Soilless vs. Soil-Based Growing: Which Is Best For You?

If you’re a prospective gardener or into farming, you’ve probably heard the terms “soilless” and “soil-based” thrown around before. You might have even wondered which is right for your garden or farm. This article will explain the difference between the two methods.

Understanding the Terms

For those unfamiliar with the terms, soilless growing refers to any growing method that uses an inert material such as peat moss or coconut coir as a soil substitute. Meanwhile, soil-based gardening refers to any other type of plant growth that does not use an artificial medium, including hydroponics and container gardens.

The Popularity of Soilless Growing

Soilless growing has gained popularity due to the fact that it doesn’t use soil, a material bound to carry pests and pathogens. In soilless systems, plants get nutrients from waste streams rather than from the soil.

In soil-based systems, nutrients are absorbed by plant roots directly from organic matter found in the soil. In soilless systems, however, these nutrients must first be harvested from a wastewater stream or dissolved solid stream before being delivered to plant roots.

How Does Soilless Farming Work?

In order to get the nutrients from these streams, a soilless system relies on a nutrient “feed” source. This source can be liquid, solid, or a combination of both. The liquid nutrient feed can be liquid plant food, liquid animal food, or a liquid concentrate containing nutrients extracted from the waste streams.

Nutrients extracted from plant and animal waste are then delivered to plant roots by using a release agent that holds them in suspension until they are needed by plants. In soilless systems, these nutrients are commonly delivered via nutrient mist.

The most common type of soilless garden is referred to as hydroponic farming or gardening. In this type of system, the growing medium consists of a porous material that retains the necessary water for plant growth.

Most hydroponic systems rely on a nutrient feed containing dissolved nutrients that are absorbed by the plant’s roots through the porosity of the growing medium. Because soilless systems rely on harvested nutrients from waste streams, hydroponics is often referred to as “water culture” systems.

Why Use Soilless Farming?

The most common type of soilless garden is known as hydroponic gardening. In this type of system, the growing medium consists of a porous material that retains the necessary water for plant growth.

Most hydroponic systems rely on a nutrient feed containing dissolved nutrients that are absorbed by the plant’s roots through the porosity of the growing medium. Because soilless systems rely on harvested nutrients from waste streams, hydroponics is often referred to as “water culture” systems.

In soil-based growing systems, the nutrient content of the soil is often hidden and can be harmful to plants’ health and development. In contrast to their organic roots, plants grown in soil fail to utilize soil nitrogen and other nutrients because they lack an accessible pathway.

For those farmers who wish to switch to soilless farming and other tech-based sustainable farming methods, Maxwell Capital can help. The company is working with entrepreneurs and farmers to promote sustainable farming methods.

About Steve Maxwell

Steve Maxwell Vancouver, BC, is the founder of Maxwell Capital. He has over two decades of experience in AgriTech businesses and supports any initiatives that aim to protect the environment and support sustainable agricultural industries. People can reach out to Steve Maxwell or his representatives by calling (780) 851-1709.

 

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