As hydroponics grows in popularity, more misconceptions about this fantastic way to grow herbs, flowers, and vegetables are spread through rumor and on the Internet. Hopefully, this will clear up a few of the more common myths, and help you feel more comfortable about eating food grown with hydroponics or pursing hydroponic growing for yourself.
- Hydroponics Is Unnatural – A hydroponics system may look strange or clinical to the uninitiated, like hydroponic growers are developing some sort of nefarious “franken-plants.” The truth is that hydroponics is simply a great way to help plants grow to their full genetic potential, and they use and the require the same kind of nutrients and moisture that you would see in a garden with soil. Hydroponics isn’t even a new way to grow larger plants. Hieroglyphic records show evidence that ancient Egyptians grew some crops with roots suspended in water in a manner similar to methods used by modern hydroponic growers. In fact, because growers often choose not to use harsh chemicals or pesticides to fend off bugs and weeds, the plants you get from a hydroponic garden may actually be more “natural” than the kind you might see in a more traditional garden.
- Hydroponics Only Works Indoors – While one of the most exciting and unique features of hydroponics is the fact that growers can grow their plants virtually anywhere, including indoors, it doesn’t have to be limited to that. Hydroponics is about growing herbs, flowers, and vegetables in a carefully controlled environment. And many large-scale hydroponic growers take their operation outside where they have more room to work with, provided they have an agreeable climate. However, many people prefer to grow indoors so that they can take full advantage of the lighting situation, and the crops that they choose are not subject to the season.
- The Lights Used in Hydroponics Are Harmful to People – There is sometimes a mistaken belief that the grow lights used in hydroponics can be harmful to the eyes or skin if one is exposed to them for long enough. This misconception probably comes from the similarity some grow lights have to tanning beds that you might see at a tanning salon. The truth is that since plants do not require much ultra violet light to grow well, grow lights do not give off much of this kind of light, and are therefore no more harmful or dangerous than any light bulb in your home.
- Grow Lights Must Remain On Constantly – Most people who consider pursuing hydroponics as a hobby decide not to because they fear that the cost of always running lights will be prohibitive. While it is true that some hydroponic growers use lights on seedlings constantly, most choose a 18/6 cycle, that is, eighteen hours in light and six hours in darkness. For the flowering stage, most professionals recommend twelve hours in darkness and another twelve in light. This is done to encourage the most possible growth and budding while imitating the sun’s light cycle. And the cost of many grow lights, because they built to be efficient, may actually cost less per hour of use than a ceiling light in your house. Some newer model lights, such as LED grow lights, may actually use less energy per hour as a typical light bulb.