Decreasing the amount of water that is used during the irrigation of crops is a top priority for governments and farmers around the world, reducing the 70% of water used for this practice will help to solve many of the globe’s water challenges today. Hydroponics (meaning literally ‘working water’) is a way of growing almost any crop that uses no soil, and most importantly very little water.
Hydroponic systems use a small pump to provide the plant with water straight to the root, and the clever design allows any excess water to be caught in an ‘overflow reservoir’ and re used to water other plants in the same system. Soil is replaced with a nutrient filled solution which means the plant doesn’t waste time searching for nutrients.
The result is a plant with a smaller root system and a greater flowering potential with an increased yield and a nutritious crop.
The beauty of Hydroponic systems is they can be grown in any weather conditions and virtually anywhere whether it be indoors, outdoors or in a greenhouse. Some systems have been designed to use up to 10 times less water than traditional growing methods. Due to soil not being used, plants can be placed closer together which reduces the space needed to grow the same amount of crop.
Hydroponic systems aren’t new, they have been used for hundreds of years however now could be the time to start implementing this technology further. For more information visit Achiltibuie Garden, they specialise in hydroponics and use solar panels to power the water pumps, therefore creating a fully sustainable growing system with minimal waste, and requiring much less water. More and more they are being used on a larger scale, some large enough to replace full farms of produce with much less space and water.
See the make-up of some basic hydroponic systems here.
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