Aeroponics and hydroponics are both soilless farming techniques that have gained popularity in recent years. While both methods offer unique advantages, aeroponics has emerged as the better alternative to conventional hydroponics due to its numerous benefits.
Firstly, aeroponics uses less water than hydroponics. In a hydroponic system, plants are grown in a water-based nutrient solution, which requires a large amount of water. However, in an aeroponic system, plants are fed intermittently (on average 10 minutes per hour) with a nutrient-rich solution, which uses up to 50% less water than hydroponics. This makes aeroponics a more sustainable and eco-friendly option.
Secondly, aeroponics promotes faster plant growth and higher yields. In a hydroponic system, plants’ roots are submerged in water and are susceptible to oxygen deprivation, which can slow down growth. In contrast, aeroponics allows plant roots to receive higher levels of oxygen, which facilitates faster growth and yields.
Thirdly, aeroponics provides a more sterile growing environment than hydroponics. In hydroponics, pathogens, and diseases can easily spread through the water, which can result in plant loss. In aeroponics, the nutrient solution is not a conducive environment for pathogens to thrive, which means that plants are less likely to be affected by diseases. This is what happens when the roots are just hanging in the air with 100% oxygen availability.
While both aeroponics and hydroponics offer a soilless farming alternative, aeroponics is a better option due to its numerous benefits, including water efficiency, faster plant growth, and higher yields, a more sterile growing environment, and the ability to grow a wider range of crops.
However, it is to be understood that aeroponics is a form of hydroponics. In fact, hydroponics includes the following 5 technologies:
Hydroponics is a form of agriculture that does not require soil as a growing medium. Instead, hydroponic systems use nutrient-rich water to grow plants, which are suspended in a variety of mediums. There are several different forms of hydroponics, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
1. Deep Water Culture (DWC)
DWC is one of the simplest forms of hydroponics and involves suspending plant roots in nutrient-rich water. The roots are not anchored to a medium, so they absorb nutrients directly from the water. This system is relatively easy to set up, but it requires constant monitoring of the water’s pH levels and nutrient concentrations to ensure that plants receive optimal nutrition.
2. Drip Irrigation:
Drip irrigation involves slowly dripping nutrient-rich water onto the plant roots. Drip irrigation is relatively simple and inexpensive, but it requires a timer to control the water flow. The roots are suspended in a medium, such as a perlite, to provide stability and support.
3. Nutrient Film Technique (NFT):
NFT involves suspending plant roots in a shallow stream of nutrient-rich water. The water flows over the roots, providing them with a constant supply of nutrients. This system is highly efficient but requires a continuous electricity supply to operate the pump and maintain the water flow.
4. Ebb and Flow:
Ebb and flow, which is also known as flood and drain, is a hydroponic system that periodically floods plant roots with nutrient-rich water and drains it away. This process is typically automated and controlled by a timer. The roots are suspended in a medium, such as gravel, which provides stability and support. Ebb and flow systems are easy to set up and maintain, but they require electricity to operate the pump and timer.
Analogically, we look at aeroponics as ‘hydroponics on steroids’!!! At Agrotonomy, we consider aeroponics the best form of hydroponics, not only from a farming approach but also from a health point of view. Aeroponic crops have higher levels of antioxidants and flavonoids while featuring an increased nutrient density.
Whether at home with a Tower Garden, or in a commercial Tower Farm, we use state-of-the-art aeroponic towers which can be set up indoors, outdoors, or even on the rooftop!