Hydroponics gardening and GreenSmartTM pots are often compared by home gardeners who ask are GreenSmart pots just another form of hydroponics gardening? The short answer answer is no.
Hydroponics gardening is a technique of growing plants without soil. There are many different versions of hydroponics (eg AutoPot) so let’s have a look at some common factors and then compare them with GreenSmart self watering pots. Many of our commercial hothouse-grown vegetables and herbs are grown in hydroponics systems.
In hydroponics gardening, plants are grown in an inert growing medium which has a perfectly balanced, pH adjusted with nutrient solution delivered to the plant roots in a highly soluble form. So plants are able to readily extract the nutrients for growth. In a soil based garden the plants need to spend energy searching out the right nutrients. With hydroponics gardening more plant energy is directed towards growing more leaves, fruit, flowers etc.
The inert growing medium is the material in which the roots are growing. There are many types: eg perlite, vermiculite, coconut fibre, gravel, sand and these do not provide any nutrition for the plants.
Advantages of hydroponics gardening
The nutrients are all dissolved in the water and it is quick and easy to adjust the pH to suit the growing requirements of the specific crop being grown.
No soil is needed. This is a huge benefit in places where there is no suitable soil.
Easy to harvest
As the system is all controlled there is no nutrient pollution of the surrounding environment.
Crop yields are high.
Hydroponics gardening disadvantages
Any failure of the system results in rapid death of plants.
Nutrient pumping systems need close monitoring (blockages, power failure)
The gardener needs to be wary of pathogen attacks on the plants.
The high moisture environment results in higher humidity around the plants which is not ideal for some plants.
Most hydroponic gardening uses non-organic chemical fertilisers
Cost of the equipment is high
The gardener needs a reasonably good knowledge about growing plants.
Here is a website for hydroponics gardening supplies www.hydroponics.co.nz
GreenSmart pots have a static reservoir of 12 litres of water under the false floor. The water is drawn up to the plant roots by wicking mechanisms. The water level is visible in a water sight glass. The plants are growing in 40 litres of potting mix. Ie the growing medium is potting mix. Organic fertilisers are mixed in with the potting mix and liquid fertiliser can also be added into the water.
Advantages of GreenSmart pots vs hydroponics gardening
The gardener does not need a lot of gardening skill
Plants do not need frequent checking
It is easy to create an organic garden.
The plastic is certified by USFDA as being suitable for food contact.
The pots can be shifted eg moved into sheltered position in winter.
The pots do not need daily checking for water.
Regular potting mix can be used as the growing medium.
The potting mix can be re-used for several years.
Disadvantages of GreenSmart pots vs hydroponics
It takes time to adjust the pH of the potting mix.