Introduction to Vertical Farming
Vertical farming is basically growing food in layers that are stacked above each other — skyscrapers, shipping containers, warehouses and even in your own homes! Read on for more tips regarding setting up your very own vertical farm.
The essence of such a particular farming method is adopting indoor farming approaches and Controlled Environmental Agriculture (CEA) technology. CEA technology is where environmental conditions can be easily regulated to encourage the growth of plants. Some of these conditions include the amount of man-made light used, level of humidity and gases present, the temperature of the environment and also fertigation, which mainly controls the amount of fertilizers and the fertility of the soil. In some farms, sunlight is also used, as opposed to artificial light. The sunlight can be intensified by using devices to absorb and redirect the rays, just like in greenhouses.
As time passes, new techniques have been developed in modern vertical farming. These include making use of surrounding structures such as shipping containers, skyscrapers, and even warehouses. Apart from new locations, there has also been the incorporation of technologies in vertical farming. To name a few, there are precision agriculture, hydroponics and also an agricultural robot.
This method of farming is indeed creative, efficient and requires little effort, particularly in vegetable farming. It manages to use the existing resources and reconstruct it to enable plants to grow upwards, in comparison to the traditional method of growing on the ground.
Vertical Farming At Home
Many people have tried to devise ideas and incorporate new concepts on how to make vertical farming possible in our homes. The result is indoor DIY vertical farms, which makes use of automation where you get to control the environment and nutrition for your plants on your mobile device.
Yet, they missed the point that vertical farming, though, has the intention of being beneficial to the environment, requires a huge amount of energy to construct and upkeep; which outweighs the energy saved. In response to this, there has been an introduction of some relatively low tech systems which rides on the idea of hydroponics. For instance, Window farms adopt the use of pumps, lamps, and electricity instead of more complicated systems.
Another system would be the ELIOOO, which demonstrates and analyzes the theory behind the building, operation, and maintenance of indoor farms, be it its scale. It also hinges on the essence of hydroponics which is prized for being beneficial to the environment while being feasible in its features.
Hydroponics requires 90% less water as compared to traditional methods of growing plants in the ground. It also takes up less area and brings greater ease in the gardening process. The vertical farmers will be able to control the amount of nutrients provided throughout the growth.
Another concept is the DIY version of vertical farming which comprises the use of hardware parts with electronic devices. They all aim to provide sufficient light, atmospheric gas regulation, fans and even a grow tent. These can be modified according to the farmer’s intent as well.
Despite the ease of maintaining a vertical farm, the cost to set up is not very affordable. This is due to the need to invest and install the various devices and hardware which come at a price; along with a continuous supply of power to keep the systems running. The complex nature of technological systems adopted in vertical farming also requires some level of dexterity to maneuver and operate. It is crucial for potential vertical farmers to be tech-savvy.
Guide to Building A Vertical Garden In Your Home Kitchen
Does everything that we mentioned above still sound tedious to you? If it does, we do have a slightly easier option for you!
The vertical kitchen garden system. Making use of items that you can easily find at home; the use of existing resources will significantly reduce the effort needed. In this method, they have adopted the use of normal plastic bottles and converted them into containers that can be used as pots for the plants. Despite the flimsy appearance of such bottles, they are in fact, able to support the growth of even young trees! Water supply will not be a problem and is available without having to rely on electricity. The vertical farming method aims to create a self-sustaining mechanism where water is hardly needed by reducing the rate of evaporation. Furthermore, you will not even need to spend much since it relies on existing waste materials.
To start this exciting bottle garden, you will have to prepare:
- Six plastic bottles — shape and sizes are of your choice
- Slice the bottom of the bottles, creating an open bottom. Ensure that the lids of two bottles are still intact. They will form the bottom of the tower and also the funnel.
- Poke two holes on the bottles, just an inch or two from the top of the lid, one on both sides each. They are supposed to act as drainage for the excess water to be discharged.
- Add some potting soil at the bottom of the bottle, to a depth of a few centimeters. Pot soil consists of dirt and manure.
- The subsequent three bottles should also be filled up with pot soil accordingly. All the four bottles should then be stacked on top of each other, with the bottom bottle being the first at the lowest layer.
- Upon which, stack another bottle that is lid-less, to the top of the tower.
- The remaining bottle, with a small hole on its lid which is then shoved into the funnel, will become a water tank. It will provide the entire bottle structure with moisture that will seep through the small holes.
- Secure the whole framework.
- Plant the seedlings in the soil.
All in all, vertical farming brings about numerous environmental benefits. In the era of global warming and depletion of the earth’s resources, vertical farming is a simple way that everyone can adopt to do their part and save the earth. Furthermore, the plants grown through such a method are also higher in nutritional value. This is a win-win situation. So what are you waiting for? Start now!