HYDROPONIC / ORGANIC?
Hydroponic and organic methods have similarities and differences.
The ultimate goal is to grow produce that is safe and nutritious without the use of synthetic pesticides and harmful chemicals.
FARMING FOR THE FUTURE
The Homestead’s main goal is to produce the highest quality produce possible using sustainable agricultural practices. Before we even knew how well the produce would keep and taste, we loved the idea of growing hydroponically because we are only using about 1/10th the amount of water than traditional farming, we can grow twice as much food in the same amount of space, provide the longest local growing season possible, utilize structures that provide shade and protection from environmental obstacles, and we don’t rely on the ground itself for the actual space to grow.
The facts of growing in Florida cannot be changed, each and every farm has the same problems: extremely high heat and humidity, pest populations and an array of fungal and plant-killing diseases. These obstacles we have can certainly be difficult (anyone used to growing up north, then comes down to FL finds themselves in a whole new world!), and The Homestead is always searching for the safest, most natural ways to combat these.
You can see from our farm photos that we have plants elevated up off the ground, under green houses allowing us to grow 100% pesticide free greens!
For other plants that need assistance in fighting the environmental elements, just as in organic farming, we apply beneficial, organic biological controls. If you’re not as familiar with this term, we highly recommend some research. Mighty microbes are truly beneficial to the plant itself as well as acting as a major defense against plant-killing bugs. In addition to organic controls, we’ve incorporated Integrated Pest Management (IPM) into The Homestead. Scroll below.
|-Fertilizers feed the plant directly||-Fertilizers feed the soil|
|-Plant roots spend little energy as nutrients are fed directly||-Plants spend more energy searching for the nutrients supplied to the soil|
|-Water conservator; only about 1/10 of the water used compared to traditional farming||-More water is required to feed the plants as much is soaked throughout soil|
|-Soil and quality of soil is not relevant or used||-Soil quality is imperative for plant growth|
|-Plants are grown in a controlled environment, such as a greenhouse or shade house||-Organic environments may use green or shade houses, but not very typical|
|-Produce is grown above the ground, and does not come in contact with soil||-Produce is grown in the dirt and may have environmental or animal residue|
INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT (IPM)
Integrated Pest Management, an eco-friendly method of pest control. We invite naturally defensive insects into our farm to protect our produce from the pests that are not necessarily invited and/or welcome. Lady bugs are a fantastic defense against aphids and other insects- we utilize them often. We’ve also incorporated flowers into the farm that also attract beneficial insects and help us control where the pesky ones tend to camp out and eat. This method of pest control is one of our favorites to utilize because we are working with our surroundings and environment instead of against it.
Flower rows are planted along the shade houses in order to assist in attracting the beneficial insects. In doing this, we’ve come across spiders and wasps snatching up worms eating our beautiful plants, and tried to capture some of those moments for you!
One other difference between organic and hydroponic farming are the fertilizers used. Organic fertilizers require a living source, such as livestock manure, bat guano, etc. These are not water soluble and can not be used in hydroponic fertilizers. Hydroponic fertilizers are natural elements mined out of the ground and can be dissolved in water. Whether phosphorus is mined rock phosphate or from bat guano, it can only be recognized by the plant as an “ion” of phosphorus.