Are Hydroponics Crops As Healthy As Crops Grown In Soil?
By FloraFlex 25 February 2022
Growing plants without soil may seem like an idea from the future, but it’s actually a growing method that’s becoming increasingly available to any gardener today. Hydroponic gardens replace the soil with sterile growing media—such as clay pellets, rock wool, or coconut husk—and require the gardener to supply the plants with the proper nutrients, light, and water.
Because gardeners keep these plants indoors, people tend to wonder if hydroponic crops are as healthy as crops grown in soil. Do they use too many chemicals or alter the genetics of the plant? Is it more of a science experiment than food? If you find yourself asking more questions about hydroponics out of concern for your health rather than eating hydroponically grown crops, it’s time to learn the truth.
The Differences Between Growing Hydroponic Crops and Soil Crops
In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be any differences between hydroponically grown and soil-grown plants. However, because this isn’t a perfect world, it’s important to remember that an outdoor soil garden is at the mercy of nature and often require pesticides to survive. Hydroponic gardens allow the gardener to create a nutrient bath, sometimes allowing specific nutrient solutions for picky plants. With careful monitoring, the gardener can add or dilute nutrients if the mixture is off. A hydroponic drip irrigation system prevents wasted water by sending the nutrient solution directly to the roots. Unused nutrient solution cycles through the system again, allowing the garden to reuse the same water for a week or more.
How the Growing Method Affects the End Result
Though neither growing method is immune to pests or diseases, you’re less likely to find a freak disease or pest in a hydroponic garden, especially if you ensure the space is sterile. The risk of pests and diseases, in addition to the possibility of fertilizer runoff and draining soil, can mean your soil-based crops are smaller or taste worse than you’d expect them to.
Some hydroponic gardeners do use light pesticides to ensure no bugs attack their plants, but many gardeners forego the pesticide step altogether or find organic alternatives. This makes hydroponic crops as healthy as crops grown in soil, if not healthier. The fruits and vegetables may grow larger and taste better, too, if the grower has perfected the art of balancing their nutrients.
If you’re interested in learning how to garden greener and create a thriving water-based garden, FloraFlex has beginner-friendly kits, information on nutrients, and a community of experienced growers to help you get started. Begin your new gardening hobby today and join the FloraFlex family!