Hydroponics refers to those techniques that are soilless. These soilless techniques are used for plantations. There are different kinds of hydroponics systems such as aquaponics, traditional hydroponics, aeroponics, and vertical hydroponics. In aquaponics, as the name suggests, fish is used as a fertilizer to grow plants. In traditional hydroponics, various chemical solutions are used.
The aeroponics system involves the use of mist, and a vertical hydroponic system is operated by a vertical gravity-fed system. In this particular system, water is added from the top and is accumulated at the bottom.
Vertical hydroponics system offers multiple advantages over conventional plant-growing methods. In general, a hydroponic system can be created in a greenhouse using sunlight, or it can be grown using light-emitting diodes.
Merits of The Vertical Hydroponic System
Following are some of the general benefits of a vertical hydroponic system.
Free of soil
One-fourth of the earth is made up of arable land, which provides a great opportunity to grow plants and crops. However, drastic changes in climate and deteriorating farming experiments have imparted a hazardous effect on soil. Soil erosion is a huge indication of imminent danger to food protection.
Consequently, an urgent requirement of an alternative technique became necessary, and new procedures and techniques are required to fulfill the increasing population’s food demand. Vertical hydroponics is one of those inventory approaches that is formulated to provide a cropping system without soil that can efficiently function anywhere, specifically for urban areas.
The hydroponic system has the capability to grow in urban areas. Urban areas have huge soilless land which can be used for hydroponics. Consequently, leafy crops can be sent to local restaurants and markets easily with lesser time and transport.
This also plays a role in reducing greenhouse radiation gases and decreases the waste of nutrients too. The hydroponic system permits you to supply fresh crops to the local market sellers and restaurants in an easier way.
Decreased use of water
A conventional cultivation system uses a considerable amount of water, while a vertical hydroponic system uses almost fifteen times a lesser amount of water. This is a significant benefit when we talk about water outages.
It has been observed that the conventional cultivation system uses 70% of water for agriculture purposes. That is why the vertical hydroponic system seems to be a befitting solution for plant-growing as crop requirement is increasing day by day with an increasing population.
Vertical hydroponics permits you to grow crops and plants in indoor settings, giving an optimized temperature and other environmental factors. Consequently, in this way, crop yield is increased, and crops can be cultivated throughout the year and playing a key role in minimizing the crop market lag.
Vertical hydroponics farms are created via light-emitting diodes for every individual crop. This accords you to make efficient use of tiny spaces, and you can quickly grow them in indoor house spaces.
Additionally, in vertical hydroponics, the roots of plants are not extended because the solution that is rich in nutrients is already augmented in their roots. This allows the plants or crop to grow in closer proximity using minimal space.
Minimal use of herbicides
Vertical hydroponics offers a regulated environment which also allows you to use minimal herbicides and pesticides because pests are already in control due to the indoor system. This also provides an additional benefit of food security and human health because even harvested crops seldom need to be washed.
Demerits of The Vertical Hydroponic System
Following are some of the general disadvantages of a vertical hydroponic system.
It is controversial that vertical hydroponics should be provided with an organic license or not. The reason behind this controversy is that vertical hydroponics is not cultivated via an organic resource. It has also been stated that since hydroponics is a soilless technique, so the lack of soil microbiome can impart a harmful effect on food excellence.
Finite crop variety
Vertical hydroponics only offers suitable cultivation and growth for leafy plants. It does not allow the cultivation of fruits because they require high-intensity light and a different temperature that cannot be achieved by a vertical hydroponic system. Due to finite and restricted crop variety, vertical hydroponics can never be a complete substitute for conventional cultivation methods.
To avoid any failure in the hydroponic system, it is essential to know about the technical details. In vertical hydroponics, leakages and electrical failures are very common; therefore, technical regulation on a daily basis is required, which can be a hassle at times.
Initially, the setup of a vertical hydroponic system can be expensive. The expensive equipment required for the setup is costly. However, after the raised cultivation rate of plants and crops, most of the initial expense is covered beneficially.
Working of a Vertical Hydroponic System
The first and foremost concept that should be understood about vertical hydroponics is that it is not conventional farming. In conventional farming, crop seeds are harvested inside the soil, which occupies enormous space. It is nearly impossible to protect those crops and plants from outside pollutants, pests, and dirt.
On the contrary, vertical hydroponics is grown on long, vertical towers in indoor spaces. All the plants are piled up over one another in a vertical hydroponics tower. The food and water supply to the entire row of plants is supplied through one system. Through this technique, farms occupy almost eighty percent lesser space and area as compare to conventional farming methods.
Vertical hydroponics can be grown in more miniature greenhouses preventing outside pollutants and dirt from contaminating the crops and plants.
The greenhouse effect of vertical hydroponics is keenly regulated. Various seasons can be created according to the requirement, which means that you can easily create an average harvest cycle of twenty-seven days. Consequently, this technique will provide you forty times larger yield than conventional farming methods.
Working on a Vertical Hydroponic Farm
In vertical hydroponic farms, plants are grown in water and not soil which means that essential nutrients to plants are suspended in the roots of plants via a water medium. Therefore, nutrients are available instantly for the plants and crops to grow.
In vertical hydroponic farming, all the nutrients are keenly regulated, which helps the plants and crops to grow more actively and rapidly—vertical hydroponics farming results in enormous yields of products.
Structure of a Vertical Hydroponic Greenhouse
The superior technology that is used for vertical hydroponics farming is “Eden Green’s Technology.” This technology is up-to-date and can be utilized in various research objectives. Eden Green’s greenhouse is created using walls of polycarbonate and s roof of polyethylene.
Their structure speaks for itself, which stands for that it is rapid and cost-effective to create and easily resizable for future purposes. It is ensured that a lesser amount of water is being used for irrigation inside the greenhouse space. A proper air conditioning and venting system are installed inside the greenhouse to maintain the quality.
The enhanced propagation system refrains all the pests from entering inside the greenhouse and ensures the production of safe and healthy crops.
Seed Life Cycle in a Vertical Hydroponic Greenhouse
Seed lifecycle in a vertical hydroponic farm starts from the water where seedlings are sowed. They are provided their required period of time to nourish, mature, and adequately grow. When seedlings are properly sprouted, they are moved into the hydroponic tower, where stacks of multiple plants and crops are allowed to grow in lesser and smaller spaces.
The roots of the plants start to develop, and they grow by using all the nutrient-enriched water. Temperature and light are appropriately regulated to ensure the quality of the crop yield.
Different Plants That Can be Grown in Vertical Hydroponics Farm
Various leafy plants and crops can be grown in vertical hydroponics farm, which includes leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, mint, basil, and lavender. It also allows many experimental plants to grow using R&D technology, such as tomatoes, strawberries, and cucumbers. Vertical hydroponics come with some limitations and cannot recently produce potatoes, onions, and garlic.
Working of Vertical Hydroponic Farms on a large Scale
While a vertical hydroponics system can be easily grown in an indoor setting, it is easier to cater to smaller families and communities through it. However, it is nearly impossible to cater to a large number of people with limited and restricted resources, especially in an urban population.
It is not easy to fulfill people’s food requirements on a larger scale while marinating the same quality of leafy products as well. Currently, the hydroponics greenhouse is catering to around three million people, with its crop yield incorporating an outstanding taste.
It is also providing job opportunities to the people in urban areas, providing them regular wages and associated merits to the living communities where collaborative opportunities are often rare.
With numerous merits and advantages, vertical hydroponics also comes with many hurdles and obstructions. Yet, it provides a huge opportunity to create a more reliable and fruitful future in the farming field. It is essential to clarify the fact that vertical hydroponics farming is not a complete substitute for conventional farming methods.
Still, it is a viable alternative, especially for urban areas where there are many soilless areas present. Technological enhancements and augmentation in vertical hydroponics systems are in process, which means we can attach our hopes for further advancement in the near future.