Both Hydroponics and Aeroponics are sustainable, water-conservative farming methods, differing only by the medium which is used in the growth of the plants. Hydroponics is the growth of plants using a nutrient-rich solution, instead of water. Aeroponics is the growth of plants using a mist filled with essential nutrients which is regularly sprayed on the roots of the plants. With the increase in the demand of organic farming, these sustainable farming methods are continuously on the rise. However, which of the two farming methods is effective and better? Let us compare and contrast the characteristics and features of Hydroponics vs. Aeroponics to know them better!
The soil-less, water-less gardening method which utilizes a nutrient-rich solution, instead of water, for the growth of plants is called Hydroponics. These solutions are procreated based on the nutrient requirements of each plant species. The primary and secondary nutrients needed for the plants along with the required sunlight and oxygen are provided by a hydroponic system. This enables the plants to grow 50% faster than the plants that grow on soil.
The advantages of hydroponic farming method include 80% lesser consumption of water than traditional farming methods, pesticide-free fresh produce with repeated harvests throughout the year and a very compact gardening space.
Homemade hydroponic systems are cost-effective and can be made from scratch. A variety of hydroponic systems are available which can be easily built at homes or on compact office rooftops. These systems and the ready-to-use nutrient solutions make hydroponics the easily accessible sustainable farming method.
Built from the concept of a hydroponic system, an aeroponic system utilizes nutrient-laden mist to nourish the plants. In an aeroponic farming system, the roots of the plants are left loose so that, when the nutrient-laden mist is sprayed on the roots, the nutrients enter the plant through the root nozzles. The extra exposure to oxygen that these plants get through the roots boosts the growth rate of plants tremendously.
In addition to the increased growth rate, the aeroponic farming systems save up to 95% water compared to the traditional farming system. The garden space required for aeroponic systems is also very small and fit for urban farming. As the process is carried out in an enclosed space, the nutrient-laden mist can be reused. Pesticide-free and fresh harvest can be obtained with very low consumption of water through aeroponic farming systems.
Hydroponics or Aeroponics?
While the concepts of hydroponics and aeroponics are similar, the mechanics of the two systems are quite different. Both the systems are equally sustainable and efficient. The nature and the amount of resources required for both the systems vary.
- Firstly, the water usage of a hydroponic system is relatively higher than an aeroponic system, of course because it uses water. But, the water used in a hydroponic system could be recycled and reused.
- The second important feature is the system maintenance. The setting up, maintenance, cleaning and sanitizing both the hydroponic and aeroponic systems need a hands-on training and experience. However, the aeroponic system is more complex than a hydroponic system.
- Unlike a hydroponic system, which could be homemade using PVC pipes and available raw material, aeroponic systems could not be built easily. It needs a proper system to be fully and effectively functional. This very reason makes aeroponics less cost-effective.
- In both the systems, routine water checks are important. The pH level of the water ought to be maintained, the water reservoirs ought to refilled regularly, nutrient levels ought to be ensured and the water lines ought to be cleaned at regular intervals. The mist flow in an aeroponic system causes more fluctuations in the water levels. Therefore, an aeroponic system needs continuous monitoring.
- Hydroponics contains a variety of systems available and they could be built easily at homes unlike aeroponic systems. Therefore, even beginners could handle a hydroponic system. On the other hand, an aeroponic system needs high level skills to study, operate and maintain it. This very reason has increased the scope and popularity of hydroponics in farmers worldwide.
Hydroponics farming in India is a fast-growing sector which plays an effective role in urban farming. Aeroponics in India is also being established in many cities. With these said, the characteristics of hydroponic and aeroponic systems are juxtaposed. Go ahead and choose your favorite!