The population of the world will skyrocket by about 3 Billion come 2050. Maintaining the crude farming means this time will definitely result in reduced production of food for people. According to findings, close to 109 hectares land would be required to grow food that can sustain this scary population. Before that time, a sustainable farming means like vertical farming at home is necessary. This is to keep the world in good farming shape and to make farming an easy practice.
What Vertical Farming At Home Entails
Vertical farming at home is the act of producing food (planting) in vertically fixed strata in one’s home using some containers where plants are placed for easy germinations. This planting can be done in the dining, living room, garage, or anywhere in the home. This farm practice involves adequate monitoring but employs little labor force.
With vertical farming at home, cultivation is going sophisticated. You do not need loads of tractors or any coupled implements to help you in tilling and cultivations. No farmland in the rural communities, nutrient-rich soil, or sunlight is required to achieve this kind of planting.
Vertical farming at home can be done inside car garage without any stress. The idea works in any environment, be it urban or big city. Rooms less than 10”x10”can work for this agricultural system and even your corridors or kitchen.
Modern Ideas Of Vertical Farming At Home
The modern ideas of vertical farming uses indoor farming practices, and controlled environment agriculture (CEA) knowledge. This system makes it easy to prevent all forms of environmental factors that reduce production. Through this means, high revenue is generated since there is no possible attack within the environment.
Hydroponics is a farming system where plant roots are inserted into the nutrient-containing water instead of using soil, which contains nutrients. This process allows plants to be grown by exposing their roots to mineral-rich solutions. In some cases, they are achieved with the help of gravel or perlite. However, nutrients to feed the plants with may come from waste like duck manure, fish waste, or combined nutrients. This idea is usually employed in vertical farming at home.
Like Hydroponics, this method is also employed in vertical farming. It a means of growing plants in an air or in a mist arena, without using soil or any combined medium (geoponics). This vertical farming at home mechanism increase the production, no soil is required, grows faster, and does not consume much water (its water consumption is less than the outdoor Farms).
The idea involves the use of water and fish waste and requires no growing medium. It is a form of hydroponics since it requires water to transport nutrients.
Another technique employed in vertical farming at home is Hydroculture. This process involves growing plants in aquatic environments without soil. To feed the plants with nutrients, required minerals are distributed in water where the root of the plant is dipped into. Both Hydroponics and Hydroculture thread similar path
As we all believe that soil absorbs the minerals and nutrients which plants feed upon. The purpose is to help in absorbing nutrients that are latter consumed by plants as a liquid solution. This is telling us that soil itself is not basically involved in plant’s nutrients consumption cycle, the major purpose it does is to make the plant gain stability and to filter the nutrients in the soil.
Aside stability, which is obtained from soil, the roots of plants nursed with hydroponics have access to water and air continuously. The is even easier to maintain due to the fact that the root of plants are visible in a hydroponic environment. The requirement for an average plant’s survivals are water, nutrients, minerals, air and light. The moment these can be obtained, plants will grow no matter what. To maintain balance in vertical farming where the soil is not used, the substrate can he used instead. This will serve as a physical support for the plant, and make it stay upright.
Benefit of Vertical Farming At Home
- Opportunity To Grow Your Food
Through vertical farming for homes, growing your own food is a possibility and an interesting experience. All round the year, you can plant different kinds of crops, and harvest in a short time. Selling some parts and eating others is achievable through this system.
- Requires Less Water and Space
As stated earlier, vertical farming at home does not require large space. In fact, it can be practiced in environment battling with drought. This means require less than 99 percent of water requirement in traditional planting method.
You can start farming in your patios, terraces, even on your roof and kitchen provided there is little sunlight or bulb light.
- Cheap And Easy To Practice
Vertical farming at home is easy and cheap to build. The materials used in farming are cheap to get and can be achieved through the do-it-yourself mechanism.
- Produce Are Nutrient-Filled
Vertical Farming at homes gives plants the capacity of been nutrient-filled since pests and other problems rarely affect them. The conditions of these plants make them give a good output during consumption.
- High Return On Investment
Low cost of production required in vertical farming at home is increasing return on investment. With little cost in production, the output may be triple.
- Urban Renewal
According to United Nations, close to 6.5 billion people will be residing in the cities by 2050 and estimates that is almost 2 times of today. What this is saying is that people will turn rural communities where crops are planted to homes. To cater for this, planting in their homes will be of great help.
- Sustainable Food Production
Vertical Farming has a potential of providing the world with sustainable production of hygienic and different food supply because the production is year-round.
Take for example the use of hydroponics in vertical farming at home. If the hydroponics system is placed indoor, it is possible to grow crops during the off-seasons in which pests affect plants. So this save the cost of buying pesticide and helps in increasing production.
- Reduced Costs of Labour
Unlike other farming means, vertical farming at home requires low labour force. Little manual labour is what is needed on the site of farming which is your home. It can be considered a daily rotten to performed by the family. Members of the family do the planting and harvesting without bringing in external labour.
- Repair of Ecosystem
Vertical Farming at home helps in repairing depicting ecosystem that has been affected by horizontal farming mechanism.
- Low Energy Usage
High efficiency Light Emitting Diodes (L.E.D) are used in vertical farming. This technology reduces energy. The reduced energy helps in climate regulation. This means abolishes the usage of tractors, which uses fossil energy, completely putting an end to irrigation farming and equipment that uses too much energy.
- No or Little Cleaning Required
Since vertical Farming is mostly done indoor, it does not require much cleaning. Also, crops do not get affected by pests, there is no need to clean the crops of the pesticides used.
- Vertical Farms Saves Lives
Vertical farming, like other vertical farms is doing beyond the provision of foods; it is used as a means of aiding human’s health. There is a factory in Texas with the largest plant-producing drug facility.
Through vertical farming, tobacco plants and its types can be planted on stacks where they are used for making drugs or sold to companies that can use them to make drugs. Some plants planted with the aid of vertical farming are used to make vaccines because indoor farms are well managed, and prevented from having unnecessary diseases that may affect its viability.
- Increases Storage
Vertical farm produce can be stored in good condition without fear of them been affected since they have been prevented from diseases during planting. The possibility of them having field disease is very low. Another thing is that throughout the year, vertical farming produce can be available for purchase since it is not affected by draught or weather. This is even a storage mechanism itself.
- Low Cost of Transportation
Since vertical farming is done in homes, the cost of transporting farm produce is reduced compared to the traditional means of farming employed.
What Can be Planted With Vertical Farming at Home
You can grow any crop in a vertical farm at home including nursing tree if you have the right set up in place. However, you can choose some certain crops, to get a good experience of vertical farming at home. Another thing is that just picking any crops may not help since some crops are hard to sell.
It is recommended that to have a good return of vertical farming at home, greens crops are a good plant to farm. When we focus on plants that have a good and fast turn out, it is easy to continue with it for a long period without stopping.
In the same line, greens reduce the cost of planting like the amount used in purchasing fertilizers, and they are also demanded everyday by restaurants, homes, this will bring back revenue.
Growing greens take between 30-40 days to be harvested, but this is less for microgreens. This turn around increases the efficiency of production.
Microgreens can be planted using vertical farming at home. Microgreens are small vegetables used as flavor ingredients in restaurants. Microgreens are used in enhancing taste and aroma of cooked food. These plants generate different flavor, colors, and textures. They are regarded as exclusive greens used in soups, sandwiches, and salad. Interestingly, microgreens can be harvested after 10–14 days that it has been planted.
The germination of seeds, which are eaten either raw or cooked, called sprouting, can be achieved through vertical farming at home. Sprouts are uncooked food ingredients commonly used in Eastern Asian cookery. According to research, sprouting reduces anti-nutritional compounds in legumes. In malting Barley, sprouting process is applied.
Through home vertical farming, algae farming with high production capacity are achievable. Spirulina has a great health benefit when eaten. Research maintains that Just a small gram of Spirulina powder, when taken, have a great health benefit. Farming algae of this kind make the availability of Spirulina used in the prevention and treatment of ailments, which includes obesity, malnutrition, heart problem and even cancer possible.
Research substantiates that taking few grams of Spirulina brings satisfaction, and reduces the sugar in the food.
- Parsley, Mint, and Other Vegetables
These vegetables are demanded by local restaurants and can even be eating at home. Growing parsley is one of the many advantages of vertical farming at home.
A company in Japan has started producing strawberry with vertical farming. If this is achievable, it is also easy to plant strawberries in your homes.
How to do vertical farming at home
Vertical farming is achieved using different means.
- Vertical farming cost at home
The cost of producing vertical farming at home is very low compared to other traditional means. The labour force is reduced and can even be automated.
- Automated Vertical Farming at Home
To reduce the cost of labour, automated vertical farming is employed. A sprinkling of water on the root of the plants is done using this means. Right from your mobile device, you can control the mechanism used in your home farm without stress.
With this technique, it is possible to grow around 160 plants without doing excess labour. One interesting thing about it is that the system required a little amount to achieve. The device used in achieving this does not require a lot of material or too many gadgets to implement. But it requires available materials in the electronic market.
How to make your own low-tech vertical farm
- Plastic Bottles:
To achieve reduced cost, vertical farming in your homes is not hard the moment you can source for materials required. The use of plastic bottles is encouraged especially when it hydroponics is involved. Plastic does not take much space and can be picked from waste bins.
- Electricity Source:
You need a source of electricity to achieve this. Electricity is what you use to power your homes and areas where you plants are grown.
- Lamps (LED):
LED lamps will provide illumination for the environment. It will also serve as the source of light for the plants in your homes. LED lights give plants a good light spectrum reliable for adequate germination. The light acts as if it is been regulated since it suits all stages of plant growth. Aside from that, the lamp saves around 80% of energy, making it advisable for farming. The lamp dissipates little heat and hence, does not affect the plant negatively.
Pipes are required for transporting water which contains mineral into the root of the plants.
You can place your plants on a stand for accessibility purpose and for them to lean on something when growing up. Stands do not make your plants appear jam-packed. It creates space between each plant and makes them.
Bamboo is used as a separation between two plants in vertical farming for homes. It encourages air circulations in the farm areas. It gives support to plants.
How To Assemble
Vertical farm can be placed anywhere in your home. The system, in a case of hydroponics, is achieved with a containers or bottles punched at top. The containers are stacked at the on poles and connected to a pipe for water to flow through. The pipe, usually PVC pipes are fixed side by side for water to flow into them easily.
The use of perlite as a growing medium is advisable. This perlite can also be mixed with coconut coir.
Then, a reliable watering system is employed. A mobile controlled watering system is advisable for easy accessibility when not available. Also, the system requires a fertilizer tank, hanged beside the stacks. This will provide adequate nutrients the plant wants to be based on its requirements.
The watering means can be achieved using a pump, however, a large and good capacity pump is ideal for pumping in case the farm is big. It is the pump that makes the nutrient added to the water circulates around the plants’ roots.
Future of Vertical Farming At Home
Very soon, the need for all to start planting in homes will increase. Vertical farming in homes will increase to a commendable standard in urban society where there is no land to farm. When the price of produce soars, the zeal to start planting will increase among urban dwellers.