Hydroponic plants: farms of the future

Hydroponic Onions being grown in a laboratory. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Gregory Dannenberg

Staff Writer

The population of the world is increasing everyday. This means we need to build more homes, more roads, commercial areas, and increase food production. However, if we add more homes, roads and commercial areas, then we will run out of farm land.

So how do we manage this issue? The answer is hydroponics.

Hydroponics is the process of growing plants in a controlled environment without a need for soil. You might be wondering how this is possible, but the answer is quite simple. Seeds are placed in a growing medium similar to soil and set to germinate. The germination process takes roughly about 12 weeks depending on what you are growing. Once the plants have germinated properly they can be moved to a system where they will be provided nutrients and water.

There are many systems that each serve different purposes, but the most commonly used system is a Nutrient Film Technique, or NFT for short. First, you need a supply of water. The amount of water you need will depend on the size of your system. A water pump is used to get the water to plants, flows down a gutter like system on a slight incline, and is then recycled back into the original container of water. Nutrient solution is added to the water to act like soil in the system and feeds the plants.

There is so much controversy on how we farm these days with the use of pesticides and GMOs. This process is more practical than traditional farming for many reasons.

Most notably, when farming with hydroponics you are doing so in a controlled environment. You can set the temperature just right, there are no insects ruining your products, there is no need for pesticides and herbicides.

Secondly, this can be done anywhere. I mean anywhere. Think of the possibilities of being able to farm anywhere. Large cities of millions of people can be provided fresher food than what they are getting now.

Lastly, farmers will have greater yields. Farmers will get more product because their plants will have little to no disease and no pests ruining their plants.

The controversy on how we grow food should be over. There is no question that hydroponics is the future of how we should be farming.