One of the questions I see a lot in groups is Why is hydroponics expensive?
It may seem that way from the outside, but there are actually a number of reasons why hydroponics can be considered expensive, and many of them you can avoid if you want to keep costs low. In this article, I will explain some of the factors which determine how much it will cost to set up an indoor garden for whatever purpose you may have.
The first thing to understand is that there are different types of hydroponics. Some involve growing plants in nutrient-rich water without having any medium to act as a support, and others use a solid material such as gravel or perlite as a base, with the roots dangling down into the nutrient tank.
There are also different types of hydroponics systems, such as ebb and flow, flood and drain, drip irrigation, etc. The major cost differences come when having to purchase the different components used in each system (a solid base like gravel will be cheaper than a nutrient tank for example)
All that said, there are some general rules which apply to almost every hydroponics system (including the ones using a solid base).
What Factors Affect A Hydroponics System Cost
The cost will vary depending on the size of your system. The larger the system, the more expensive it will be. Some systems can be as small as a single plant growing in a jar or pail, and others such as those used for mass cultivation can be several meters long.
The cost will also depend on the type of hydroponics system you’re using (see here for more details). Some systems like flood and drain are simple to set up, whereas others like a nutrient film technique require a lot more effort and parts, and therefore cost more.
Do It Yourself (DIY) Hydroponics System
The final factor which can influence overall costs is whether or not you’re going to be using a DIY system (one which you make yourself). Building your own hydroponics system can sometimes save a lot of money, but if something goes wrong and you need to buy extra parts it could end up costing more than simply buying a pre-made system or kit.
There are plenty of pre-made hydroponic systems and kits available these days. They can be relatively inexpensive and may come with everything you need to get started, including the nutrients and the growing medium (although this isn’t always the case). However, they can sometimes be difficult or time-consuming to set up because there are many parts that could go wrong.
On the other hand, if you decide to not go the kit route, there are DIY ways to really build your own Hydro System from scratch, using cheap parts that were not marked “made for Hydroponics” as such, but rather very common parts you can easily buy in your neighborhood utility store, or order online from Amazon – and build it with your own hands.
Consider this gardening irrigation system if you like the idea (click to go to Amazon for more details) – it is not specifically made for hydroponics, but you can certainly use it for next to nothing (see final price on Amazon of course)
But Is Hydroponics Really Expensive?
If you compare hydroponics to soil-based gardening, you’ll typically save money in the long run. Hydroponic systems use less nutrients, whereas soil gardens require regular feeding, using various fertilizers, and watering, which can get even more expensive if you count the value of your time into the equation.
There are commercially available hydroponics kits available for growing vegetables, including tomatoes, that are significantly cheaper than traditional methods of growing them.
In The End, It’s Well Worth It
If you really want to grow your own food and save money, hydroponics may be a good choice for you. That is of course if it’s something that interests you and fits into your life. It can be time-consuming and challenging, but the feeling of satisfaction when harvesting your first crop will make all the challenges worthwhile.