Green living: Save Our Earth By Living Green

Alternative Ways to Grow Plants in Poor Weather

It will be hard to forget the winter of 2010 in the UK, with regular snow, ice and freezing temperatures a daily feature of the weather forecast. If climate change experts are right this could be the future, which would mean a rethink for anyone who has a business or hobby based on growing plants, fruit and vegetables. Given the harsh conditions, even those gardeners committed to growing in soil might be willing to look again at the possibility of water, which as a method has been around for thousands of years.

Home hydroponic 447x269
Photo: homehydrosystems.com

The word ‘ponics’ originates in Ancient Greece and translates as ‘grow’. The word ‘hydro’ more obviously means water. By adding a mineral nutrient solution to water, you can create a year-round, sustainable growing environment for plants. Better still, the water and solution mix contain all a plant needs to grow, so the soil becomes redundant and this means almost any plant can be grown using hydroponics.

Growing anywhere is part of the appeal and so is the reduction in pests due to the lack of soil, although the primary reason to explore hydroponics is usually to increase the crop and decrease the harvest time.

Organic growers see the benefits

Initially, hydroponics was not widely adopted by organic growers, but this has changed. Having examined the evidence and realised the possibilities, organic growers are beginning to switch to hydroponics where their products can still pass the rigorous criteria required to claim their organic status.

It isn’t just businesses that have hydroponics in mind, keen gardeners are now looking at how they can explore the value of their “Hydrohobby”.

Space to grow

What’s good for an indoor gardener it seems is also good for astronauts; scientists from NASA are exploring the impact of CO2, light and temperature on plant growth. Why? Well, research shows that astronauts on space missions benefit from various forms of life support and providing a source of bio-regeneration in the form of growing plants in a soil-less, controlled environment is good for their well-being and also provides the obvious benefit of fresh food.

Another problem with the traditional methods of growing plant-based foods is finding sufficient room to grow crops. This is a feature in hydroponics’ increasing popularity. The method means that rooftops, basements and underground facilities are suddenly an option; in theory, hydroponic urban farms can be cultivated over several stories.

With the ability to recycle and reuse water, hydroponic systems have the surprising benefit of saving water, which along with finding room to grow is another concern for growers and environmentalists alike.

As the human population continues to increase, ever more creative farming methods will be sought and hydroponics provides a viable solution to the space and consistency issues that growers continually face.

In the future, perhaps we could even see plants grown wherever they are required by using hydroponics systems, thereby reducing the impact on the environment from unnecessary transport.

Pin It

You might also like;

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.