Hydroponics – The New Organic Way of Farming?
What is Organic Farming?
Organic farming is a method of crop and livestock production that involves choosing not to use pesticides, fertilizer, GMOs, antibiotics, and growth hormones. Organic farming is an effort towards promoting more sustainable enterprises while keeping peace with the environment. Organic production is merely a way to work with the environment and maintain the balance of the ecosystem. Rather than farmers using vaccinations and chemical fertilizers, a mixed farming approach is taken in order to use natural preventative measures. An example would be when crops and animals are both farmed at one location, but they’re physically rotated through pastures year to year. This allows for the opportunity to help break up cycles of pests and diseases while at the same time building fertility in the soil. Technically speaking, the definition of organic farming doesn’t require that organic systems must be based in soil. By using watered nutrients rather than soil, plants are taking in only what is necessary for them to grow and thrive, while the rest is left to nature. With a more common transition from farming with soil to using nutrients only in hydroponics, and the word “organic” booming in the farming industry, the question arises- is hydroponic farming really organic?
Overview of Hydroponics
Hydroponic growing is a method of growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. While this definition makes hydroponics seem like just sticking a seed in water, it can be more complex and can be expensive to set up. The way it works is that plants are put into a grow tray where only the roots will be exposed to the water, while the water is continuously circulating. There are many different techniques when it comes to hydroponics, and each technique has a different layout. However, the structure will almost always include a reservoir of nutrient solution, a pump, some type of structure to hold the plants and a plug to hold them in place, and drains. There are many pros to hydroponic farming, with just a few of the main ones listed below:
- The ability to produce higher yields than traditional soil-based agriculture
- Allows food to be grown in areas of the world that’s soil is not sustainable for crops in the soil.
- Eliminates the need for massive pesticide use, resulting in cleaner air, water, soil, food, and atmosphere.
You don’t have to be a master in agriculture to have a general understanding of how it’s effects impact the world. While negative impacts are being brought to light, many farmers have tried to adjust their way of farming to better the environment. Organic farming is a hot topic right now in the agricultural industry, and commercial growers are turning to hydroponics at a rapid rate. Hydroponic research is also being conducted at exponential rates as many new benefits arise from this type of farming. The idea of a new, environmental-friendly farming method is exciting to many farmers since they understand their impact on the world and want to help. Since the definition of organic doesn’t exclude the concept of hydroponics, and it follows all the credentials of what a typical organic farming system would look like, hydroponics can technically be accepted as an organic farming system as long as it follows all guidelines. Using watered nutrients is an awesome replacement to soil and along with its many short-term benefits, it could change the shape of the agriculture industry in the years to come.