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JLeslie's avatar

What do you think about hydroponic farms?

Asked by JLeslie (59180points) 1 month ago

I recently bought hydroponic grown Bibb lettuce at my local supermarket, and the brand was Kalera. It was delicious, and in perfect condition. I put the roots in water to see if I can get a second growth, we’ll see.

I went to their website and was impressed. Local to me (an hour away in Orlando) no GMO, uses far less water than regular farming, and no pesticides. There is a nice video on the page if you want to take the time. I have always been interested in hydroponics because it seems safer.

In your experience, do hydroponic fruits and vegetables taste as good as grown in the earth? Do you know any negatives about hydroponic produce? Do you worry it will put traditional farmers out of business?

I have bought hydroponic tomatoes many times and my husband never says they are delicious, but never complains about them. Other tomatoes that I have bought at farmers markets he has raved about. As far as this lettuce I just bought I would call it a rave.

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11 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Comparative cost between hydroponic and regular lettuce?

I’d also be curious about susceptibility to e-coli – better or worse with hydroponics?

JLeslie's avatar

@elbanditoroso How would e.coli be present with hydroponic growing?

I’m not sure how the price compared, I’ll try to pay attention to that next time I shop. Maybe I can look online. I needed Bibb lettuce and this was the only one I saw so I didn’t pay too much attention to the price. I think it was $5 for two heads. I made three dinner salads with it and almost all leaves were in great condition.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

My sister grows all kind of hydroponic produce. I’m sure her setup is really made to grow pot but she uses it for kale and other stuff. It actually yields a lot.

cookieman's avatar

When I worked at a local farm in Lexington, MA, one of our partner farm was a greenhouse hydroponic farm up in Maine. They grow amazing, on-the-vine tomatoes, amongst other things.

I’m all for it because it’s always local (within 100 miles), not subject to weather or bugs — thus no/little organic pesticide needed.

Kropotkin's avatar

Hydro/Aquaponic grown food is better than organic. There is practically zero risk of disease, zero chance of e-coli or other pathogens related to dirt grown food.

It is extremely water efficient. There’s no top-soil erosion. It doesn’t need pesticides or herbicides. There’s no runoff polluting waterways. And Aquaponic systems don’t even need fertiliser (except fish food). Growth rates are quicker than in dirt.

I think there should be massive investment in this form of crop growing. It should replace industrial farming, which is damaging to the environment, flora and fauna.

Hydro/Aquaponics can be done almost anywhere. I’ve wanted to setup my own small aquaponics system right inside my own home for a while now.

seawulf575's avatar

I once was looking at the Taj Mahal of greenhouses. It was a geodesic dome style with solar powered vents and fans. It had a large fish tank in it and semi-hydroponic grow pots. I say semi because it wasn’t grown in water, it was grown in a small amount of dirt, but fairly shallow. The water from the fish tank was used throughout the cycle. It was pumped out to water the plants. The water drained down through the plants and the dirt and was recycled back to the fish tank. The fish benefited from the nutrients obtained as the water filtered through the dirt and the plants benefited as the fish waste in the water was spread back into their soil. I’ve been curious why, other than initial cost, this sort of growing area hasn’t caught on more than it has?

JLeslie's avatar

I think DisneyWorld has that set up with the fish and water. I remember on the ride through the hydroponic garden there are fish tanks nearby or maybe we see them during the ride, I don’t quite remember. Some of the vegetables have Mickey ears.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@JLeslie E-coli comes from contaminated water. If the water source for hydroponic growing is not clean, e-coli can be transmitted on the lettuce leaves.

Kropotkin's avatar

@elbanditoroso That’s typically through animal manure, or water using manure that’s contaminated with e-coli. It’s a practice used in dirt farming.

For hydroponics, you just use plain water. The system is largely closed, with the only water loss being from evaporation, and the only input being fertiliser.

In an aquaponics systems which uses fish poop to feed plants (the ammonia is converted to nitrites and then nitrates through bacterial filters) the only input into the water is fish food.

jca2's avatar

@JLeslie: I think that’s in Epcot.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 It is. It’s in The Land in Epcot. I think the ride is actually called Living with the Land.

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