soil.
However, aquaponic systems can have drawbacks like hydroponic or aeroponic systems. One downside is that it requires expensive equipment like fish tanks and pumps. Also, this method is not as popular as organic or hydroponic farming, so it can’t be easy to find supplies and expert advice.
In case if you need any hydroponics, aquaponics, and vertical gardening related items, check the below listed from Amazon and select the best one suited for your specific requirement.
Kratky containers – Large, Kratky containers – Small
Hydro tower gardening system
Net cups or net pots
Irrigation system including mist nozzles
Agricultural drone sprayers
LED grow lights
Air pump and Air stone
Organic hydroponic nutrient solution
Digital ph meters and EC, TDS meters
pH adjusters for hydroponics
Seeds for hydroponics (Lettuce, Tomatoes, Bell peppers, Cucumbers, Zucchini)
Algae control solution
Thermometer for hydroponics
Organic farming does not rely on pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, but it is more time-consuming and costly than conventional methods. However, If I have a village land area and am considering farming, I will certainly try it at least on a modest scale.
Yet, I live in an urban area, and organic farming is something of a dream for me. As a result, the hydroponics growing method would be one of my top choices for an alternative farming method.
This method has the benefits of less water wasted and no soil contact, which eliminates the possibility of contamination from pesticides.
The best way to make an informed decision is to weigh the pros and cons of each system to see which one fits your needs.
I hope this gives you a good overview of some different types of sustainable agriculture.
Thank you for reading!