Hydroponics is a technique of growing plants without soil. Fruits and vegetables grown under hydroponics systems are fed with all essential nutrients required for growth without exposing to harmful toxins, pesticides, and pathogens that present in the soil. In this method of cultivation, plants roots are suspended in an aggregate material and fed by a liquid nutrient solution. You can grow hydroponic plants according to your feasibility such as outdoor, in green house, or even indoors by using grow lights. In this process of hydroponic growing, you need to place your plants in growing media such as rockwool, clay pellets, foam, gravel, peat, coconut fibres and then fed with a nutrient solution to make them grow. There are different types of hydroponic systems such as flood and drain, drip system, nutrient film technique, wick system, and aeroponics. Each of the hydroponics growing systems has its own way of supporting the plants. In hydroponic gardening you can get the following key inputs:
- The growth rate of a hydroponic plant is 30-50 percent faster than a soil plant, grown under the same conditions.
- The extra oxygen in the hydroponic growing mediums helps to stimulate growth of the root.
- Since hydroponic gardening requires less space, you can start growing your favorite fruits and vegetables anywhere at your home.
- In this type of gardening as long as the plant has something to hold it in place with plenty of natural or artificial light and good water supply, it will flourish nicely.
- This method of gardening offers significant reduction of soil pests and diseases so there is no use of pesticides or insecticides.
- As a hydroponic grower you can easily grow plants in an ideal environment by adjusting the correct temperature, nutrient level, pH, and humidity level of grow area.
- As long as you maintain the proper light, temperature, nutrients, and humidity level in your garden you can grow your plants throughout the year irrespective of climatic conditions.
On the other hand, unlike hydroponic gardening, plantation agriculture is an export oriented commercial tropical agricultural systems. The key features of plantation agriculture that differ from hydroponics are:
- Plantation agriculture is usually used to describe a labor intensive farm where only cheap labor is required.
- In plantation agriculture you need to have appropriate climatic conditions that are suitable for crops.
- Unlike hydroponics system, for plantation agriculture you need a large area of land.
- Since plantation agriculture needs huge number of workers for plant care, it creates more job opportunities for the local people.
- For plantation agriculture, area of land used must be fertile.
- Use of pesticides or insecticides is must in plantation agriculture.
However, some features are there for hydroponics and plantation agriculture which are similar to each other. Both hydroponic systems and plantation agriculture require proper research and development to improve yields.