Hydroponics is a method of farming without soil; instead, the roots of the plants are immersed in a solution of water and nutrients. Because it requires less water and space, hydroponic farming is beneficial in places where the climate or soil is not conducive to traditional, soil-based agriculture.
According to Nelson and Pade, Inc., about 50,000 acres are dedicated to hydroponic farming worldwide. Approximately 1,200 of those acres are located in the United States.
A few large commercial operations in the U.S. cover as many as 60 acres. The indoor facilities produce large quantities of vegetables which are then shipped across the country to fill off-season market demands.
There are many small greenhouse operations growing vegetables commercially for local markets around the world. In the U.S. most of these small farms cover less than an acre in size and are family-owned.
Because hydroponic farms are indoors, the growing season is longer and farmers aren't subjected to weather variances, giving commercial growers an advantage over traditional farmers. The most commonly grown commercial crops are lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.
Hydroponically grown plants grow more quickly and have higher yields than their traditionally grown counterparts because nutrients are available to them at all times.
- Nelson and Pade, Inc.: Hydroponics Overview
- Achiltibuie Garden
- Simply Hydroponics and Organics: What is Hydroponics?
- Crop King: Introduction to Commercial Hydroponics
commercial hydroponics, soilless farming, indoor farming
About this Author
Jude Messineo is a technical and freelance writer in the Chicago area. A 1998 graduate of Columbia College, Messineo published her first book, "Walk on Water, The Journal of an Unexpected Journey" in 2007.