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16 January 2019

Who uses Hydroponics?

In 2001 it was estimated that 1% of the world's food is grown using hydroponics.  Most commercial crops of tomatoes and many other greenhouse crops are grown hydroponically.  Commercial growers use hydroponics because it gives bigger crops for less work.  With no soil to cultivate there are no weeds and fewer disease and pest problems. There is also less waste of water and nutrients because these are continuously recycled. All these factors help to reduce the costs of growing food crops commercially.

Water conservation makes hydroponics a very important method of agriculture for arid climates, enabling people to grow crops in difficult places like the Middle East, Australia and Africa. It is easy to see that a grower in a part of the world where transport of fertilisers is difficult finds hydroponics a good option.

In space, NASA is able to provide all the nutritional needs of a human being from 30 square metres of growing space and this is the basis of plans for self-sustaining space stations and colonising other planets.  In the Antarctic, research stations provide fresh produce throughout the dark winters using hydroponics with growing lights powered by wind energy.

More recently there has been an increase in hydroponic growing by amateur gardeners, enthusiasts and people looking for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way of growing.  With ever increasing costs of foods many realise not only the financial but health benefits of growing your own produce.  Hydroponic growing makes growing your own produce accessable to anyone whatever space they have available, whether it be a polytunnel, conservatory, windowsill, balcony... 

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