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Is hydroponically grown food organic?

With the folks in the urban areas becoming more conscious of their health, their attitude towards food has perked up; they are more mindful now than ever of what they consume, in terms of nutrition and quantity. Some of the cruellest agricultural practices- such as the overuse of pesticides, insecticides, are not tolerated by the consumers. They find it disturbing that they have, but little control over these aspects that affect them the most. So, they are drifting towards produce that can guarantee them minimal pesticide residues and maximum nutritional quality even if it costs twice as usual. And since consumerism pretty much rules our world, producers have fallen in with necessary changes in their methods so as to provide what their consumers like better- organic food.

Organic farming is the go-to kind of farming in the age of pollution and climate change, providing nourishment along with subsistence. It may not yield results straight away; it gives results over a period of time. Simply put, it is the loose-the-sprint-but-win-the-marathon kind of farming.

Speaking of eco-friendly and viable alternatives of conventional farming, hydroponics has gained fame in the recent past. It is described as growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions in an aqueous solvent. This method ensures supply of nutrients to the roots; hence all efforts are towards growth of shoots (i.e., of fruits, leaves) leading to faster growth. This method helps in preventing soil degradation, saving space and is frequently used in indoor vertical farms.

In the last few years, the urban folk have developed a proclivity to grow their own food in their backyards/balconies, so that they are assured of the quality of food that they are taking in. They presume that food is organic. But is it, really?

Technically speaking, “organic agriculture is the practice of raising crops without the use of synthetic inputs that are replaced with site-specific management practices that maintain and increase long-term soil fertility and prevent pests and diseases”. While only a nutrient solution is used in controlled amounts to support the growth of plants, additional fertilizers aren’t provided in usual cases; and pesticides would be necessary in the least as the system is free from infested garden soils. Pests, if any, are controlled through natural pest controls.

Therefore hydroponics is a system that raises crops without chemicals and is 100% safe for consumption. But for a particular food to be called organic, it should have undergone an elaborate process of validation and certification, with regard to protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substances. All these measures aimed at protecting the environment, minimizing soil degradation, and maximising biological diversity and productivity while promoting healthy conditions in consumers, are to be fulfilled in order to sell a product under the label “organic”. Moreover, hydroponics has a soil-less medium for growing plants making this primary reason for it not being classified under the “organic” tag.

Even though hydroponics is not technically organic, it is gaining popularity as you are reading this. And the fact that hydroponics is highly suitable and operational in urban areas and rural areas alike, shall make it the next big thing in agriculture.

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Think different think hydroponics

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to grow veggies for your kitchen? Concerned about the hygiene level of fruits and vegetables you buy from the market?  Wouldn’t you like your salad better if it were made from the vegetables you grew?

Well, the “solution” to your concerns is Hydroponics- the method of growing plants in a nutrient solution, as a substitute to soil. It might sound uncanny and implausible if you are unfamiliar with the practice, but it may be the cutting edge in agriculture and the key to sustainability in the coming days.

Wouldn’t you be impressed if I say that with hydroponics, plants can grow faster, larger and healthier than with the regular procedure? A wide range of veggies- cabbage, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, pepper- can be raised in this method.

Also, using artificial light, plants can grow irrespective of their conventional season and duration. The approach utilises nutrient-rich water to feed the plants omitting the hassle of the regular procedure. It’s also a perfect opportunity for you to become “the” urban farmer!

 

Although we cannot forgo the traditional method of growing in soil, hydroponics may offer a more sustainable option for the farmers and open doors for better income and uplift their productivity.

In the times of the pandemic that we have experienced, it seems only fit that we take our safety into our own hands. At the same time, our planet is going through an unpleasant climate change and one way to curb it is through sustainability. By using fewer resources, like water, fertilizer, or pesticides, less harmful pollutants are released into the atmosphere, or, even worse, into the ground. As such, hydroponics is an eco friendly alternative.

 

We here at Beegle Agritech, are doing much the same. Vertical farming is the new farming. In addition to this, through the Integrated Circular Pyramid farming (ICPF), we try reducing farm waste to a minimum resulting in a circular system of efficient resource utilization.

Sustainability at its best, productivity at the crest.

 

 

Think different, think hydroponics!

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Hydroponics at home

Every person living in a city wishes to have access to the freshest fruits or vegetables or greens for daily consumption. But that is not always the case. Farm produce available in the markets at most times, do not meet the quality standards, hygiene is compromised and so is nutrition. Especially around these times where the pandemic is raging, daily trips to the market sounds risky and any amount of sanitising measures seems inadequate, makes us a lot more critical about the food that we are consuming everyday. However, there is a way out of this. And the solution exists just on your terrace. 

      Yes! 

 Hydroponics is a perfect substitute for a home garden. And more. Hydroponics is a technique of growing plants without soil as media; with the help of a nutrient-rich water. It works by providing nutrients essential to the plant, directly to its roots, as a result improving shoot growth rapidly (since roots do not have to go searching for nutrients). It has become popular in greenhouses to produce vegetables on a large scale, due to its properties of less water usage, minimal space and labour requirement and providing greater yields. Though practised on a commercial scale, hydroponics can also be installed at your home too. 

Hydroponics provides an easy maintenance, cost-effective method of cultivating veggies as per the need. It takes up only ten percent of water that the usual home garden does, and plants grow upto 50% faster in hydroponics, thus you could produce more for your home despite a small garden. The only maintenance would be replacing the nutrient solution once in a while and to monitor the pH levels of the solutions. There is a whole range of vegetables, fruits and greens that are particularly suited to grow in hydroponics. Crops such as peppers, tomatoes, turnips, strawberries, lettuce and even some flowers can be raised easily in such a setup.

Freshly plucked vegetables or greens are more nutritious and taste delicious compared to stored and terminated produce available in the markets.

Managing your new “farm” could be an activity that you look forward to after a stressful week; harvest your greens and veggies and eat a healthy salad while bingeing on your favourite show. 

And admit it, hydroponics in your balcony would dramatically increase the aesthetic value of your home. 

So, what are you waiting for? Hurry up and install a hydroponics system at your home, now!

 

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Vertical garden

 

Vertical gardens can, as a whole, refer to all vegetated wall surfaces, or simply, it can refer to the cultivation of ornamental species on a vertical surface. With the growing urban population and pollution as well as the construction and expansion of urban living spaces, it is inevitable that we include natural, breathing structures in the city design and vertical gardens, rise above as a solution.

Of the multiple vertical garden designs, the most common one is the green wall or living wall, which has panels on a vertical wall, into which the plants are rooted. While the maintenance can be tiresome due to fertigation and irrigation systems, this is combated by green façade model wherein the rooting is at ground level and the climber spreads over a vertical surface.