Mumbai College Students Have Grown Vegetables Without Soil – Is This The Future?

The future is here! Plants don’t need soil to grow anymore. Or at the very least, it’s not an absolute necessity now, when you use hydroponics. Although hydroponics may sound like a fairly daunting word, it turns out it’s been around for quite a few years now. The only reason people don’t consider it a viable option is due to the amount of effort it requires. Plants grown through this method need constant attention.

However, students in Mumbai, from Ramnarain Ruia college have used only hydroponics to grow a variety of vegetables on the roof of their college. With an area spanning of about a 1000 square feet, the plants were kept within a polyhouse — a semi-circular structure made out of plastic that reduces heat and filters the sun’s radiation. Hydroponics works on the notion that a plant can survive without soil, as long as it receives an adequate amount of nutrition. The plants are normally suspended, with only their roots submerged in a mineral solution consisting of nutrients dissolved in water.

The amount of effort may seem excessive, but considering the benefits hydroponics could potentially offer, it leaves little room for argument. Moreover, since this could potentially be used in urban areas, where a lack of soil is a problem that crops up constantly, the initiative to do this project has been lauded by many. It has also been proven that hydroponics increases the shelf life of vegetables, while plants tend to bear fruits faster. In an article by the Free Press Journal, Shrutika Kumthekar, a faculty member of Ramnarain Ruia college, said, “A plant which takes over a month to grow, grows in a period of 20 days with this technique. The fruiting of various plants is also faster as compared to the usual process of growing plants in soil. The fact that the nutrient content is in control in this method, helps to increase the shelf life of these plants.”

Besides an immediate benefit for the urban landscape, this method would also aid commercial purposes. The students are currently growing plants like Lettuce, Basil, Mint and Spinach, and say that hydroponics can be handled in a domestic setting too.

Feature Image Credit: CityCrop

Words: Cara Shrivastava


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