What does it mean to farm without soil?
In the world of agriculture, soil-less farming is a game-changing invention, also known as hydroponics. The hydroponics, Hydroponics is a way of growing plants without soil in nutrient-rich mineral solutions. In comparison to traditional soil-based farming, soil-less farming requires less space, has a better rate of plant development, is more environmentally friendly, and uses less water. According to the research, soil-less agriculture can dramatically improve agricultural yields, potentially by more than tenfold. Smart farms utilize 90 percent less water than traditional farming methods.
What are they and how do they work?
- Deepwater culture system (DWC) or Reservoir method-
DWC is a hydroponics method of growing plants that keeps their roots alive in a well-oxygenated solution consisting of nutrients and water. This method involves filling a rectangular tank less than one foot deep with a nutrient-rich solution and floating plants on top of Styrofoam boards. Because the plant receives an abundance of everything it needs to flourish, deep water cultivation is extremely effective. The combination of nutritious water and oxygen causes the root system of the plant to burst and grow into a massive mass.
- Wick System-
A wick system is a hydroponic growth setup that makes use of a wick, which is a soft cloth thread. A cotton or nylon wick absorbs water and nutrients from a solution and delivers them to plants in pots or trays in a wick system. This makes them simpler and less expensive to operate than active systems like Ebb and Flow, but they also have the disadvantage of being less efficient and unsuited to high-maintenance plants or huge plants that need a lot of water. Fast-growing lettuces or herbs are the finest plants to utilize in this arrangement.
Aeroponics is a method of cultivating plants without the need for soil in an air or mist environment or spraying the roots with hydroponic solutions suspended in the air. It does not rely on soil or aggregate medium to function. In this technique, nutrient supply is exceedingly accurate, and roots receive plenty of oxygen, allowing for rapid growth. Because relatively small holes are used for spraying, this system is prone to clogging. The most significant advantage of aeroponics is that roots are exposed to air, ensuring that there is never a shortage of oxygen. High initial building costs, high system maintenance expenses, and a high level of technical understanding are all negatives.
- Nutrient Film Technique
NFT, or Nutrient Film Technique is a popular and adaptable hydroponics technique. The technique uses a pump to feed fertilized water to the grow tray and a drain pipe to recycle the unused nutrient solution, similar to Ebb and Flow. The distinction is that with NFT, the nutrient solution flows over the roots continually.
Hydroponics vs. Field Farming: Advantages-
- Space-saving technique-
One of the most noticeable benefits of choosing hydroponic gardening as your primary technique of farming is the ability to conserve space. When plants are grown in soil, their roots spread out to find the water and nutrients they need to survive. Hydroponic systems, on the other hand, do not require nearly as much area because the water in which the plants are grown already contains nutrients.
- Conserve more water-
When you use hydroponic farming, you will also be able to conserve a significant amount of water because hydroponic systems can effectively recirculate water for decreased consumption.
- Less use of chemicals-
Many modern farmers have chosen hydroponic gardening because it allows them to use fewer pesticides than traditional farming methods. Even though insect problems can still arise with hydroponic farming, they are less common, which means you won't need to apply as many herbicides and pesticides.
Healthier Plants with Bigger Yields-
Your plants will grow to be healthier in hydroponic farming than they would in soil farming. Plants will be able to focus their energy on growing rather than searching for sustenance and yield more According to a report published by V.Chandrshekaran, the creator of a hydroponics technology company, the average annual yield of lettuce per acre in soil-based agriculture was 9-10 tones, whereas in hydroponics agriculture it was 300-400 tones.
Hydroponics is progressively gaining traction in India, attracting an increasing number of farmers. The Indian hydroponics market was worth USD 2,624.26 thousand in 2018 and USD 9.5 billion in 2020, according to research; the global hydroponics market is predicted to reach $17.9 billion by 2026, according to research.
According to research, between 2020 and 2027, India's hydroponics market will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 13.53%.
Soil-less farming is opening up new possibilities for feeding the world's growing urban population. Meanwhile, traditional soil-based farming will be insufficient to meet the world's expanding food needs. Consumers in India have embraced hydroponics, and it is quickly catching on in other countries across the world.