ARE PESTICIDES USED IN HYDROPONICS?

Nowadays, it is impossible to cultivate crops intensly without the use of pesticides.

In order to cultivate crops, be it on a subsistence level, as a hobby or commercially, we will always be disrupting the environment due to our forcing the predominance of one plant species over others.

And each time that we provoke an imbalance, we will be subject to the infestation by a wide variety of species of pests from different sources.

In order to minimize these insect attacks, it is up to us to curtail the changes provoked in the environment.

Nevertheless, insects will always be present, and to eradicate them or at least reduce them to a minimum, we have to use various tools, among them, pesticides.

It is a mistake to take the position that all pesticides are harmful to human health.

We must remember that as long as properly used, poisons that kill also cure. Snake bite poisoning is cured by the controlled ingestion of the same snake’s poison.

There are natural and artificial pesticides, and the natural ones are not usually hazardous to men.

The most natural pesticides found are those pertaining to the plants themselves, for example the Mexican Marigold (Tagates minuta L.), a member of the Marigold family, or the Neem tree of Indian origin.

For centuries, it has been common to plant insect repelling plants in the middle of orchards.

Neem trees are also planted in orchards as they exhale basic substances which have insect repellant properties.

It is also very common to spray teas and or infusions prepared from insect-repelling plants.

The tea or infusion extracted from Neem leaves is a very strong insect repellant both on plants and animals.

From the Neem tree one can also extract various basic substances used for medicinal purposes, so much so, that in India this tree is known as The Villages’ Pharmacy.

Besides the Neem tree, teas or infusions extracted from tobacco, garlic or pepper, used together or otherwise, repel and kill many insects.

However, today, one should no longer use tobacco leaf extracts as its basic substance, nicotine, has been proven to be cancerous when used without restrictions.

We must remember too that tobacco tea or infusion, can spread the Tobacco Mosaic Virus.

In addition to artificial pesticides however, we need to consider the organic and the inorganic ones.

The inorganic ones, when used sparingli, are generally not hazardous to human health or other superior animals, and are easily washed off plants with water.

Thus, they cannot be considered as residual and in fact, many of these are made of metal salts often necessary to humans in minute quantities, known as micronutrients.

On the other hand, the majority of organic pesticides leave some residue on plants, and over the long run, even small quantities are hazardous to humans and other warm-blooded animals.

Unfortunately, these are the most widely used in extensive agriculture, and in an uncontrolled manner.

Hydroponic plants, besides being very healthy and resistant to many insect attacks, are usually harvested before such insects can do any harm.

However, when insects cause damage to hydroponic crops before harvesting, the use of  pesticides becomes necessary.

The natural ones are preferred by hydroponic farmers; when necessary, artificial inorganic pesticides may be used in minute quantities.

On those very rare occasions when pesticides have to be used in hydroponics, they are used in such small quantities, ranging from a tenth to a hundredth of a percent less when compared to Organic Agriculture or to Conventional  Agriculture.

It is exactly for this reason that it is generally said that in Hydroponics pesticides are not used, which up to a certain point is truth.

SETA