A hydroponic garden can be a great way to cut down on food expenses. It may not be as expensive as you think to get a backyard hydroponic garden going, and the garden can produce healthy and robust organic produce year-round. Hydroponic gardens are one of the best ways to save money on food and have an amazing experience at the same time.
Cost and Productivity of a Hydroponic Garden
Most people garden as a hobby and are not overly concerned about how much money gardening might save them. When saving money on food is a primary concern, then the costs of setup and maintenance and the productivity of the garden are something that must be carefully considered. While hydroponic gardens may be slightly more expensive up front, they greatly save in costs over the long-term. They are also easier to maintain.
While it may seem counter-intuitive, plants actually grow much better without soil. A plant’s growth and productivity is dependent primarily on the strength and size of the plant’s root system. If roots are crowded and cannot find proper nutrients easily, then the plant’s health suffers. By contrast if the roots are allowed to grow large and free and are easily able to find nutrients, then the plant benefits.
Soil serves the plant by providing stability, but in most other ways it is nothing but an impediment to plant growth and root health. In soil, the plant’s roots are forced to expend a great deal of time and energy burrowing through the soil in search of nutrients. The roots must then laboriously extract these nutrients from the soil. Soil also tends to impede the flow vital oxygen to the roots, which is why soil needs to be often turned and aerated.
Eliminating the soil frees the roots to grow fully and rapidly, so more of the plant’s energy can be concentrated up top. The roots are also able to extract nutrients and oxygen much more efficiently from the water. All of this serves to accelerate the plant’s growth and make it more productive. A more productive garden means more food for less cost.
A hydroponic garden needs in general less maintenance and care than a traditional garden, and creating one may not be as expensive as it seems. Hydroponic gardens actually need less water than traditional gardens, but they may slightly increase electricity expense because of pumps and grow lights. These costs are generally offset by increased productivity and less need for soil care, maintenance and pesticides.
How Hydroponics Saves Money on Food
Organic food can be very expensive. It is often beneficial to grow your own organic food at home. A hydroponic garden can be a completely organic process. The fertilizers used may be naturally sourced. Hydroponic plants are also much less prone to diseases and pests compared to other plants. This reduces the cost of the garden overall and allows for truly organic food.
The ability to grow food year-round is an important part of cutting food costs. Most traditional gardens serve their owners in the summer and fall, but they are forced back to the grocery store during the winter months and before the first spring crop is ready to harvest. A hydroponic garden is not bound by the traditional summer-winter harvest cycle. Plants grow continuously year round, and since they grow more rapidly, a gardener can expect multiple harvests per year. They may also be able to stagger the plant growth so that fresh produce is always available. This level of control and continuous growing is not possible with other gardening methods. It is the key to providing affordable fresh organic produce year-round, which will dramatically reduce food expenses.
Considering the many advantages hydroponic conditions have on plants, it’s no surprise that hydroponic plants grown at home may actually be healthier than even the expensive organic produce in stores. Fruits and vegetables rapidly begin to deteriorate once they are picked, so no store bought produce is a good as freshly picked from the backyard. Even produce labelled as organic can sometimes be accidentally contaminated by non-organic produce during storage, handling and shipping. The only way to be sure that the produce is clean is to grow it and pick it from your own garden.
A hydroponic garden is a great way to save money on food overall. It provides fresh, healthy and organic produce at a fraction of the cost of store-bought and it provides these benefits year round. Hydroponic gardening can be fun, interesting and less of a hassle than traditional gardening for even better results.