Hydroponic, Aeroponic or Living Soil: The Nutrition Test

So you are thinking about growing food from home…Great! Welcome to the club! 

35% of Americans grow food at home. You will be in excellent company!   The food gardening industry picked up 16 million new gardeners during COVID-19, many of whom are under 35.

According to the National Gardening Association

Everyday we are discovering how our food system is overstressed - and that was pre COVID! Today we have to consider the added burden of simply going to the grocery store, forget about feeling good about buying produce. Everything seems to take longer, cost more and tastes worse. So you start doing some research about home gardening and some time later you emerge from your computer completely confused. 

We want to help define your choices and explain why we choose living soil for the Planted Places Organic Farm Wall system. Let’s start by having a look at the other options you may have seen in the market.

Plant vertical farms producing plant vaccines ​​By YEINISM

Hydroponics involves growing plants in a nutrient-based water solution, rather than soil, which allows the plants to have access to oxygen as well as “direct contact” with the nutrient solution. While the hydroponic method does increase the growth rate of the produce, it is also expensive and requires careful and constant maintenance to ensure the nutrient solution maintains the proper pH and the system runs smoothly. 

The greatest risk with a hydroponics system is that something like a pump failure can kill your plants within hours depending on the size of your system

warns a FullBloom Greenhouse Company article.

Hydroponic gardening is also non-organic, as the system requires synthetic fertilizers and nutrients to run properly.

While organic nutrients are great for soil gardens, synthetics are the preferred choice for hydroponic growers for their tendency to dissolve fully and to prevent clogs in hydroponic system components

according to gardening site Hydrobuilder
Aeroponics- Plants growing at an aeroponic food farmBy Globe Guide Media Inc​​

Aeroponics, an offshoot of hydroponics, is also billed as a viable option for potential home growers. Instead of immersing the roots of the produce in a nutrient solution, the aeroponic method involves hanging plant roots 

in the air in a grow chamber in a closed-loop system.  The roots of the produce are then sprayed with nutrient-rich water or fine, high-pressure mist containing nutrient-rich solutions at certain intervals.

Aeroponic gardening can result in an even faster growth rate than most hydroponic systems, but the complexity of the system creates many potential hangups for aspiring growers. Like its hydroponic cousins, an aeroponic system must be constantly and painstakingly monitored to ensure it is working properly and the root chambers must be disinfected regularly to prevent fungi and bacteria from infecting the roots. The setup process is also difficult, and can be quite intimidating to those new to gardening.

Although there have been some examples of do-it-yourself at home aeroponic setups, aeroponic systems are mostly used in professional greenhouses due to their operational complexity and cost

Growing in Living Soil, has often been an afterthought in the home-based gardening and growing community. But what if I told you it is a major key in producing the healthiest and most organic produce? The Planted Places Farm Wall is powered by living soil, a nutrient rich environment full of microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi. This healthy, living soil environment enables plants to thrive, and fills your plate with the freshest greens, chock full of vitamins and minerals. Our blend is further reinforced with soil supplements like biochar, a type of charcoal created by burning wood and agricultural byproducts slowly, at low temperatures, with a reduced oxygen supply. Biochar greatly enhances and facilitates the nutrient flow from the soil into the roots of the plant, and offers a long-term sustainable alternative to more degradable carbon sources such as manure. 

While your Farm Wall will require ongoing maintenance and a commitment to learning and even a commitment to failing sometimes (getting comfortable with failing is an actual benefit of gardening according to psychologists who encourage gardening for your mental health!). At eye level you will examine your plants and watch for mold or bugs or castings that you will learn all mean something different. 

However you grow food at home, you should expect and look forward to checking in with your crops. Just like having a new baby or a new pet, you will watch for indicators of what the plant needs. With the Farm Wall, you can be sure that you will not be spending long periods of time balancing the pH level of a nutrient solution or painstakingly disinfecting an (expensive) root chamber. One lapse in memory, or a weekend away won’t result in the loss of your entire crop! 

When you make the decision to join the Planted Places community and home gardeners around the country, you will be welcomed into a community of fellow gardeners, sharing tips, tricks, hacks, friendships, coaching, tutorials and learning opportunities.

Planted Places designed a system using living soil. We are committed to all the benefits of home gardening, especially nutrition! We have done all the work, sourced the product and we will deliver it to your door. It’s even on wheels!