DEC 09, 2016 11:06 AM PST

Hydroponics: The Science of Growing Plants without Soil

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

As land for growing crops becomes more scarce, people are looking for smarter, more efficient ways to grow foods. One such method is growing crops without the use soil, otherwise known as hydroponics.

Hydroponics is the technique of growing plants solely in water. The roots are kept suspended in a nutrient-rich liquid, this completely bypasses the need for any solid soil. As such, the requirement for large expanses of land is significantly reduced, as the hydroponic plants can be stacked and grown in greenhouses on rooftops and even underground. Furthermore, proponents of the system say that hydroponic plants faster and produce more than soil-based plants.

But it's also important to remember that hydroponic systems are costly to set up initially. And whereas soil-based plants would not be drastically affected by power outages, a prolong outage that cuts off the water system could decimate an entire crop of hydroponic plants. Still, with the demands for food growing and the shortage of land, hydroponics could be the solution.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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