With the popularity of creating your own garden, whether it's cannabis or tomatoes, one of the first things to consider is whether to grow in soil or hydroponics. There are pros and cons to both, so understanding the differences and how they apply to your individual needs is critical.
You can find experts who prefer both options, so let's examine them so you can make an educated decision before you get started on your garden.
Soil seems like a natural choice; after all, it's mother nature's recipe for creating beautiful plants and nutritious food. And while there are many benefits to growing plants in soil, there are some negatives that you need to be aware of before making a decision.
Growing your plants in soil is easier and more forgiving than using alternative methods. Part of the reason for this is that the plant grows slower, requiring less maintenance. It's also said to retain more of the natural flavors, especially valuable for fruits and vegetables (and cannabis). However, the natural environment of soil brings some distractors, like pests. Fungal mites and eggs from other pests naturally exist in soil, requiring a strategy for dealing with their effects. The plant cycle is also longer when growing in soil, so you'll have to wait for results. It's estimated that yields are also smaller meaning that what and why you're growing may become a factor in your decision-making process.
- Natural environment
- Lower costs
- Soil naturally adjusts itself
- More forgiving for busy growers
- Better flavor
- Longer/slower growing cycle
- Requires more TLC in the beginning
- Large space requirement
- Smaller yield
Creating your indoor grow using hydroponics comes with benefits and some negatives as well. As the name suggests, hydroponics is a complex system of growing plants in water mixed with nutrients. There are many ways to accomplish this, but most home growers use plastic containers with a small plastic frame that holds the plant above the water, so just the roots of the plant are submerged.
One of the reasons growers prefer hydroponics is because of the quick-growing cycle. It's estimated that plants grown in hydroponics grow 30-50% faster, allowing you to enjoy the fruits of your labor quicker. And because the plants grow more quickly, it's easier to identify issues with plants sooner in the growing cycle. Growing in hydroponics also requires less space and is easier to monitor and can be automated, requiring less of your time to manage. With automation comes higher costs and more upfront time to set up. Food and cannabis grown in hydroponics is also said to contain less of the natural flavors but is often more visually appealing. So depending on your goals in creating an indoor garden, I'm confident that understanding the differences will assist you in making the right decision for your individual needs.
- Faster grow cycle
- Larger yields
- Early detection of issues
- No pests
- Less space required
- More visually appealing
- Easy to automate
- Nutrient dosing is simply
- Higher up-front costs
- Less flavor
- More up-front time
- Not beginner-friendly
- Requires more time overall (if not automated)
- Must use nutrients
Whatever your goals are for creating a garden, it should be a fun, hands-on experience that will provide nutritious foods or relaxing buds. Get gardening!