Hyderabad: Rapid urbanisation and the looming water shortage will change the traditional style of farming, says Satya Narayan Reddy who started Hyderabad’s first hydroponic farm in Kukatpally. It is a half-acre vertical garden says, Satya Narayan.

Hydroponics is a farming technique in which no soil is used for cultivation. Instead of soil, clay and LECA (Lightweight Expandable Clay Aggregate) balls are used to grow plants. The technique is widely used for growing leafy vegetables.

Farm Pictures

Satya says, “This technique has been in use for a long time in European countries, but it is now slowly gaining pace in India. In future, I hope that many Indian farmers will adopt this technique.”

The grower says hydroponics is the best method for organic farming. Pesticides are completely avoided and iron-rich clay balls are made for the plants. Satya grows lettuce, kale, basil, amaranths, palak and coriander in his farm. He also helps people set up hydroponic farms.

There are two types of hydroponics, according to Satya. One is active which is used for growing leafy vegetables, while for other vegetables, the passive hydroponic technique is used. A mixture of coco peat, perlite and vermiculite is used to grow plants. In this mixture, vegetables like brinjal and tomato can be easily produced. Satya says, “The yield of hydroponic plants is three times higher than the yield of soil-grown plants. No pesticide is used, so the vegetables are completely organic.”

One more benefit of hydroponics is that the plants are protected against soil-borne diseases. “Around 40 per cent of plant diseases come through the soil. As hydroponics doesn’t use soil, plants can be protected from those diseases. The nutrient content in clay balls can be adjusted according to our requirements which is not possible if it’s soil. As soil is not used, the usage of pesticides can also be avoided, which makes hydroponics produce 100 per cent organic.”

Aiswarya Sriram

Aiswarya Sriram is a budding multimedia journalist and is currently working for NewsMeter as a "Factcheck Freelancer". A graduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, Aiswarya has earlier worked with The Logical Indian and has interned with Republic TV. Aiswarya, a Tamilian who was born and brought up in Mumbai, loves to do rural reporting. She has visited Byadgi Taluk of Karnataka, to write about the issues faced by chilli factory workers there, earlier in 2019. A craft enthusiast, Aiswarya also does quilling, painting and glass work. On her off-days, she loves to read crime-thrillers and watch anime. She primarily reports on civic issues, GHMC, human-interesting features, and fact-checking video stories.

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