Aeroponics vs. hydroponics are two different plant-growing systems that to give farmers a hard time deciding the one that suits their needs. The two farming systems are similar because they don’t require soil for plant growth.
However, they cost differently, and their yields vary. Read on to see more of their differences and the best farming system to incorporate in the next planting season.
|Planting style||Plant roots hung on the underside of grow rack and are sprinkled with nutrients||Plant roots hung above a growing tray filled with a nutrient-rich solution or are submerged|
|Growing medium||No growing medium||Coconut coir, pine bark, perlite, and sand|
|Nutrient spreading method||Misting||Sprinkling|
|Comprises||Misting pipes, a perforated platform, or a tower||Water reservoir, growth tray, a wick|
- What Are The Differences Between Aeroponics And Hydroponics Planting?
- Exploring Aeroponic Systems of Plant Growth
- Exploring The Hydroponic System Of Plant Growth
What Are The Differences Between Aeroponics And Hydroponics Planting?
The main difference between aeroponics and hydroponics is in the planting style. Aeroponics is a planting system where plants receive nutrients to the roots through a mist. On the other hand, plants grown in the hydroponic system are submerged in the nutrient solution and water full-time or intermittently.
There is also a notable difference in plant growth rate for both systems. Crops in the hydroponic system grow faster at first because they can establish their roots quickly. However, plants in the aeroponic growing system struggle to grow their roots because they require a lot of energy, so they have a slower growth rate.
If you would like to choose a budget-friendly growing medium, aeroponic has lower running costs. The system uses less water and saves on fertilizer than the hydroponic one. However, the initial cost of setting up this irrigation system is higher than that of a hydroponic system, which is not as pocket friendly, since most money is spent on buying and installing the many pumps and their maintenance costs.
Regarding yield comparison, the method you decide depends on what you plant. Because aeroponics produces bigger plants, it doesn’t necessarily mean higher yields. Therefore, it is a perfect system for growing leafy greens like lettuce and spinach, which become ready for harvest within six weeks of planting.
They also differ in the growing style techniques; since the plants sit in a nutrient medium throughout the hydroponic system, you need a pump that supplies enough nutrient solution. However, the aeroponic system requires higher quality pumps with the correct pressure to spray the nutrient solution to plant roots.
Exploring Aeroponic Systems of Plant Growth
Aeroponic systems of plant growth are grown where plants are grown in vertical racks, and easy-to-digest organic nutrients are added to a water reservoir. The plant’s leaves emerge to absorb sunlight from the topside of the stand. Roots hang on the underside to receive a nutrient-rich mist for growth.
Moreover, you must also consider how this style of growing has a unique setup that requires a few components to plant healthy roots. As a farmer, you must also understand how the aeroponics setup works because a failure of an element can cause fast plant death. After all, the crops are not covered in soil.
This growing system ensures sufficient nutrient absorption while reducing stress in plants. The two types of aeroponic systems are horizontal and vertical aeroponic towers. Most farmers prefer the aeroponic tower system because it saves space and allows roots to spread well. This aeroponic form is in two forms; the high-pressure and low-pressure systems as they grow plants.
The high-pressure aeroponics delivers mist in high pressure, thanks to their high-pressure pumps. The systems are more expensive because of the quality of the pumps, and most farmers use them to grow more valuable plants effectively and efficiently.
Thigh-pressure aeroponic systems are connected to top-level misters to ensure a constant misting of the plant roots. Since they run throughout under high pressure, they maintain high humidity levels to support crop growth and yield.
Low-pressure misters are primarily used in DIY aeroponics to spray water and nutrients onto plants. They are less complex than the high-pressure ones, hence cheaper. Plant enthusiasts would tend to place the plants directly over the low-pressure pump, which gently sprays water to the roots through water jets or ultrasonic foggers.
The low-pressure system is ideal for new farmers because of its easy usability and affordability. However, they have downsides; what happens here is that the water and nutrient solution could fail to get to some roots due to the low pressure. This means insufficient nutrient absorption for some plants, which could cause death, so in short, the system is also more likely to develop pathogens and debris.
One primary reason farmers prefer the aeroponics system of gardening is it maximizes space. You would require a big garden with traditional farming methods for a good yield. The aeroponic process requires a small space to grow crops. You don’t need to space them to spread the roots because they hang in the air properly.
There is also continuous crop production with this method of crop growing. The farmer can control the plant’s growth requirements, like nutrients and water. You can also balance the right conditions for crop growth, like providing the correct lighting, temperature, and humidity, meaning there are no planting seasons.
Using the aeroponics crop growth system will save more water than other methods. The method involves minimal water usage and saves up to 95 percent of water. You can also apply a water recycling system to save on water costs, making the method suitable for living in areas with low water supply.
However, if you compare aeroponics vs. aquaponics, farmers who use aquaponics save more water. This is because they grow crops as they rear fish, reducing labor, power, and water usage, but since there is minimal to no use of pesticides and fertilizers, the aeroponic crop growing method is eco-friendly, considering the material used. Growing crops on land using these biohazards are washed into the rivers and lakes when it rains.
Less use of pesticides and fertilizers also leads to safe food production when this is the method and what keeps it growing. This way, there are fewer worries about food chemicals that cause cancer and other health hazards. Healthy foods also improve the general health of people.
Farmers use fewer pesticides and herbicides because there is better pathogen prevention through aeroponics. The growing method provides good aeration reducing the chances of plant attack by pathogens.
The system needs constant monitoring while you get a higher crop yield from the aeroponic crop growing technique. Water passes through tiny holes in the pipe, and they could block due to debris and dirt buildup, and this would give you a difficult time, due to the water consumption.
A short failure of the aeroponic system can kill the plants fast because the roots solely rely on the nutrients provided through spraying, so now you won’t see plants grow faster. This crop-growing method might also not be ideal if you have a tight budget.
Moreover, it requires a high setup when it comes to the initial cost because you would be buying quality pumps and installing them. The method also depends on electricity, meaning you will pay a high bill. Besides the high cost of electricity, you also need a backup power plan because power outages can kill your plants, which is why you must be very detailed on the matter.
The aeroponic system requires farmers with the specialized skill to operate the pumps and monitor the system. You must also know how to mix the nutrients in the proper proportions. If you are new to this farming method, it is advisable first to get training. You could also suffer technical glitches caused by the failure of pumps, but if this happens, you must know how to troubleshoot to prevent losing your plants.
– Best Crops
Since aeroponics is famous for producing big-sized yields, most farmers use the method to grow vegetables. Crops like spinach, lettuce, kale, and tomatoes will do great in this growth medium. You can also grow medicinal herbs, vine plants, and fruit trees in the garden.
Note that when you grow crops in this system it also supports high productivity in small spaces. Vegetables like spinach, lettuce, and kale produce big leaves within a small planting space after six weeks of planting. This ensures a constant supply of food for different herbs and vegetables.
Exploring The Hydroponic System Of Plant Growth
Hydroponic system is a type of crop growing in a nutrient solution instead of soil. The gardening method supports fast plant growth by providing optimal growth conditions, including readily available nutrients, oxygen, and water as the nutrients get sprinkled, and at the same time, they grow in nutrient-rich mediums.
Therefore, since the roots grow in a nutrient-rich solution, they don’t use energy to look for nutrients. The energy is directed to the plant’s maturity, hence the fast growth. You can grow hydroponic flowers, vegetables, and herbs through the setup.
Hydroponic gardening systems have a growing tray where plants grow. Water or a liquid nutrient solution is filled in the growing trays, but some farmers use a non-soil material to grow the plants. There is also a nutrient reservoir to store excess nutrient solution, which moves to the growing tray through an electronic water pumping mechanism or using wicks.
Modern hydroponics systems are automated, data-driven, and precise. They have software that monitors plant health and how they are doing. Other systems have timers for regular watering schedules. You need to know the different types to understand better how the system works.
With this tactic of growing plants, farmers have more control over the many influences that affect crop production than when growing in a garden. For example, you have little control over the soil’s PH, light, and temperature on a farm. Since hydroponics are grown in greenhouses and with their roots floating, you can provide the correct growth medium for the plant.
And since there is more control over the factors that influence crop growth, farmers can grow food from any part of the world. You can also use this growth method in deserts and hot climates, which helps to address food needs.
– Wick System
If you are a beginner in the hydroponic world of crop growing, the wick system would be a perfect one to start with. It is the simplest and doesn’t have moving parts, meaning there is little chance of failing, which is what makes it sustainable when functioning in this method.
The system has a wick that helps circulate nutrient solution from the reservoir to the growing medium. However, while the wick system is perfect for first-time hydroponic farmers, it uses a lot of nutrient solutions within a short time. The growth system is also susceptible to rot because it is always humid and damp.
– Water Culture
The water culture is another hydroponic system suitable for first-time farmers because of its simplicity. The system includes a floating platform that holds plants above the nutrient solution. The roots receive nutrients through bubbles from the air stone; the key reason for this way of productivity is that this is made possible by an air pump which distributes air to the air stone to create the nutrient bubbles.
The hydroponic method mainly supports lettuce growth because they grow faster and don’t mind staying in the water. On the other hand, you must be aware that this growing system might not be ideal for growing various crops.
– Ebb And Flow
The Ebb and Flow system has a submerged pump connected to a timer that floods the growth tray with nutrient solution and drains it. The timer turns on to pump the nutrient solution and off to drain it.
The main disadvantage of the hydroponic Ebb and Flow system is that power shortage can cut the water supply to the plants, and what happens is that it causes fast drying of the roots. To avoid this, use a growing media to retain water for longer.
What happens is that pump failure in the Ebb and Flow systems can cause plants to die. The failures could be due to unforeseen technical issues or age. You must therefore monitor the systems frequently to ensure they are performing well. System failure causes plants to die because they stop receiving adequate water and nutrients.
– Drip Systems
The drip system hydroponic system is the most common among farmers and is preferred due to its simple operation. The system has a timer that controls a submerged pump by turning it on and off, as it will sprinkle around the medium for the plant to grow and get the right amount of water and moisture.
When turned on, the pump drips nutrient solution to the plant’s base through tiny drip lines. The excess nutrient solutions run back to the reservoir for reuse, and the cycle continues. This system is more efficient and cheaper because it allows reusing the solution.
A hydroponic growing medium is the best if you want to conserve water, so it uses less water than gardens, whose most of the moisture evaporates to the atmosphere or drains. Drainage sweeps away nutrients, leaving the soil craving more fertilizer. With hydroponics, there is little evaporation and no drainage, so you don’t need to add fertilizers.
Since there is less need for fertilization, hydroponic plants are healthy and full of nutrients. In any case, farmers consume fewer chemicals from fertilizers that cause cancers and other allergies.
The hydroponic crop-growing method also supports the growth of many crops in a small area. Growing crops in the soil requires ample space to allow the roots to spread in search of nutrients. Hydroponic plants’ roots hang in the air, and there is a constant supply of nutrients. For example, the exo vertical hydroponic garden tower system can hold many plants.
Crops grown in hydroponic systems mature faster and give high produce. This is because they don’t use much energy to find nutrients in the soil, but instead, the hanging roots get water and nutrients from the reservoirs, supporting healthy growth. Therefore, the hydroponic crop growing system is ideal for areas with food shortages.
Another reason farmers prefer the hydroponic type of farming is because there are few toxins. Since there is no soil, there are no pathogens to attack the plants. There are also few pests and diseases, hence less use of chemicals to control them.
While using the hydroponic method to grow crops has many advantages, but it also has its downsides. First, you will incur a higher initial cost to set up the growth mediums than planting the crops on the soil. For example, the Aero spring 27 plants indoor vertical hydroponic growing system costs thousands of dollars, making it unaffordable to some farmers.
You also need a professional to install expensive pumps, tanks, and controls. Besides, you must acquire skills to use the growing systems and chemistry skills to help with the mixture of nutrients. These might take a while to learn, making the planting system more complex than traditional growing.
You must also keep inspecting the systems to prevent mold growth and insects. Failure to clean and sanitize the systems causes dirt to build up, attracting insects and mold. The bed won’t drain properly because of the blocked holes, leading to root rot and other diseases.
In addition, this growing style, can lead to high energy costs because the pumps, lighting, and sensors require electricity. This differs from growing crops in the garden because they get natural lighting and don’t require cameras and pumps.
– Best Crops
The hydroponic method of planting primarily benefits farmers growing short-term crops like vegetables. You can plant spinach, lettuce, strawberries, and herbs in the growth mediums. These don’t require many nutrients, and their roots don’t spread too much.
There are many differences between aeroponics and hydroponics, as seen in this comparison. The aeroponic system requires quality pumps to sprinkle nutrient solution on the hanging roots, while hydroponic crops grow in the nutrient solution. Aeroponics is also expensive because of the high-tech kits, but they support faster and effecient production.
The growing medium you choose depends on your needs and priorities. If you want a beginner-friendly and cost-effective method, use the hydroponic system. However, if you fancy a better-looking system that requires high maintenance, try the aeroponic system.
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