Will we ever be able to live strictly off of the vegetables and fruits that we produce in our own homes using hydroponic farming systems? Find out in this article.
Hydroponics have been around since ancient times, but until the 19th century, they weren’t really put to good use, since they were only used to grow flowers and plants that acted as ornaments. The full potential of hydroponic farming was discovered in Europe in the 1800s, when the first vegetables and fruits were raised in soilless environments. Nowadays, with our perfected techniques and our technologically impressive hydroponic systems, we can grow vegetables and fruit that are not only bigger in size, but also better tasting and more nutritious. But can you really use hydroponic farming to save you those trips to the grocery shop and grow all your needed food inside your home? Let’s see…
Although most people turn to hydroponic farming as a hobby in the first place and only secondly for a source of fresh food, it’s definitely not impossible to live off just by what you grow in your hydroponic systems. Think about the advantages that hydroponic farming offers in comparison to soil-based farming:
- Speed – because the plants’ roots are well oxygenized in a hydroponics system and because the plants themselves are never lacking nutritious substances, they will grow extremely fast in comparison to their soil-based counterparts.
- No Season – when you’re growing vegetables and fruits inside your home or in a greenhouse, there’s really no season for them, as the plants won’t mind if it’s blistering cold outside, as long as you provide them the temperature, humidity and light levels they require. This way, using hydroponic farming, you can grow plants like strawberries (who are usually grown during the summer) in December.
- Size – plants grown in a hydroponic farming system are larger, thus provide more food
- Nutrition – again, by providing better nutrition values, vegetables and fruits grown using hydroponic farming will keep you well fed for a longer time and they’ll also keep you healthy in the meantime.
Obviously, all these advantages come at a cost and it’s these costs that we need to try to eliminate before hydroponic farming truly becomes a viable solution as a daily food source. These costs are…well, financial costs and space (which again, will depend on the financial status). If you’re planning on buying a full hydroponic system to grow, let’s say 20 plants at the same time, you will probably have to spend around $600-700, give or take a couple hundred, depending on the quality of the product and whether or not you can provide some natural lighting and thus skip some of the more expensive hydroponic light systems on the market.
And still, you’re only growing 20 plants…let’s say they’re eggplants. Even if you manage to grow them in a couple of months time, 20 eggplants will only keep you fed for maybe 2-3 weeks or so. And besides, you need variety in your food, so you’ll need another system for growing 20 tomatoes, another one for 20 cucumbers and so forth. All in all, you could end up spending quite a hefty amount on your hydroponic farming systems if you’re planning on living only on what you produce yourself.
Room is equally important, as plants will grow taller and wider with each week, making them impossible to fit in the place you initially thought of for your hydroponic farming system. Having a greenhouse would fix this problem, but let’s face it, how many of us have the space and money to get a greenhouse up and running, just for a couple of hydroponic systems?
All of this requires some serious thought and planning, so it’s a great idea to start small to get acquainted with all the variables involved.