Soil vs Hydroponic Gardening – Pros and Cons

Soil vs Hydroponic Gardening – Pros and Cons

Jul 16, 2021nate

Things are about to get a little bit dirty here at Urban Leaf, and we wanted to explain why…

We’re Going To Be Launching A Range Of Soil-Based Indoor Gardening Kits

As some of you will recall, Urban Leaf launched in 2017 via a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter with a project called The World’s Smallest Garden. We still sell an iteration of this same product today, although they’ve become known as Bottle Gardens.

These Bottle Garden kits are used to upcycle a decorative bottle into an apartment-friendly hydroponic (soil-free) planter. We still love our Bottle Gardens, and with their small footprint + ease-of-maintenance we’re tickled to know that this product has helped tens of thousands of aspiring gardeners take their first steps toward becoming a gardener. 

But we have bigger dreams, and those dreams require a change of approach.

Soil vs Hydroponic Gardening – The Key Differences

So why are we getting into soil-based products? And what does this mean for our product range? Let’s start with the basics.

A common misconception related to plants is that they require soil to grow. They don’t. What plants get from soil is:

  1. nutrients and minerals and
  2. structural support to hold themselves in place (via their roots).

In our Bottle Gardens, plants get fed by nutrients dissolved in the water (we enrich the smart soil), and structural support comes from the case that sits inside the neck of the bottle. 

So, what’s the problem with that?

We’ve had the pleasure of talking to hundreds of you, our awesome followers and customers, over the past couple of years and something that you’ve made abundantly clear is that you want to grow a greater variety of edible plants. You want to grow vegetables, rosemary, tomatoes and some of you even aspire to grow lemon trees indoors  (:

In order to support a wider range of edible plants, and provide a way to grow them that is both convenient for you and healthy for the plants, we need to offer different growing environments. Bottle Gardens, and hydroponics more broadly, is best for plants that have modestly sized root structures and like very wet soil conditions. We cannot offer Mediterranean style herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and oregano that like drier conditions without changing the grow environment. 

The main advantages of hydroponics vs soil is the maintenance they require. All hydroponic grow setups rely on a reservoir of water that has been enriched with nutrients, and the plants are set up in such a way that they can water themselves as and when they need to. Soil, by comparison, requires more work as it relates to watering. 

The main advantage of soil vs hydroponics is the diversity of plants it can support. Soil can be dry or it can be wet. It can be sandy or it can be peaty. It can be free-draining or it can hold water. There are just a lot more options when it comes to soil, and that means it can grow a much wider range of plants. 

We’ll be launching our first-ever soil-based beginner gardening kit in November 2019 with a basic selection of culinary herbs, and we plan to add more seed/plant variations in the months that follow. 

What would you like to be able to grow at home? Fruits? Vegetables? Flowers? Exotic Herbs? Something else? We’d love to hear from you. We check comments daily, so feel free to leave yours below, and if you’d like to receive our launch-deals and special savings make sure you follow us on Instagram and Facebook (links below).

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