Hydroponic gardening became very famous recently. In this article we are describing the importance of hydroponics as a way to grow some nature in the city, without looking into the technicality of hydroponics. If you are looking into more technical information, try this article!
Let’s start with the main advantages of hydroponics for urban gardening:
- It’s easy and “clean”
- Plants are thriving using a small amount of water
- It requires small space
- It can be done indoors (even without sunlight!)
- It improves wellbeing by reconnecting urban citizen with nature
Looking a bit more into details, the word hydroponic literally means “water culture” and refers to cultivation of plants without the use of soil. In traditional agriculture soil provides support and nutrients to the plants. In hydroponic cultivation seeds are placed in a support, such as peat, stone wool (rock wool) or expanded clay, while the nutrients are provided by water-soluble nutrients dissolved in the water used for irrigation. This means that using hydroponics it is easy to make sure that the plants get all the nutrients they need, which is not always the case with soil. We can say hydroponic plants are having a SPA treatment that allows them to relax and thrive. The presence of nutrients in the irrigation water also results in plants with smaller roots compared to soil plants, which allows to grow them closer to each other.
The lack of soil and the possibility to grow plants in smaller spaces makes hydroponics ideal for the urban environment! The lack of soil also makes hydroponics gardening cleaner and reduce the need of herbicide and pesticide. In addition the irrigation can be programmed, making the gardening possible also in the busy city-lifestyle.
Hydroponics systems can be used outdoors in balconies and rooftops, where they can be combined with pots and containers. In these cases it is possible to assemble the hydroponic system in a vertical garden, optimizing the space and getting more from a small space. It is important also to pay attention to the sunlight available and choose the correct plants.
Hydroponics systems can be used also indoor, using sunlight only or with the support of artificial light. When hydroponics systems are combined with artificial light, they can be used anywhere, even in the smaller flat, in the center of a concrete city! There are several options for DIY hydroponics systems, or ready made design solutions, easy to use for everyone and looking beautiful in an urban environment. Our Plantui system is the latter. It´s a compact indoor garden with rewarded look, high quality artificial sun, and a possibility to grow small number of plants effortless: herbs, salads, microgreen and even little fruit plants like tomato and chilies. Plantui’s round garden will upgrade any home and make a talking point for a dinner!
Vertical hydroponic gardens have become very popular in recent times. They are so popular that Pebble wrote an article listing 10 guides for urban gardening. Urban gardens not only create a beautiful atmosphere, but they also have economic, physiological, and environmental benefits.
Rooftop gardens are often built as community gardens with the benefit of creating a sense of participation and increasing environmental awareness. They guarantee the consumption of local-grown food, free of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, and consequently reduce the production of waste and pollution. Hydroponic systems also use much less (up to 80% less) water than traditional agriculture. Moreover, when they are big enough they bring relief to the building and the city, for instance reducing the changes in temperature and the noise inside the building, and improving local air quality.
Small indoor gardens also offer several benefits for their urban gardener! With a small indoor garden it is not really possible to become fully food sufficient, but a city gardener could become herbs or chili sufficient. Growing some of your herbs and veggies is satisfactory and contributes to reducing pollution, just thinking about how much plastic usually comes with small packages of fresh basil or spicy chilly. It´s a small environmental benefit from one person, but it become more and more significant when many people do it. Similarly the reduction in water used is limited but significant when it happens in each household. Moreover plants have a calming effect on humans, they ease stress and possess mood-boosting abilities: just imagine coming home from a boring office day and spotting the first colorfull chili in your garden! A little indoor garden helps to restore the connection with nature which is often lost in cities and purifies the indoor air.
All in all indoor hydroponics gardens are beautiful, entertaining and healthy. A must to try for a conscious urban citizen!