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Factual Comparison of Hydroponics vs Soil

Hydroponic growing and traditional soil-based growing both have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. As widely known, water efficiency, nutrient control, faster growth, and space efficiency are some major advantages of hydroponics.

On the other hand, there are also some setbacks like relatively high initial investment costs and a relatively higher risk of disease spread for the plants. But all these issues can be handled easily with caring and knowledge.

Here's a comparison of the two methods with some data-based facts, using two of our favorite produces; tomatoes and lettuce.

Lettuce Growing in Hydroponic System

Major Advantages of Hydroponic Systems

Growing Time: Hydroponic systems often result in faster growth rates due to optimized nutrient availability and controlled growing conditions. On soil, the plant uses more of its energy to reach vital nutrients.

Yield: Hydroponic systems are known for their potential to achieve higher yields compared to soil-based methods. That’s because of factors such as faster growing times and greater space efficiency.

Water Consumption: Hydroponic systems are generally more water-efficient than soil-based methods. Hydroponics can use up to 90% less water than traditional soil-based agriculture, primarily due to reduced water evaporation and optimized plant water distribution.

Produce Quality: Hydroponic produce can have consistent quality in appearance and size since nutrients are precisely controlled. However, in terms of taste and nutrient content, there can be some variability due to nutrient solution composition, the right nutrient composition should be used for best results. Also, the threat of soil-based pests and diseases in hydroponic systems like mites, slugs, etc. is very limited to none.

Growing Lettuce With Hydroponics vs Soil

NFT Systems and DWC Rafts are the 2 most popular methods of Hydroponic lettuce growing.

Growing Time: Lettuce grown hydroponically may mature faster compared to soil-grown lettuce up to 2 times.

Harvest maturity in hydroponics is 4-5 weeks, while soil-based lettuce grows in up to 7-8 weeks.

Yield: Some studies show that soil-based lettuce yields can be as high as up to 4 kgs/m²/year while with hydroponic methods yield can be as high as 40kgs/m²/year

Water Consumption: Water consumption per head is 4 lt on hydroponics while an average of 50 liters is needed per head on the soil.

Growing Tomatoes With Hydroponics vs Soil

Dutch Buckets are the most reliable hydroponic systems for growing tomatoes since the structure of this system supports the long vines and roots appropriately.

Growing Time: First harvest time for hydroponic tomatoes is 45-70 days depending on the variety. On soil, the first harvest time is as long as 60-85 days.

Yield: Yield for tomatoes on an hydroponic system can be as high as 30 kg/m²/y, on the other hand, it is 6-10 kg/m2/y on soil on average.

Water Consumption: Water consumption per kilo is 10-20 lt. on hydroponics while an average of 30 lt is needed per kg on soil with a greenhouse and 60 lt. on an open field.


Any Questions?

Reach out to learn more about hydroponic systems suitable for your home, and your budget.

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