We live in an amazing time where technology is making life more efficient, cost effective and productive. But technology isn’t limited to work and play; it’s also impacting our lifestyle and health. Hydroponics, aeroponics and aquaponics are the modern day examples of organic, environmentally friendly and sustainable gardening.
While these clunky, expensive systems used to be limited to labs or professional farmers, they are now being reimagined for home use. Innovation and technology are joining together to bring healthy options to the masses and are making these growing centers more readily available. What type of system is right for you?
Hydroponics vs Aeroponics vs Aquaponics
First things first, what do each of these terms mean and how do they grow plants differently?
Hydroponics allows plants to grow without soil and instead uses liquid, sand, gravel, coco, or various other materials. Nutrients are supplied to the roots by water that is enhanced with liquid plant food.
The benefits of hydroponics clearly outweigh traditional farming methods. The basic needs of a plant are simple: water, sunshine, and nutrients. However, traditional farming isn’t always the most efficient. “In soil, the nutrients are dilute and the plant has to spend considerable time and energy spreading its roots to find the nutrients that it needs,” comments Ginger Shelby on Ecopedia. “In a hydroponic system, the plant does not have to spend this energy seeking nutrients, which means that they do not need such an extensive root system. Hydroponic plants can grow as much as two times as fast as their soil-grown counterparts can because they do not have to expend the energy to develop an extensive root system. The nutrients are applied directly to the roots, allowing the plant to be grown in a smaller space. Hydroponics allows the plant density to be quadrupled, which means four times more production for the space.”
Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in a moist environment and also rejects the normal use of soil. Plants are suspended in a somewhat enclosed environment and water that is mixed with plant food is sprayed onto the roots. A drawback to this type of environment is that the roots are exposed so pests and bacteria can become a problem if the roots aren’t carefully protected.
Aeroponics systems are often used in an enclosed environment like a greenhouse so that temperature and humidity can be meticulously regulated. Sunlight is the primary light source but some supplemental lighting may also be added.
This system was first developed by NASA since plants can be grown in tubes and the roots can be monitored without being weighed down in heavy materials. “Aeroponics systems can reduce water usage by 98 percent, fertilizer usage by 60 percent, and pesticide usage by 100 percent, all while maximizing crop yields. Plants grown in the aeroponic systems have also been shown to uptake more minerals and vitamins, making the plants healthier and potentially more nutritious,” explains NASA. “As an example, let’s talk tomatoes. Tomato growers traditionally start their plants in pots, waiting at least 28 days before transplanting them into the ground. Using an aeroponic system, growers can start the plants in the growing chamber, then transplant them just 10 days later. This advanced technology produces six tomato crop cycles per year, instead of the traditional one to two crop cycles. “
Aquaponics is a controlled environment that creates a well-balanced ecosystem which mutually benefits plants and fish. We’ve all seen those vases that grow a plant at the top and have a Chinese fighting fish swimming around the roots. That is the simplest example. In this process, the fish and plants have a symbiotic relationship providing nutrients to one another: the plants provide food for the fish and the fish poop gives plants their nutrients and fertilizer.
A variety of plants can grow in a aquaponics system including various lettuce types, tomatoes, strawberries and peppers. Plants that need a pH environment a lot higher or lower than neutral 7.0 are the only types of plants that haven’t proven to effectively grow.
There are several benefits to aquaponics. “Compared to conventional fish farming methods, aquaponics uses 90 percent less freshwater and requires significantly fewer added nutrients to raise the same amount of fish,” states Ethan A. Huff on Natural News. “Likewise, fruits and vegetables can be grown effectively without the need for pesticides and other synthetic chemicals and inputs, all of which are known to destroy the environment and human health when used in conventional agriculture settings.”
Why ROOT Uses Hydroponics
It’s obvious that all of these systems have strong benefits that outweigh traditional backyard gardening methods. ROOT chose to create a hydroponic garden system because this clearly was the best option for many reasons.
1/ Aeroponics may work great for NASA, but aeroponic plants thrive in damp, warm environments… so do bacterial and fungi. Additionally, aeroponics relies on greenhouses and large root boxes. For many people who live in urban environments, space is at a premium and they can’t accommodate these growing systems. Plus, who has time and patience to regulate temperature and humidity in a growing box?
2/ If you have ever had a fish tank, you know that it can be difficult to create just the right pH balance. Moreover, aquaponics takes quite a bit of research to determine which pumps to use, which plants support the ecosystem, and water + algae + dead fish can equal a smelly mess.
ROOT’s hydroponic garden system allows plants to hang in the air which helps to prevent unwanted mold and pests. Plus, through the natural fermentation process of our plant food, alcohol is created as a byproduct and can be safely sprayed on the plants as a pesticide (if needed).
ROOT also negates the need for large, expensive greenhouses, complicated filters and pumps, and choosing plants based on pH levels. ROOT takes up just one square foot of space and is about three feet tall, so you can grow 12 plants no matter how small your home or apartment is. Better yet, the state-of-the-art full spectrum LED grow lights allow you to put your ROOT system anywhere since it provides all the sunlight your plants will ever need. The non-GMO and USDA organic seeds also thrive in our system; in fact, you can grow four times the amount of produce and harvest your produce up to 50% faster than with traditional gardening practices.
Hydroponic gardening is the best and easiest way for urban gardeners and those who weren’t blessed with a green thumb to grow organic, great tasting herbs, fruits and vegetables. Now that you’ve done the research, the only thing left to do is order your ROOT hydroponic gardening system today!