Hydroponics is the method of growing plants in soilless formulations using mineral nutrient solutions. The roots can be supported by an inert mineral such as vermiculite. However, vermiculite does more than just physically support the plant. Due to its ability to retain water and rationalise its release, it is able to maintain a hydrated environment as well as preserve nutrient levels for the plant. As a result, it is favoured in the growth of greenhouse salads in Europe and namely for vegetables such as lettuce.
The popularity of hydroponic farming is growing rapidly. With the ever-increasing population, it’s a fact that space is diminishing and consequently, vertical hydroponic farms are sprouting up all around the world. By growing crops upwards, growth potential is far superior and vital land space is saved. In fact, hydroponics requires roughly 20% less space than soil based gardens. Building upwards however, is not a new realization. For example, Tokyo and Kyoto in Japan are cities so densely populated that very tall apartment blocks are everywhere and quite literally, the only way is up. Ultimately, vertical hydroponic farms are an environmentally friendly way of producing more food in order to satisfy the increasing demand and can thus be considered the future in this industry.