Growing hydroponics is a simple and potentially cheaper way of growing your fruits and vegetables without soil. It is the process of growing your plants in rocks, sand, or liquid either indoors or outdoors. But is growing your garden outdoors going to benefit you more?
Is it possible to do hydroponics outdoors? Growing hydroponically outdoors is a good way to cut back on lighting costs while using the sun as a natural light source. It is an inexpensive alternative to growing indoors or in a greenhouse.
Though it is possible to have a substantial garden indoors, growing your garden outdoors may have more benefits. The possibilities for hydroponic gardening outdoors are endless. As there are many advantages to outdoor hydroponics, there can also be some drawbacks that come with it.
Is Outdoor Hydroponics Possible?
There are many positives to outdoor hydroponics. For starters, the sun is the best possible source for natural light you can come by. As all plants need natural lighting, you won’t need to worry about finding an expensive lighting system that imitates the natural benefits of the sun. Not only is this the best way to get your plants the natural lighting they need, but it also saves you massive amounts of money.
Space and Upkeep
Having your hydroponic garden outdoors can save you from taking up space in your home or using up all of your greenhouse space. Growing your plants outdoors will give you the opportunity to build a larger system, as well as more systems. The possibility of having more than one set up is there, whereas it wouldn’t be if your garden were indoors.
Another advantage to growing your plants outdoors in a large system is the abundance of produce and crop you will be growing. The added space you allow your plants to grow will give them more chance to breathe and thrive. There will be no worries of cross-breeding your crop because everything grows separately, and you will be able to grow multiple types of vegetation at once.
The upkeep for the water of your outdoor hydroponic system is often easier than an indoor system as well. Having your system outdoors allows you to easily change the water in your system without the hassle of finding a close water source. You will also have the option to dilute your old nutrient solution and reuse it on your plants that are planted in soil.
Because your plants are already outside, bees will have full-time access to pollinating your garden for you. The process of pollinating an indoor garden is a long and tedious one. Not only do you have to do it by hand, one by one, but you will have to do this process as often as every few days. Keeping your hydroponics system outdoors eliminates this process by allowing the bees and other pollinating insects to take on the responsibility for you.
Just to paint the picture of comparison in your mind, the cost of starting an indoor hydroponics garden can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to a couple thousand. It all depends on how large your set up will be and the type a style you choose to use. Some systems can run you about $150 for a system, whereas sometimes you might come across a more complex system that costs around $450. You can always find some even more expensive, costing around $1,000.
These prices are not including the additional equipment you would need for an indoor garden, including lighting, fans, and ventilation. Additionally, You will need to buy the nutrient solution needed for plants to grow, as well as supplements, a pH meter, and pH control. All supplements and pH tools are needed for all gardens, whether or not it will be indoors or outdoors.
The price after start-up isn’t as bad. The only regular purchases you will need to make for your outdoor garden are for the nutrients and supplements. Otherwise, If your garden is too large for only you to eat and use, you could make a supplemental income by selling your extra produce to local friends and family.
Though having an outdoor hydroponics garden is beneficial in terms of pollinating insects, other insects can often harm your garden. The only way to prevent harmful bugs from getting into your garden is by moving your garden indoors to a greenhouse. An example of harmful insects that can get into your garden is fungus gnats. Some insects might take up home in your garden as well which may help alleviate the side effects of the harmful insects as well.
Another example of harmful pests getting into your garden is herbivores getting into your yard and eating your garden. You will have both of these issues with any outdoor garden you have, though an outdoor hydroponic garden is large and lush which can attract more animals.
Temperatures and the Elements
A benefit of having your garden indoors is the ability to control the temperature of the room your garden is growing in. This benefit is not extended to outdoor gardens. There is no way to control the temperature of the outdoors, effectively taking away any control you might have had in keeping your plants in their necessary environments. The same goes for cold temperatures. Outdoor hydroponics is simply impossible to do during the winter because it is too cold to grow.
A way you can help alleviate any strain this may cause on your garden is by shading your garden from the sun. A simple way to do this is by simply using a shade cloth to block the sun from directly hitting your garden on those hot days. Another neat trick to keep your garden healthy is by using and lower strength nutrient solution. It is important to stay within the recommended amounts for your plants but choosing the lowest of the recommended strength could help.
The sun can not only harm your plants, but it can shorten the lifespan of your hydroponic system as well. The UV rays having direct sunlight can wear your system down and shorten the usage you will get out of it. Also, the weather’s elements, such as rain, hail, and snow can damage your outdoor system.
Speaking of rain, if too much rainwater has a chance to enter your hydroponic system, it has the opportunity to dilute the pH balance of your carefully measured balance of nutrient solution. This makes it hard for your plants to get the proper nutrients they require to grow. This is a situation in which a tarp or cover of some sort may help protect your outdoor garden.
Having an outdoor hydroponics garden has both its ups and downs, but at the end of the day the benefits far out way the drawbacks. Not only is it cheaper to start up and continue to grow outdoors, but you also have the natural light of the sun. Because of this, you won’t need to worry about the expensive lighting that comes along with indoor gardening.
Even more so, the pollination done by insects that live to pollinate will save you hours of time spent wrist-deep in plants. Instead of spending hours pollinating every plant by hand, multiple times a week, you can spend that time doing other things, like researching other plants you might be interested in growing. The opportunities you have growing your hydroponics garden outdoors far outweigh any benefit to indoor gardening.