Top 5 Benefits of Outdoor Hydroponic Herb Gardens
If you’re an amateur chef, gardener, or both, you may have dabbled with the idea of growing your herbs at home. And while it may seem like a challenging undertaking, the reality is that caring for a small garden is easy—especially if you take the hydroponic route.
Hydroponic systems are water-based systems that allow plants to grow without soil. While you can set up a hydroponic herb garden inside or outside, an outdoor garden is often more affordable and won’t take up precious space indoors.
Outdoor hydroponic systems come with other advantages, too. In this guide to home herb growing, we’re looking at the top five benefits of using an outdoor hydroponic system for all your gardening needs.
#1 Growing Your Own Herbs Saves You Money
How many times have you bought a handful of fresh herbs from the market with the best intentions—only to watch them wilt away in a drawer in the fridge? Every time you toss a half-used bunch of rosemary, sage, or basil into the compost, you throw away a few dollars. Over time, this simple action can add up to hundreds of dollars of wasted food.
The only solution to this dilemma is to buy dried herbs and store them until you need them. Unfortunately, dried herbs are a poor substitute for fresh ones in many recipes.
When you grow your herbs in an outdoor hydroponic garden, you can pick your mint or thyme precisely when you need it—no waste necessary. What’s more, starting a garden is easy and affordable; here’s what you’ll need:
- Plant nutrients
- A substrate (such as gravel, pumice, or coconut coir)
- A pump for water
And once you complete your setup, your additional costs are negligible, making a hydroponic herb garden a wise investment for the future.
In fact, growing fresh herbs at home may also help you save money indirectly; your home-cooked food will be so tasty you won’t need to eat out!
#2 Outdoor Hydroponic Gardens Are Eco-Friendly
Growing fresh herbs in an outdoor hydroponic garden is one of the most environmentally friendly ways you can produce food. External hydroponic systems use far fewer resources than traditional in-soil gardens.
First, there’s water. According to the National Park Service (NPS), hydroponic systems use as much as ten times less water than traditional agricultural methods. Even in a small-scale backyard soil garden, you use far more water than you would with an outdoor hydroponic system.
The reason is simple: When you water herbs planted in soil, most of the water saturates the soil itself; only a fraction of the water reaches the roots of the plant. In a hydroponic system, water is recirculated by a small pump. These pumps are often powered by electricity, but for a more environmentally friendly approach, you can opt for a solar-powered solution.
To take sustainability one step further, you can build or buy an aquaponics system—a fish pond and garden hybrid that allows you to use fish waste as plant food.
Yet another green benefit of growing your own herbs outdoors is reducing your overall carbon footprint. Every bunch of herbs you buy at the supermarket must travel from a farm to the store. On average, fresh produce travels over 1,500 miles before consumption, producing greenhouse gasses as it does. When you grow herbs in your backyard or patio, you eliminate the need for transportation.
#3 A Hydroponic System Helps Herbs Grow Faster
Hydroponic herbs (as well as vegetables) root and grow faster than plants grown in soil. In some scenarios, hydroponically-grown plants can grow up to 50% faster than those brought up using traditional methods.
This increase in growing speed is due to the control an outdoor hydroponic system gives you. When you grow herbs in such a way, you can carefully manage:
- The pH level of the water
- The nutrient content of the water
- The temperature (if using a greenhouse)
- The amount of light
When these factors are balanced correctly, the result is a plant that grows remarkably quickly.
And your herbs won’t only grow faster—you’ll also have more of the herb to dry or cook with. Plants grown hydroponically can have 20–25% higher yields than their traditionally-grown counterparts.
#4 A Hydroponic System Grows Healthier Herbs
For the same reason that hydroponically-grown herbs develop faster, they also grow healthier. Because you can control the quality and quantity of nutrients your plants receive, you can ensure that each herb enjoys optimal conditions.
Additionally, herbs grown hydroponically are less likely to be affected by diseases or fungi. With that in mind, you’ll rarely—if ever—need to use pesticides or fungicides to keep your garden safe. Although the jury’s still out on whether or not it’s safe to consume minimal pesticide residue, some groups report that it’s best avoided.
In the end, hydroponically-grown herbs are healthier all around—for the plants and the people eating them.
#5 Hydroponic Herb Gardens Don’t Require Weeding
Along with the financial and environmental benefits, hydroponic growing saves you time. Because there’s no soil involved in an outdoor hydroponic system, there are no weeds. As such, you won’t have to spend the better part of an hour hunched over your garden with a hoe, nor will you have to use a toxic herbicide.
You’ll still have to deal with some other pests—such as insects and critters—but these nuisances are a reality for any outdoor garden.
A lack of weeds is also beneficial for your herbs. Some weeds carry diseases and often compete with crops for nutrients, water, and sunlight. Without weeds, your herbs can grow in peace.
Discover the Benefits of Outdoor Hydroponic Gardening with Solariver
Outdoor hydroponic gardens are relatively easy to build and maintain, take up little space, and allow you to enjoy fresh herbs and produce year-round.
But if you hope to experience the benefits of an outdoor hydroponic herb garden for yourself, you’ll need a pump to provide all of your plants with mineral-rich water. For a high-quality, solar-powered option, look no further than Solariver.
Our pumps harness the power of the sun, which means you can place your hydroponic garden anywhere—no need to keep it close to the house or run an extension cord.