Are chemicals used in hydroponics? Most people would say no, but the real answer is yes. We will be using a mixture of N2 and 02, commonly called air, and lots of H20. To this is added small amounts of N, P and K (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) and balanced trace elements. The serious point being made here is that the world and everything in it is made up of one "chemical" or another. What we do avoid in hydroponics is putting the wrong chemical in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Nothing could be more damaging than what the modern commercial farmer does when he tries to boost his yield by dumping inorganic nutrients (fertilizer) on top of his organic soil. His plants may grow faster for awhile, but eventually his soil dies, because nutrient salts have inhibited the action of the soil's micro-organisms. After a few years his soil is little more than something for his underfed plants to stand around in.
To make matters worse, rain washes a large amount of this fertilizer off the farmer's fields. It enters our creeks and rivers and ends up in our lakes. It does not poison them, but it does overfertilize them. Algae and water plants thrive on it, and they multiply on the surface of the water, blocking light to the lower regions and eventually killing underwater plant and animal life.
Detergents cause the same problem, because they are such terrific fertilizers - the more phosphates the better. Grandma really did know something when she dumped her wash-water on the garden. When you flush your high-phosphate detergent down the drain into the sewage system, you are adding to overfertilization and choking marine life.
In the midst of this we are presented with hydroponics, an environmentally sound growing method where water and nutrients are recycled until they are used up by the plants. Nothing is wasted, and nothing ends up in our rivers and lakes. Your healthy hydroponic plants will tell you that you are doing something right.
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