SOIL LESS GROWTH ENVIRONMENT -  HYDROPONIC AGRICULTURE
Why hydroponic agriculture is environmentally friendly?
 
 
      
    Hydroponics (soil less agriculture) is a growing medium for plants without soil, having the nutrients and minerals absorbed on solids or dispersed in water.  Soil less agriculture yields produce sooner, increases production, reduces space requirements and better tasting and better quality produce is obtained. 

During early 18th century, plant physiologists discovered that plants absorb only water soluble nutrients from the soil.  Later on possibility of growing vegetables without soil was researched and eventually growing produce without the use of soil started.  
 
 
 Even though hydroponic agriculture is a new process, presently 90% of greenhouses in USA use hydroponics.  In Sweden 50% of salad greens are grown by hydroponics and in Holland 90% of greenhouse plants and 90% of vegetables in greenhouses are produced with hydroponics.  In our country investigations on soil less growing (hydroponics) of produce has been researched in universities and in research laboratories of the Ministry of Agriculture. It was found that volcanic basalt and different pumice products were the most suitable for hydroponics.

 Hydroponics using proper materials could be classified as being environmentally friendly.  For example,  40 tons of tomatoes, 60 tons of cucumbers or 20 tons of peppers per decar can be produced by hydroponics.  Same amount of produce would require 4-5 times more greenhouse area if normal soil is used.  Therefore, hydroponics enables to produce the same amount of crop in a smaller area.  In addition, after several years of using the soil in greenhouses, the soil has to be changed or chemicals have to be used in order to prevent mould and undesirable bacterial growth.   If chemicals are used, then many organisms of the soil useful for the absorbtion of nutrients would die reducing the crop yield.  Eventually the chemicals used end up in water streams. 

 The greenhouses are equipped to prevent the entrance of virus transporting insects.  In greenhouses either hormones or bees are used for pollination.  Bees are specifically used for pollination in hydroponics.  In this case, chemicals unharmful to bees have to be selected.  Such chemicals would not be harmful to environment.

 In hydroponics aeration and temperature is automated and optimized.  This process optimizes photosynthesis and promotes growth and decreses the risk of disseases through the leaves.  Therefore less chemicals are used.  Greenhouses where soil is used have to be heated to prevent frost.  Minerals used in hydroponics absorb the heat during the day and release it during the night.  Soil less agriculture is more energy efficient.

 Quality of produce is quite high and taste is better if hydroponic medium is used. 
ADVANTAGES OF HYDROPONICS

1- Production is possible where the soil is not suitable.
2- Crops mature sooner due to availability of nutrients and controlled atmosphere.
3- Higher amount of produce is obtained due to availability of necessary nutrients.
4- Produce is tastier and lasts longer.
5- Costs are reduced because the growth medium does not need to be changed frequently  as is the case in greenhouses where soil is used.