Aeroponics, Hydroponics, and Aquaponics – these are all fairly newer and more popular ways of growing plants. This is largely due to the fact that these systems require less space and actual arable land than actual gardening. This has led to more people being able to grow their own plants, even within a smaller amount of space. But what exactly is Aeroponics? Is it better than Hydroponics or Aquaponics? Is it worse? In this article, we will be discussing exactly what Aeroponic Systems are and their advantages and disadvantages.
What is Aeroponics?
Aeroponics is fairly new to gardening. It’s a technology that was invented in the 1940s. It isn’t completely new and fangled but in the realm of gardening and farming, this has been a complete revolution for things. The main advantage of Aeroponics is that it’s completely soil or medium free. Actual land and soil aren’t needed for you to grow plants.
Unlike Hydroponics or Aquaponics, Aeroponic systems don’t require or have you placing your plants within any sort of medium at all. Instead, their roots are suspended within the air, and nutrients and water are delivered to your plants through a fine mist.
In a standard Aeroponic System, plants are usually placed above or on top of a reservoir. And all of this is contained within a securely and tightly sealed enclosure or container. Within this container, there is a pump and sprinkler system and this is where the mist is funneled and sprayed through. The mist typically contains nutrients that the plant will need – this includes water, fertilizer, and other necessary substances. The sprinkler and pump system allows for the mist to surround and engulf the roots and this is how the nutrients and water are taken into the plant.
Advantages of Aeroponics
1. Fast Growth
One of the best advantages of Aeroponics is that plants grow quickly in such systems. They thrive and are able to produce great harvests. This is largely due to the fact that they are suspended in midair and thus, their roots have constant access to oxygen. The plants grown are also much stronger and healthier due to this oxygen richness too.
2. Easy Maintenance
Compared to traditional farming, Aeroponics is much easier to maintain. There is no weeding or removal of pests needed. Everything can be directly maintained by providing the right amount of nutrients in the mist solution. Aside from that, there’s just basic disinfecting and cleaning needed for your system. In particular, the container used to contain the roots needs regular cleaning. The reservoir where the nutrient solution is stored and the irrigation channels of the system should also be cleaned too. This is to ensure that bacterial and fungal growth does not occur. This is especially possible due to the fact that the entire environment is constantly kept moist. However, at the end of the day, this is still much easier than traditional gardening.
3. Fewer Materials Used
Another great advantage of Aeroponics is that it requires much lesser materials. This is because the plant is able to absorb nutrients and water much more efficiently than other gardening methods. Therefore, less fertilizer, nutrients, and water need to be supplied to the plant. In Aeroponic systems, plants also grow more roots and this further enhances their absorption ability. As such, fewer materials are needed to allow your plants to thrive.
4. Less Space Needed
Lastly and one of the best advantages for Aeroponics is the fact that it requires much less space than traditional methods. Some Aeroponic systems allow for stacking and this greatly reduces the space needed. And you can easily rig up such a system for yourself if space is an extreme constraint for you. This is a great advantage because it opens gardening up to people who might previously not be able to due to space constraints.
1. Highly Dependent On Technology
Whilst the technology of Aeroponics allows for the system to require little maintenance, it also has an underlying disadvantage of being far too dependent on technology. By this, I mean that if any component of the system were to fail or break, it would be completely useless. For example, the system is highly dependent on the high-pressure pumps, sprinklers, and timers within it. If it breaks, nutrients will stop being delivered to your plants. In time, your plants might wilt and die. However, you might not even realize that the system is broken until it happens. And when that happens, you would not be able to save your plants. In this circumstance, you would lose all the plants in that container and this can be a hard blow to your harvest.
2. Research and Understanding Is Needed
Aeroponics is also not for everyone. An Aeroponic System is one that requires a certain technical understanding and ability. You’d have to be able to set up and run the Aeroponic System and also be able to create the perfect nutrient solution for your plants. This is highly crucial because your plant will wholly absorb all the nutrients in your solution. Therefore, if the solution is unbalanced or has the wrong nutrients, your plants could be killed.
Aeroponics is also highly costly and not available to everyone. A basic Aeroponics setup would cost hundreds of dollars at least. This is not ideal for some, especially if they intend to build several systems for their home.
Aeroponics is an increasingly popular way of growing plants within a limited space. It has many advantages as it saves space and yet, allows for bountiful and quick growth of plants. Once understood and set up, the running and maintenance of the system are easy. However, to a beginner, it could be highly confusing and difficult. With the amount of money needed to be invested in it, this could prove to be highly costly as beginners may fail several times at first. However, with research and planning, it still is a great avenue for gardening. It is also highly beneficial as it could help households become more sustainable by growing their own plants. Therefore, if you are able to, Aeroponics is a great gardening method to try out.