Climate Change impacts soil conditions

Tue, Nov 24, 2009

Soil and Composts

Monsoon style rain here again in SE Englandwhich means the ground is absolutely sodden.Digging in the garden rather unpleasant as I have leaking wellies. Wet feet sent me back into the warm to blog about gardening in an attempt to keep my itchy green fingers busy.


Soil that is too wet or even too dry means planting times are having to change. A recent report by Defra and the Horticultural Development Company highlights the serious implications of this “We had not anticipated the impact climate change would have on soil conditions and how significant that would be. If growers cannot plant at the right time it throws everything out.Increasing winter rainfall and summer heat changes soil conditions and land preparation which means sowing and harvesting times all have to change.

QUESTION: What purpose does soil serve?

ANSWER: Soil holds nutrients, it is where plant roots “traditionally” live

Traditionally is certainly a word to be challenged. Alternatives to using soil for growing plants, especially food crops are now very popular and one proven system that uses water actually originated in Ancient History. Hydroponics (from the Greek words hydro =water and ponos= labour) is an effective method of growing plants using water with a mineral nutrient solution but without any soil.The earliest recordings of hydroponics were in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, where plants grew in a steady stream of water.

To day hydroponics is big business and commercial growers successfully use a variety of mediums.Its is very profitable in the USA as it produces guaranteed crops but is expensive to establish and much of it is grown under glass with heating which has huge environmental issues.Eurofresh Farms inArizona produces around 125 million pounds of tomatoes across 318 acres under glass and represents about a third of the commercial hydroponic greenhouse area in America.


Hydroponic systems are ideal for producing food in small spaces. It allows gardeners to grow plants in a more efficient and productive manner with less labour and time required.

With hydroponics you provide the exact nutrients your plants need, so they can develop and grow. The nutrients are fed directly at the root base, never stressing the plant due to lack of nutrients or water which

Dozens of different nutrient solution compositions have been suggested over the years, but most resemble each other fairly closely. The guidelines for nutrient solutions are that they contain nutrients in amounts that are proportional to plant tissue composition and in a total solution concentration that does not damage the plant. Nutrient solutions do not resemble normal soil solutions.

Virtually any plant will grow hydroponically, but some will do better than others. Hydroponic growing is ideal for fruit bearing crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, leafy crops, like lettuce and herbs and flowing plants. Most hobby hydroponic gardeners plant crops similar to what they would grow in a soil garden

Try building your own hydroponic system if you have had enough of digging in soggy soil this winter. Sounds challenging but there is an excellent step by step guide at?

This post was written by:

- who has written 872 posts on My Climate Change Garden.

I am not an experienced gardener - more of an enthusiastic amateur who learns by trial and error and who is keen to "manage" the effects of shifting weather patterns on my garden. Writing this blog is my passion and it has evolved over 12 years to inspire engagement with climate change outside our back doors, in our personal gardens and green spaces. My mission is to fertilise and expand this platform to grow a community of global gardeners communicating about the effects of climate change on our plants and exploring how each individual can make small changes in our lives to become more sustainable. The future of our gardens and #OurPlanet is in our hands - please plant your own seeds for our collective sustainable future.

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Elephant's Eye Says:

    Hydroponics produces toxic waste, once the plants are grown. The substrate carries a burden of fertiliser.

  2. Debbie Says:

    Thanks for your comments – I think there are strict controls on the content of the waste that can be produced and there is also a strong move towards organic.

    Here is another system that is totally organic and rather interesting.

    Hope all well and hot with you in S.Africa?