Hydroponics are Helping Home Gardens Bloom

Water-based growing systems can be set up in space-saving ways, making them a perfect fit for apartments and smaller homes.

Plants growing in water-based hydroponic systems

(Dobby Studio – Shutterstock.com)

As the pandemic has meant more time at home for millions of people around the world, interest in at-home arts, such as crafting and baking, has spiked. Gardening has proved to be an especially popular new hobby, with a YouGov survey finding that nearly 20 percent of Americans have recently gotten into greenery.

During challenging times, gardening may be a helpful practice for many people. A 2017 meta-analysis published in Preventive Medicine Reports found that gardening is positively correlated with a reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms. But not everyone has access to the space and soil necessary for a traditional garden. For apartment dwellers and others with limited outdoor space, hydroponics systems are a welcome solution. 

Hydroponics is a horticulture technique in which plants are grown using water-based, nutrient rich system using sand, gravel or liquid, rather than soil. The word hydroponics is derived from Ancient Greek: hydro (water) and ponos (labor). The idea behind this practice is to remove as many barriers as possible between a plant’s roots and the water, oxygen, and nutrients it needs to thrive.

 
 
 
 
 
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These hydroponics systems can be set up vertically or in space-saving ways, making them an ideal fit for apartments and smaller homes. They often incorporate special LED lighting and automatic hydration systems, ensuring that indoor plants get exactly the right amount of light and water that they need to thrive. 

For those who don’t have agriculture experience, hydroponics can help take the guesswork out of gardening and increase the chances of a successful crop. Jasmine Low, a Singapore resident, told local publication The New Paper that she decided to take up urban farming so that she will always have access to fresh produce. 

Low admitted that she isn’t a natural at gardening, so hydroponics was especially helpful. “I do not have green fingers,” she said. “However, the system has allowed me to grow vegetables for my consumption with ease... it is important to be able to self-produce our vegetables.”

Jim Tay, another Singapore local, had similar motivations for deciding to create a vegetable garden on his apartment balcony. But beyond buying a hydroponics system from a local manufacturer, he also purchased saplings to give his garden a running start. 

“I was worried about the possible [vegetable] supply disruptions,” he told The New Paper. “Thus, I decided to experiment with urban farming despite having no prior experience. Gardening proved to be harder than I thought, and the saplings helped accelerate my efforts.”

Another benefit of the technique is that it’s easier on the planet. According to The Hydroponics Planet, hydroponics use significantly less water than traditional farming. In hydroponics, weeds don’t have a way to grow, meaning that there’s no need for harmful pesticides to be used during the gardening process.

Whether they’re chosen for the pleasure of cultivating an aesthetically pleasing space, or for the more practical goal of growing one’s own fruit and vegetables, hydroponics systems can help novice gardeners reap the benefits of creating a beautiful green space at home. The method is also an excellent solution for those concerned about the environmental impact of a soil-based garden. For people who’d like to explore the world of gardening, hydroponics are a great place to start.

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