What Is Hydroponics?

At Greenhouse Farms, we grow lettuce in a controlled greenhouse environment using just water — no soil.

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water — without any soil at all. Since the nutrients are introduced into the plant’s water source, there is no need to have any soil.

The plants receive all nutrients through an exact solution that continually bathes the root system. The hydroponic system runs around the clock, consistently pumping water and nutrients to the lettuce plants.

Our hydroponic greenhouse is an enclosed system that runs 24/7. It’s very efficient in terms of water-usage because we recycle the water that’s feeding the lettuce plants.

It’s a rather intense production schedule. We are seeding, transplanting, and harvesting every week of the year in order to produce 10,000 heads of lettuce each month.

Our lettuce business is a year-round operation. The environmentally controlled atmosphere ensures the optimal quality of our delicious lettuce as temperature and humidity are kept within strict ranges — even through hot summer temperatures and cold winter temps.

Hydroponics takes its meaning from the Greek words “hydro” (meaning water) and “ponos” (meaning labor). Hydroponics literally means “water working.”

This type of agriculture (growing lettuce hydroponically inside a greenhouse) is more productive and more environmentally friendly than growing lettuce outdoors.

Here are 24 reasons to choose hydroponic lettuce:

  1. No chemicals – no fungicides, no herbicides, no pesticides, no fertilizers
  2. No pollutants or environmental contaminants (like dirt or bird droppings)
  3. Less chance of disease during the growing process
  4. All water is recycled, nothing goes into the ground
  5. No harmful agricultural run-off
  6. Zero weeds
  7. Insect-resistant
  8. 90% less water used
  9. Energy-efficient by using the sun’s natural light
  10. Controlled environment
  11. Space-saving
  12. Fewer resources required
  13. Cleaner lettuce; no soil involved
  14. Safer lettuce – less chance of E. coli, Salmonella & other foodborne illnesses
  15. More lettuce in 1/2 the time (10,000 heads of lettuce per month)
  16. Lettuce lasts 4x longer
  17. Highest quality nutrient-dense lettuce
  18. Consistent results
  19. Year-round harvesting
  20. Little to no waste
  21. Healthy for your body and the environment
  22. Locally-grown lettuce
  23. Farm to table in 30 days
  24. Supports the local community

Growing lettuce hydroponically (where the roots are receiving the perfect dose of water and nutrients at all times) speeds up the growth of the plant — which means we get more harvest cycles in each month (and all throughout the year) than a traditional soil lettuce farmer does.

Once a lettuce seed is planted in the growing medium inside our greenhouse and it’s placed in a slot in the hydro bed, the plant never needs to be touched again until it’s ready for harvesting.

Since we don’t use any pesticides on our lettuce plants, if any insects happen to make their way into the greenhouse, we release a few ladybugs onto the plants and let them go to work. The ladybugs eat the invaders and then fly off through the vents in the ceiling.

Hydroponics is a practice that is gaining popularity (locally and around the world) as consumers expect more than just iceberg lettuce in their salads.