Urban Farm Shop In Leeds

educational

Why do we grow with hydroponics

• We can produce higher yields than in traditional, soil-based agriculture

•It allows food to be grown and consumed in areas of the world that cannot support crops in the soil

• It eliminates the need for massive pesticide use (considering most pests live in the soil), effectively making our air, water, soil, and food cleaner

•Our products are pesticide-free through biological pest control

• Nutrient solutions may be recycled or reused in other areas such as potted plants and turf management

• Growing mediums are fully compostable, so we can use them on our allotment

• Depending on the type of Hydroponics used, it may require less space, therefore, allowing for a high density of plants in the same area. To achieve a reduction in farming footprint, we use a vertical layout.

• Non-arable land may easily be facilitated – we grow in the car park!

• Closed recirculation systems allow us control of the nutrient solutions and, therefore, exactly what nutrients the plants receive.

• Varying nutrient formulas suit different plants at different stages of growth.

• Regular nutrient testing ensures all elements are present in their desired concentrations. Unwanted build-ups of undesirable nutrient concentrations, such as nitrates, as well as fertiliser run-off are avoided.

• Control over environmental factors translates to a nutritionally superior, vegetable product.

•Eliminates consumption of artificial ripening agents and pesticides used on imported produce.

• Tastes superior and much healthier than its soil counterparts and it’s clean!

Documented advantages of hydroponic growing versus traditional farming methods

• Empirical International research evidences the advantages of hydroponic growing over standard farming methods – from the health of our bodies to the health of the environment.

• Hydroponics eliminates soil and soil-borne pests and disease, so there is no requirement to use large levels of pesticides. This in turn reduces soil erosion as well as air and water pollution. Pesticides from traditional soil-based agriculture runoff into rivers and streams, harming aquatic populations. Reducing pollution is vital to protecting plants and animals indigenous to areas near farms. Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a very common method of insect pest and disease control in hydroponics. IPM is a plan that growers use to carefully monitor pest populations and uses biological controls and food standards agency-approved methods of pest control. Biological controls include the release of beneficial insects such as ladybugs or lacewing larvae to predate on pests like aphids or whiteflies.

• Conservation and sustainability are a big part of hydroponic growing. Hydroponic nutrient solutions are recycled in recirculating systems and can be reused in other garden areas such as potted plants or lawn areas. Many types of growing media can be sterilized and reused in the hydroponic system. Inert media, such as coconut coir, perlite, and Growstones are designed for excellent water absorption as well as air circulation, so they can also be reused again in potted plants or soil gardens. Reusing and recycling these products reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

• Hydroponics gives hope for food production to areas of the world with poor or infertile soil. This provides populations of people in these areas access to healthy produce. The vegetables grown in these areas, and other places with hydroponic systems, are fresh, delicious, and full of flavour – even more so than their soil counterparts. Hydroponics empowers communities that would otherwise not have access to fresh and delicious food.

• From a scientific perspective, hydroponics is the way to go. Closed recirculating systems allow for complete control over the nutrient solution, so growers know exactly what nutrients their plants receive. Various nutrient formulas are designed specifically to suit different types of plants at different growth stages. Growers can choose the nutrients based on the crop they are growing and tweak the formula for the vegetative stage or the flowering stage. This leads to higher yields than traditional soil-based agriculture. Healthy plants are naturally more pest-resistant than unhealthy plants or plants that don’t receive optimum nutrition. Also, nutrient meters can be used to regularly test the nutrient concentration. Tests allow growers to add elements when they see a sign of nutrient deficiency. This ensures that all elements are present in their desired concentrations, allowing for optimum growing conditions that are tailored to each plant’s specific needs.

• Items that are not present in hydroponically grown produce are just as important to note as items that are present. The elimination of soil means that unwanted build-ups of undesirable concentrations of nutrients can be evaded. Nutrient toxicity is just as important to crops as nutrient deficiency, and both can be easily avoided with hydroponics.

•Food grown close to the point of distribution reduces transportation costs as well as fossil fuel usage. Avoiding imported produce means the consumer doesn’t ingest artificial ripening agents or pesticides. This is important to protecting our health and preserving the natural flavour of produce. Vertical systems require less space, which allows for a very high density of plants in one area. By not taking up so much space, growers have the freedom to do what they wish if they have unused land. More produce can be grown, or they can use their land for other purposes. Growing more food in a small space may even mean that land can be reverted to its natural state.

• Hydroponics also reduces the impact of environmental factors and our carbon footprint. This translates to the ability to grow superior vegetables all year round!