2016 is almost over. For many, it's been a tough year, but for the hydroponics industry, it's been one of the best yet. Growth was strong, more players got into the market, and there were some very favorable post-election results for the industry. Checkout some of the 2016 highlights we saw below.
Scotts Miracle-Gro, a company known for its lawn-related products, recently purchased an 80% stake in countertop Hydroponics company, Aerogrow for $4.5 million. The symbolism here is more important than the amount invested. A very established company in a large, but stagnant vertical used its excess cash to look for growth opportunities in hydroponics. Our bet is that this is the first of many such types of moves we see.
Earlier this year, Ikea announced it would start selling its own home hydroponics kit. While this may not be welcome news for existing counter-top hydroponics system sellers, we feel it is very positive for the industry as a whole. The average person is still not familiar with hydroponics, or their only association is with cannabis (not necessarily a bad thing!). The best way to grow the industry is making the barrier to entry as low (and well-designed) as possible. While most folks who get one of these for Christmas likely won't expand beyond their counter-top, some will, and that's a level of exposure the industry as a whole can greatly benefit from.
The debate is going on new over whether hydroponics can fall under the "Certified Organic" label by the USDA. This could have huge implications for the marketability of hydroponic produce, especially to high-end consumers. We have our own opinions on the issue, but regardless of where you fall, the mere fact that the question is coming up speaks to the past and expected continued growth of the industry as a whole. Getting noticed is significant.
As noted in a previous post, more than 25% of Americans now live in a state where it is legal to purcahe recreational cannabis. And based upon how things are looking across the country, that number is only going to continue going up. November 8th, 2016 was a big day across the country, but it will go down as one of the bigger catalyst moments for the hydroponic industry.
There are so many moving parts in hydroponic systems that it is easy to forget about one of the most important factors...water. Water, which makes up most of the earths surface also is the majority "body". It requires aeration and circulation - not to mention, it's the driver of nutrient delivery. So, let's look at a few of the key aspects of water and how to optimize it for your hydroponics system. Poor quality water can cause toxicity problems; disease, pH problems and the blockage of drippers and plumbing.