Soilless Homestead Gardening Using Hydroponics
Gardening without soil is fast becoming a trend amongst urban dwellers as well as prepping and homesteading enthusiasts and for good reason. When I first heard about the concept of hydroponics, the first thing that came to my mind was how cool would it be to be able to grow plants indoors without needing soil in case SHTF happens.
SHTF Dad’s Take on Hydroponics
Aside from being so innovative and ‘advanced’, one of the things I like about hydroponics is how beautiful it is. I’m not kidding. Seeing a plant growing like its suspended in mid-air in clear bottles is so beautiful, you might even think of doing it just for aesthetic purposes.
Anyway, back to hydroponics, if you’re thinking this is a new concept, then you are wrong. Hydroponics has been going on for thousands of years, even back to the time of the Egyptian pharaohs. If you are interested to know more about this soil-free gardening technique, read on and I’ll tell you more about it.
What is Hydroponics?
A lot of you may have practiced hydroponics without being aware of it. Remember science class when you’ve placed a plant clipping unto a dish or glass of water to watch it develop roots? That’s hydroponics folks!
Now, for the science-y grown-up part: Hydroponics is actually a branch of agriculture. In hydroponics, the nutrients needed by the plant to grow is not mixed up in the soil but is rather dissolved in water or in the mineral solution in which the plant’s roots are submerged. In some cases, plants can even grow better in a hydroponics system compared to a soil system of gardening.
How Does Hydroponics Work?
In hydroponics, the mineral and nutrient laden solutions can be dispersed in mediums like wool, coconut husk, pebbles or gravel to give the roots something to hold on to and to encourage their growth. The upper parts of the plant such as the stems are held above the hydroponics solution and only the roots are allowed to touch it.
As long as it is ensured that the mineral-rich solution is supporting the plant’s nutrient needs, there is no need to use any soil. If done indoors, artificial lighting can provide the ‘sunlight’ the plant needs and the people indoors provides the carbon dioxide for the plant to be able to photosynthesize and therefore live.
The Benefits of Hydroponics Gardening
In areas where the soil is very poor or soil may altogether be unavailable like in a post apocalyptic world or SHTF scenario, then hydroponics is the way to go. With this system, you can grow multi-level crop and utilize every inch of space you have.
Another scenario for using hydroponics is if the climate is not conducive for growing crops outdoors. Since the hydroponics system is basically green-housing without soil, you can use it to grow plants in winter or if SHTF, in case the world is submerged in forever winter. With this system, you can fully control the temperature and moisture levels to what is optimal for your crops.
Hydroponics can also help the environment. In some waste water projects, the system is used to filter water and or other waste. The plants will eat up the organic waste (which is full of nutrients!) and waste water is transformed into safe water which can be released to the environment.
Hydroponics is Great for Homestead Gardening Because:
- It is cheap and uses minimal resources.
- It can be done fully indoors and allows you to start a garden even in subzero temperatures.
- Materials can be easily found in local stores.
- It saves tons of space because it takes up only 30-40% of the space compared to a soil based garden.
- Plants grown this way grows up faster, which means they yield crops faster too.
- Starting a hydroponics garden is a fun prepping adventure, and not just for SHTF or for prepping.
- You can teach your kids about science, gardening, discipline and responsibility when you include them in your hydroponics project. Isn’t that a great deal?