Greenhouse & Vertical Farming 101: What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponic farming is taking the agricultural world by storm. It’s a way for a farm or garden to grow without soil. Instead, it uses an inert medium like organic coco coir and rock wool to support the root structure. This mechanism allows for more efficient plant growth by putting them in direct contact with the nutrient source.

Implementing increasingly advanced and modern local agricultural technology is key. It helps guarantee a community's food security. As you’re about to find out, there are many reasons why we need hydroponics. Higher quality produce, sustainability, and safer produce are just a few. 

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics derives from the ancient Greek words “hydro,” meaning water, and “ponics,” meaning labor. It’s an appropriate term because water does the work in this practice. 

At its core, hydroponics is a way to grow plants. Instead of soil, hydroponics depends on a water-based, nutrient-rich solution. The idea may seem like a novel “hack.” However, it has been around for thousands of years. It has helped to enable population growth as the availability of arable land decreases. 

The ability to replace soil with organic substances has provided benefits to growers everywhere. The roots of each plant come in direct contact with the nutrient solution. The increased access to oxygen further enables this compared to its soil counterpart. 

What You Need to Get Started

There is very little that you need to start a hydroponic gardening system. The necessities for hydroponic growing include:

  • Fresh Water

  • Oxygen

  • Root Support

  • Nutrients

  • Light

Fresh water is a given for any plant and any growing medium. Oxygen is also vital. Plants will need the proper root support based on the type of hydroponic system being used. All plants have nutrient needs, which doesn’t change because they are grown in water instead of soil. And, of course, light is necessary for growth. 

An indoor hydroponics system, whether for a greenhouse or a vertical system, is a great way to get started in hydroponics.

Are Hydroponics Healthy?

Yes, hydroponic growing of plants is just as healthy as those grown in soil. 

In hydroponics, the grower has complete control over the nutrients the plants receive. The plants may receive more nutrients than they may in soil, which may have added health benefits. Being in a controlled environment equates to fewer pesticides needed to fight unwanted pests.

What Can You Grow with Hydroponics?

Whether it’s a houseplant, herbs, or vegetables, all plants can grow hydroponically. 

A hydroponic gardening system can be a great way to have fresh vegetables all year round. This control means certain vegetables can be grown when they aren’t ordinarily available. 

Some of the best plants to grow hydroponically are lettuce, strawberries, basil, tomatoes, and cucumbers. 

Herbs can be an excellent use of a vertical gardening system. Fresh herbs would always be available in a pinch for that last-minute meal that needs to be cooked.

Vegetables are also excellent grown in a small space. Due to the shortened growing season, vegetables are farm to table in as little as 48 hours.

Do Hydroponic Plants Taste Different?

Hydroponics suffers from a stigma that plants grown in a hydroponic gardening system are watered down or have no flavor. That isn’t the case, however. There’s actually an opportunity to grow better-tasting produce. This is because the climate conditions and nutrients are better controlled, allowing plants to taste their best. 

Light levels, plant nutrients, water levels, and freshness all affect the taste of plants grown hydroponically. Light levels, plant nutrients, and water levels are all controlled by the farmer. They can set optimal conditions for individual hydroponics crops. Freshness happens naturally because the growth time for hydroponic plants is less, so there is less time from farm to table.

Types of Hydroponics Systems

Hydroponics is a complex mechanism. There are multiple techniques for ensuring the nutrient solution reaches your plants. These vary depending on the investment required and the level of complexity. 

We’ve included six methods below: 

Deepwater Culture

Sometimes called the reservoir method, deepwater culture may be the easiest method of running hydroponics. Plant roots are suspended directly inside the nutrient solution. Growers must utilize an aquarium air pump to add oxygen to the solution so the plants don’t drown. 

Nutrient Film Technique

This method depends on oxygen absorption from the air by running a continuous flow of nutrient solution over the plants’ roots. To properly execute this method, the plants grow on a slight angle that allows the solution to flow downwards. This method may sound like a hassle, but the increased growth rate makes it worth it! 


Aeroponics involves suspending the roots in the air and misting them with the solution. This method promotes growth and involves hitting the roots with either a pond fogger or a fine spray nozzle.


This is thought to be the simplest and most cost-efficient of all the methods of running hydroponics. The wick connects the plant and reservoir of a nutrient solution, slowly feeding them over time. Porous materials like cotton are the most common medium, slowly moving the water/nutrient solution to the plant.

Ebb & Flow

Also known as a flood and drain system, this technique requires flooding the growing area at specific intervals based on a timer. In between floods, the nutrient solution drains back into the reservoir. This is considered an intermediate-level technique and doesn’t require much water.

Drip System

Finally, a drip system distributes a slow feed of nutrient solution to the hydroponics medium. It uses a slow-draining medium like rock wool, coconut coir, or peat moss.

At Eden Green Technology, we’ve been able to design vertical farming technology that removes the challenges of these traditional hydroponics methods while keeping the benefits. Learn more about our approach to hydroponics.

What Are the Benefits of Hydroponics?

Increased Growth

Everyone wants to know, “Do hydroponics plants grow faster?” The answer is a definitive “yes.”

Plants have been shown to grow faster and larger. This happens because obtaining nutrients from their surroundings requires less energy. The plants are force-fed all they need to sprout into flourishing specimens. 

Fewer Resources Required

It has been demonstrated that plants operating on a hydroponic system use only 10% of the water a field-grown plant would use. This phenomenon occurs because they have an enclosed system. This results in less “slippage” in the process of feeding the plants. Our greenhouses have a smaller footprint than traditional farming. They also use less energy than other indoor solutions. 

Reduced Interference

The ancillary benefits of hydroponics are massive. First, there are no weeds, fewer pests, and minimal diseases. This is because the plants are kept in a controlled area and don’t use soil. As a bonus, the insecticide requirement is significantly reduced.

Other Benefits

Hydroponic systems have many other benefits on top of those listed above:

  • Less evaporation,

  • More controlled (i.e. temperature, humidity, and air composition)

  • Better for the environment due to reduced pollution and waste.

Potential Harms

However, hydroponics isn’t always the best option for all vegetables. There will naturally be higher costs in a system where you have more considerations than soil-grown plants.

Setting up a hydroponic system can be very time-consuming. There’s also always the worry that an unforeseen event like a pump failure may harm the plants. And finally, farmers still need to be careful about controlling their nutrient solution and pH levels.

With Eden Green Technology, our modular greenhouses reduce setup time. We also offer greenhouse management technology. This can be controlled from anywhere to prevent and address system outages.

Eden Green’s Hydroponic Processes

Eden Green uses advanced hydroponic systems to grow plants efficiently and sustainably. Here’s how they do it:

Vertical Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

Eden Green uses a special system called Vertical NFT. In this system, plants obtain nutrients from water that flows past their roots. The constant flow of water allows plants to get both moisture and air. By stacking plants vertically, our greenhouses can produce more food in the same area.

Water Recirculation and Conservation

We're very proud of how our systems minimize water use. Our greenhouses recycle water and use much less than traditional farming. We also capture water from the air inside the greenhouse and reuse it. This method can save up to 98% water compared to traditional outdoor farms​.

Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA)

Eden Green’s greenhouses control the environment to create perfect growing conditions. We carefully manage the temperature, humidity, and light to optimal levels for each plant. Because they're closed systems, our greenhouses also reduce problems with pests and diseases.

Proprietary Technologies

Eden Green has some unique technologies that make their system even better:

  • Microclimates: We create different growing conditions for various plants within the same greenhouse. We aim to ensure that each plant in our greenhouses has the optimal conditions for peak growth.

  • Mobile Light Bars: Our lights can move and adjust to give plants the right kind of light at different stages of growth. This proprietary technology has given us a 60% boost in yield while using 90% less light energy than typical vertical farms.

  • MEP Containers: These special containers help keep the environment stable for our plants. They are designed to be easily shipped and set up quickly. This allows us to hit the ground running in new locations or environments.

Nutrient Management

In Eden Green’s system, plants get a carefully mixed solution of nutrients directly to their roots. This precise feeding helps plants grow faster and produce more than plants grown in soil.

Community and Sustainability Initiatives

Eden Green is also committed to helping the community and the environment. We donate up to 10% of their harvest to local charities and create jobs by offering year-round work. Our systems reduce environmental impact, making hydroponic farming a sustainable way to grow food​.

Eden Green’s hydroponic processes show how modern technology can improve farming. The result is better efficiency and sustainability. Our goal is to make fresh, healthy foods more accessible to at-risk populations. We hope that this will help combat the rise of food insecurity and eliminate food deserts.

Which System Does Eden Green Use?

At Eden Green, we use a Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) system. This advanced hydroponic system saves space and increases efficiency. In our greenhouses, nutrient-rich water flows past the roots of the plants, giving them everything they need to grow. This method ensures that plants get both water and air, which helps them grow strong and healthy​.

Why Doesn’t Eden Green Use Soil?

We don’t use soil because we believe hydroponic systems have many benefits over traditional farming. Hydroponics allows us to control the growing environment better, which means plants grow faster and produce more. Not using soil also avoids problems like soil-borne diseases and pests. Additionally, hydroponics uses up to 98% less water than traditional farming because we recycle water in our systems.

What Is the Best Hydroponic Media?

The best hydroponic media depends on the plant's needs. At Eden Green, we use different types of media, including:

  • Rockwool: Sustainable and recyclable, it holds water well and provides good airflow.

  • Coco Coir: Made from coconut husks, it’s eco-friendly and retains water effectively.

  • Peat Moss: When sourced sustainably, it offers excellent water retention and aeration.

Sometimes, we mix different media to create the perfect growing conditions for specific plants.

What Is the Best Color for Hydroponic Grow Lights?

The best color for hydroponic grow lights depends on the plant’s growth stage. We use different light colors to help plants grow:

  • Blue Light: Helps plants grow strong leaves.

  • Red Light: Encourages plants to flower and produce fruit.

  • Full Spectrum Light: Mimics natural sunlight and supports overall plant growth.

By using the right light colors, we can ensure that each plant receives the best conditions for growth at every stage of its life.

How Do Hydroponic Plants Get Nutrients?

A nutrient-rich water solution delivers nutrients directly to plant roots in hydroponic systems. This solution has all the essential minerals and nutrients plants need to grow. Because we control the nutrients precisely, our plants grow healthier and produce more than plants grown in soil​​.

What Kind of Nutrients Do You Give Hydroponic Plants?

The nutrient solution we use has a balanced mix of essential nutrients. Important nutrients include:

  • Nitrogen (N): Vital for leaf growth and overall development.

  • Phosphorus (P): Supports root growth and flowering.

  • Potassium (K): Promotes plant health and disease resistance.

  • Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulfur: Important for cell structure and function.

  • Micronutrients: Iron, manganese, zinc, copper, molybdenum, boron, and more are needed in small amounts. These micronutrients are crucial for plant health and optimal growth.

These nutrients are dissolved in water, making it easy for plants to absorb them and grow well.

What Is Next for the Hydroponics Industry?

The hydroponics industry is rapidly evolving with new technologies and methods. Future advancements are likely to focus on:

  • Automation and AI: More growers are using automation and AI to improve their operations. These technologies will optimize plant growth, improve efficiency, and reduce labor costs. They will also help in making data-driven decisions for better crop management​.

  • Seed Development: Companies are developing seeds specifically bred for hydroponic systems. These seeds are designed to thrive in soilless environments. Their implementation will result in higher yields and better quality produce​.

  • Sustainability: The industry continues to prioritize sustainable practices. These include reducing water usage and minimizing environmental impact. Hydroponic systems use far less water than traditional farms. They can also be established in urban areas to reduce food miles​.

  • Expansion into New Markets: Hydroponics is expanding beyond leafy greens and herbs. This expansion will include fruits, vegetables, and even medicinal plants. This diversification helps meet the growing demand for fresh, local produce year-round​.

  • Educational Programs: More universities offer controlled environment agriculture and hydroponics programs. These courses are helping to train the next generation of growers and researchers​​.

How Does Someone Get Started in Hydroponics?

Starting a commercial hydroponic farm requires careful planning, investment, and ongoing management. If you want to join the hydroponics industry, consider exploring career opportunities with Eden Green. Visit our careers page to explore available jobs and how you can become part of the future of sustainable agriculture. We have opportunities for all levels of experience, including entry-level positions. 

What is Hydroponic Gardening?

Hydroponic gardening is similar to hydroponic farming but on a much smaller scale. Hydroponic gardeners often operate in their own backyards or a room inside their homes. They may sell their produce on a small scale within their community, but more often are growing for their own use.

Growing with Eden Green

Join us at Eden Green and be part of the future of farming. We're a top resource for retailers wanting to add high-quality hydroponic produce to store shelves. We offer white label services for all of our hydroponic produce. 

We also offer an attractive solution for investors interested in sustainable agriculture. We invite you to explore our blog, take a virtual tour of our greenhouses, and see how our innovative technology can benefit the community.

Contact us today to learn more about partnering with Eden Green. Together, we can grow a healthier, more sustainable future.

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