This deep-dive is one we’ve been treading water on for a while. So why publish it now? Well, the wide world of ‘ponics’ can sometimes be confusing and misleading, and we thought it high-time that we separate myth from fact and explain the difference between Hydroponics, Aeroponics, and Aquaponics. Let’s dip our toes in…
First up, hydroponics! Hydroponic growing is essentially growing anything without soil. The method is perfect for those who want to increase the efficiency of their growing, reduce growth wastage, and optimize limited space to grow. With Hydroponics, plants grow in nutrient-rich water, allowing the grower to tailor the nutrients precisely to their plant's needs. It's like giving plants a personalized nutrient cocktail (alcohol free, of course)! Fun fact about Hydroponics: they typically grow faster than those grown in soil, so when you grow hydroponically, you’re likely to be enjoying your fresh veggies far quicker than your neighbour next door growing in the ground.
Aeroponics is a more alternative method of strict hydroponic growing. Aeroponics grows plants in a mist environment (rather than having plants growing directly in a submerged water environment). With Aeroponics, plants suspend in the air and are regularly misted with a nutrient solution, making it a fun and unique way to grow your plants. This method is great when the goal is to maximize plant growth by providing oxygen and nutrients directly to the roots. With that being said, Aeroponics works particularly well growing leafy greens.
Last but not least, we have Aquaponics, which is the ultimate closed-loop system for growing plants. This method combines aquaculture (essentially, raising and maintaining fish) and Hydroponics (see above, friend) to create a closed-loop system where fish provide the plants with nutrients, and the plants filter the water for the fish. It's a win-win situation where the return is both fresh fish and organic veggies! Though (often much) more work is required with Aquaponics, the payoff is often greater, and that’s to say nothing for the complete self-reliance of the system.
So, which method is right for you? It depends on your lifestyle and preferences. If you want something that’s simple and straightforward, with high degrees of control and variance, Hydroponics might is the way to go. If you're looking for something a little more unique and novel, with the added benefits of speed and less mess, try Aeroponics. And if you want a self-sustaining system that provides fresh fish and organic veggies, Aquaponics is the way to go.
Whether you grow hydroponically, aeroponically, or aquaponically, these soil-free methods of gardening offer exciting and sustainable ways to grow plants. They're perfect for those who want to experiment with new and innovative gardening techniques and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Their environmental impact in relation to soil degradation and overall footprint are also far smaller. So, put on your gardening gloves, grab your watering can, and get ready to grow some (soilless) plants!