Thursday, June 18, 2015

Soil / Hydroponics trade-offs

Keep in mind, soil to hydroponics has it's trade offs. What exactly do I mean by this? Well here are some examples: 
  • Going from soil to hydroponics you are trading:
    • Soil born illnesses for water born illnesses 
      • Now you need RO (Reverse Osmosis) or Distilled water to eliminate that issue. 
      • It is cheaper to make your own, but more expensive up front.  
    • Introduction of pests from buying soil, versus introducing pests because they are on you.
      • When buy new soil to switch out your old soil, you can introduce pests via that soil you are placing in your environment. You can also introduce pests bringing outside plants inside, and by you, yourself. You can carry pests inside which will then eat your plants. 
      • With Hydroponics you can only introduce pests from bringing outside plants in, and you, yourself. 
    • In soil plants can die slowly if not properly addressed for pH, and nutrient levels. It is much more forgiving.
      • Hydroponics is not as forgiving. Depending on your setup, you could have days, hours, or minutes to resolve your issues with nutrients, pH,etc. Your plants can die must faster.
    • Soil grown plants take longer to grow overall. 
      • You are reducing the time (again depending on method) substantially. Lots of studies show getting in bigger, better yields in shorter amounts of time. You can also gain additional harvests per year if you have your setup configured correctly. 
    •  Soil grown plants like to take up way more space for their roots. Their roots have to reach, and stretch for nutrients/water/oxygen. 
      • Hydroponics gains a large advantage here. They can be grown in smaller containers, the roots do not have to reach/stretch to get the nutrients//water/oxygen levels they want. They can be smaller, take up less room, etc. 
    • Soil is usually a run to waste setup. You get new water, water your plants, then get new water, etc. Each watering, the plant is only getting a percentage of the water supplied. 
      • Hydroponics, you can recirculate the water, and utilize it, or still do run to waste. You can also take the run to waste/old reservoirs, and run it back through a RO system. You can re-utilize your water, over and over again. 
    • Many options from cheap, to very expensive for different types/mixtures of soil. 
      • Same goes for Hydroponics. Depending on the type of Hydroponics you choose, you can be completely medium-less, to growing in coco coir, and perilite. These range from very expensive, to very cheap. It just depends on your knowledge of the qualities you want in your growing medium, and how thrifty you are. 
    • In soil you mostly do not have to worry about hardware/equipment failure. 
      • With Hydroponics, your plants survive based upon your water/feeding schedules, your air pumps, etc. If you have an equipment failure, you better be able to fix it quickly. 

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