You may have avoided switching to a hydroponics system in your grow space because you assume it’s expensive, technical, and risky. Are there any real benefits of hydroponics that outweigh the disadvantages?
No matter what your friends have told you, hydroponics is simple enough for beginners, cheap enough for any budget, and no riskier than any other technique.
Don’t believe us? Let’s look at these assumed disadvantages of hydroponics to put these commonly held misconceptions to the test.
7 Common Myths About Growing Hydroponically
With so many myths about soilless growing, it’s time to set the record straight. When done right, you’ll produce better yields more efficiently and with no more technical know-how than you’d need for a successful conventional system.
Myth #1: Hydroponics Is Too Technical for Beginners
Part of the reason why hydroponic cultivation seems instantly too complicated is that it upends the conventional method of gardening. We all learn about growing plants outside in soil, so growing inside with no soil feels more challenging from the get-go.
Yes, some hydroponic systems can become intensely technical —but they aren’t all that way.
For example, a Bubble Bucket is a single plant system that simplifies the process. It literally is a single system contained in a single bucket.
Start with one Bubble Bucket, master the basics, then start adopting more technical aspects of hydroponic cultivation to improve your yield.
Myth #2: Hydroponics Will Fail and Destroy Your House
We’ve all heard horror stories. A friend of a friend left on vacation, and their hydroponic system backfired. They returned to a flooded basement and a disaster to clean up. This story has played out before, but it’s a risk that you can easily mitigate.
First, you should always test your system for leaks as you set it up. Then, let it run for several days before you introduce plants — and while you are home.
Second, you should set up all the buckets and the reservoir within a waterproof catch-basin. Most grow tents are already set up with this. Should the system fail, the basin will ensure that the nutrient solution doesn’t flood across your floor.
Myth #3: You Need Massive Investment to Set up a Hydroponics System
This is a categorically wrong assumption. The most accessible deep water culture (DWC) systems are some of the most affordable.
Need a real-world example? A one-bucket DWC system from HydroGuide is under $50, and for $199, you can upgrade to a four-plant system.
And, in case this wasn’t clear, these systems last for years. Even the clay growing medium can be sterilized and reused over and over again. If you are doing the math, that’s one investment, years of harvests.
Need more proof? As one study noted, “The soil system had a lower cost, but used 30% more water compared to the hydroponic system”. The authors also looked at labor costs, “Soil-grown produce is more often cited for having increased labor costs because of weeding, watering, and spraying of pesticides.”
Another hydroponic benefit? You save money on nutrients. Hydroponics systems use nutrients more efficiently than soil-based methods.
Myth #4: You Can’t Grow Organically
Once again, this is a big myth about hydroponics. You can grow under whatever methodology you connect to, whether it’s synthetic fertilizers or completely organic. In this way, hydroponic systems are similar to soil-based systems.
There are dozens of options for organic hydroponic growing, including Biocanna’s line of organic nutrients. These nutrients are made from fermented plant material, which means they come from all-natural sources.
Just like synthetics, Biocanna organic nutrients deliver the nutrients and minerals your plants need, but in a format that works for hydroponics systems.
Another added benefit of hydroponic systems is that you likely use little to no pesticides — even the organically accepted ones. This is because, with proper sanitization and sterilization techniques, your grow room is at a much lower risk of pest infestation.
Myth #5: Hydroponic Systems Encourage Pests and Disease
One of the biggest benefits of hydroponics is that the system gives you, complete control over the environment. So instead of battling the pests and diseases that exist naturally in the great outdoors, it’s possible to eliminate these risks within your indoor system.
If you practice the fundamentals of a clean grow room, like sterilizing equipment, clone quarantines, and basic sanitation methods, you can instantly reduce the risk. However, you’ll also want to keep temperature and humidity levels in mind, which can play into pathogenic risk.
Still, don’t let your guard down. One of the disadvantages of hydroponics is that if pests and disease infiltrate your space, they can wreak havoc. A problem can quickly escalate in an indoor environment. Daily monitoring is a vital way to prevent total disaster.
Myth #6: You Can Never Take a Vacation
Not true! While we might not recommend heading off to Mexico during the first few rounds, once you have an established schedule and a little practice, there is no reason why you can take a vacation.
First, you’ll need to ensure your system is leakproof and contained within the catch basin. Then, you’ll also want to schedule around your nutrient solution upkeep.
In the age of increasing connectivity, and a growing number of IoT devices, there are also several grow room controllers, which allow you to remotely monitor indoor conditions like temperature, humidity, and more.
Myth #7: Your Plants Will Suffer Without Sun and Soil
Interestingly, one study comparing hydroponics with soil-based systems for strawberries determined, “Hydroponic plants had a higher survival rate at 80% compared to the soil-grown strawberries, which survived less than 50%.”
In addition, cannabis cultivators find that instead of suffering from a lack of sunlight and rooting in the soil, cannabis tends to flourish.
If you get the nutrients and the environment right, you can potentially harvest pounds of flower per plant in a hydroponic system. In a side-by-side comparison, hydroponics produces more grams per plant than soil.
Myths Buster: Hydroponics is Affordable, Accessible, and Safe
The benefits of hydroponics clearly outweigh any of the disadvantages. With the right approach and a bit of research, even a total beginner can set up a simple hydroponics system and get growing indoors.