8 Dangers of Gardening with Hydroponics
Although hydroponics present a gardener with the possibility of much better plant growth, there are dangers associated with it. Here we take a look at some of the risks that are associated with this kind of gardening technique. In hydroponic farms, plants are grown without soil.
1. Electricity and Water
Electricity and water are dangerous if they are combined, and hydroponics gardening often uses both resources in close proximity. It is vital that you are aware at all times of where your power leads are in relation to the water supply. This is especially important if you have a system that moves the lighting to simulate a natural day. It is equally important that you are very careful when performing any electrical maintenance, as the strength of an electric shock is intensified by wet skin.
2. Water Leaks
You should check for water leaks in the system at least once a week. It is possible for a leak to create major problems for your property if not detected and fixed early.
3. Non-Food-Grade Plastics
Setting up a hydroponic garden can be relatively expensive, but the importance of using food-grade plastics is often underestimated. Using non-food-grade plastics as an economy measure could contaminate your food crops because dangerous chemicals can leach out of the plastics and into the growing fruits or vegetables.
Although water may be circulating in some hydroponics systems, the bulk of it is static. Salmonella grows quickly in still water and is not always easy to detect. The problem gets intensified when you use chemicals to get rid of microorganisms in your stagnant garden water.
The high moisture content of the air around hydroponically grown plants encourages molds and other plant pathogens to grow and spread quickly. This can be avoided to a great extent by paying proper attention to ventilation, especially when plants are in flower or fruiting and are more vulnerable.
Just as pathogens are encouraged by the damp atmosphere, so are plant pests like spider mites. Spider mites are minuscule, breed prolifically and drain the sap from leaves. Fungus gnats can do enormous damage to root systems. Thrips also drain sap from leaves and scrape the surface off them. You will have to be aware of insect pests and use specific insecticides against them rather than a broadband insecticide.
7. Power Outages
As the nutrients supply in a hydroponic garden is powered by electricity, an outage could be detrimental to the garden. If an outage occurs, and lasts for a considerable period of time, the plants may die out if a supplementary system of nutrition is not implemented. It becomes essential to have such alternative supplies on-the-ready, which increases the costs of setting up such a garden.
8. Have the Right Knowledge
The hydroponic technique is intriguing, however there are several dangers in setting up a hydroponic garden without the right knowledge. Since electricity is involved, the problems may get compounded. If you are planning to have a hydroponically powered garden, you need to do a lot of research first.