Aeroponics vs. Hydroponics

Lead Image

It is possible that various forms of hydroponics agriculture will increase in popularity and become commonplace in the future American home. As our soil quality continues to deteriorate, more people are seeking ways to provide healthy food for their families. Hydroponic gardens may provide just the answer.

In a hydroponic system, plants grow without soil. Instead, they are grown with added nutrients in sand, gravel, or liquid. Aeroponics, a form of hydroponics, uses no growing medium at all. This is because plants do not require soil to grow, and soil can actually hinder the specific plant's growth.

Because all plants need nutrients, the organisms expend valuable energy growing roots to find these nutrients for flower formulation and growth. Hydroponic systems, like aeroponics, instead deliver nutrients straight to the source.

Hydroponics Growing Medium

With the hydroponic growing system, plants are placed in a growing medium, such as coconut husks, perlite, or clay pebbles. A nutrient-rich solution flows through the airy planting medium and provides food for plant growth.

Advantages of Hydroponics

Hydroponic systems give gardeners complete control over nutrient delivery. Plants grown hydroponically have much greater energy efficiency than plants grown in soil. Many hydroponic systems recycle water, which greatly reduces waste. In fact, these soil-free cultivation systems use as little as 10-percent of the amount of water needed by conventional growing methods and are fairly easy to build. Hydroponic gardening uses no herbicides or pesticides, and such gardens require little space and are not dependent on growing seasons. Instead, they use artificial light.

Disadvantages of Hydroponics

Because the nutrient solution is passed between plants, it is possible for water-based disease to travel rapidly between them. Also, hydroponic systems, including aeroponics, rely on electricity and require costly generator back-ups to cover for power outages. Hydroponic systems can also be expensive to set up due to the nature of the equipment involved. However, once you have the system set up, it is cheaper than a traditional garden to operate.

Growing Medium With Aeroponics

The aeroponics system does not utilize any growing medium. Plants are suspended in a dark enclosure, while a nutrient-dense solution is sprayed on the roots at certain intervals.

Advantages of Aeroponics

Because plant roots are isolated and there is no planting medium, plants that are grown with this suspended, misted system will get maximum nutrient absorption. An aeroponic system, like hydroponic systems, can also be assembled at home.

Disadvantage of Aeroponics

Trayless systems like aeroponics are sensitive and require constant attention to pH and nutrient density ratios. This special kind of cultivation is difficult for beginners to understand and should only be attempted by those who are advanced and familiar with such systems.