Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops using soilless farming techniques such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics in vertically stacked layers. It often incorporates controlled-environment agriculture, which aims to optimise plant growth with nutrients, lighting and pH. Vertical farming is perfect for high density living areas or to save space.
BENEFITS OF vertical FARMING
Learn more about VERTICAL GARDENS
Hydroponics is simply described as growing plants without soil. Hydroponics allows you to control more of the variables including pH levels, lighting and nutrients for optimal plant growth and produce yields. Water is the main method of delivering the nutrients to the plant’s roots, combined with growing media to help support the plant. Hydroponically grown plants dip their roots directly into nutrient-rich solutions, so plants get more of what they need much faster and easier. Hydroponic farming can be used in locations where soil conditions are too poor to support farming, or where space is limited. It can be done anytime and anywhere!
ABOUT vertical farming
GROWING MEDIA &
The easiest way to encourage rapid root growth is by selecting a growing media that allows your plants to absorb as manny nutrients as possible (usually known as soil when referring to conventional grow methods), in this case hydroponics generally uses Coco coir, Perlite, Clay Balls or NFT (Nutrient Film Technique).
Coco Coir is much more aerated than normal soil, which means it doesn't hold as much water. This means you can feed the plants more frequently and increase nutrient delivery; which will result in faster overall plant growth. To learn more about Coco Coir visit our blog page.
There are a number of benefits to Hydroponic farming including:
Use less water - 90% more efficient use of water
Increase produce with faster growth times
No soil erosion
No chemicals, weed or pesticides
Grow all year round
Increase nutritional value
Decrease food miles
Farms can exist in places where soil is not favourable for food production
Less space - grow vertically
Light or sunlight is detrimental to plant growth. One of the primary benefits to growing outdoors hydroponically is the free light you get from the sun. In more traditional indoor farming setups, there are a number of lighting types to explore.
There are three main types of lights that hydroponic gardeners use to grow their plants. These are Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL); High Intensity Discharge (HID), which includes both High Pressure Sodium (HPS) and Metal Halide (MH) bulbs; and Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lights. Depeding on your set up we can help you choose the right ones!
A ventilation system is crucial to keep the CO2 content at optimal levels for the plants and produce to thrive.
The benefits of Hydroponic farming is the ability to manage pH and nutrients to make sure plants are getting the exact nutrients they need.
The ability to grow indoors allows farmers to control temperatures and lighting schedules to improve plant production. Systems can be designed to make use of vertical space and increase planting density.
Hydroponics allow the ability to create farms in locations where soil conditions are too poor to support farming, or space is limited and a farm otherwise couldn’t exist.
SYSTEMS & PLUMBING
There are six types of hydroponic systems; Drip System, Ebb & Flow, N.F.T, Water Culture, Aeroponics, and Wick.
The plants roots need 3 things, water/moisture, nutrients, and oxygen. Each system varies in specifics of how they make water and air available to the plants root system. It's important to choose the right system for your plant and space.
Larger scale farms and set up may require pluming and water circulation systems, so depending on your farm this is also really important.
Our Melbourne-based team is driven to create a positive and lasting change through sustainable Hydroponics systems. We’d love for you to join us on our mission to feed mankind in a way that values our precious natural resources and protects our planet, so why not shop our range of hydroponic products or get in touch with us for more information on sustainable growing.
YEAR ROUND CROP
Vertical farming allows us to produce more crops from the same square footage of growing area. In fact, 1 acre of an indoor area offers equivalent production to at least 4-6 acres of outdoor capacity. The efficient use of vertical farming may perhaps play a significant role in providing fresh produce to growing population and urbanisation.
As crops are produced in a well-controlled indoor environment without the use of chemical pesticides, vertical farming allows for pesticide-free and organic crops.
Indoor vertical farming can significantly lessen the amount of fossil fuels needed for farming equipment, and reduces occupational hazards associated with traditional farming. It also helps improve biodiversity as it does not disturb animals and trees or cause land and soil damage.
Vertical farming allows us to produce crops with 70-95 percent less water than required for normal cultivation and can be recycled. This means less waste, less usage and more food production.
When it comes to food production, the last-mile delivery is usually the most expensive part of the supply chain. And it’s not uncommon for crops to be shipped across continents and oceans.
Growing food closer to where the consumer lives is a massive vertical farming benefit as it can massively reduce transportation costs, CO2 emissions and reduce the need for refrigerated storage – making produce fresher and more profitable.
Crops in a field can be adversely affected by natural calamities such as torrential rains, cyclones, flooding or severe droughts—events which are becoming increasingly common as a result of global warming. Indoor vertical farms are less likely to feel the brunt of the unfavourable weather, providing greater certainty of harvest output throughout the year.
Eliminates agricultural runoff
No weather related crop failures
Offers the possibility of sustainability for urban centres
Adds energy back to the grid via methane generation
Creates new urban employment opportunities
Reduces the risk of infection from agents transmitted at the agricultural interface
Returns farmland to nature, helping to restore ecosystem functions and services
Controls vermin by using restaurant waste for methane generation
Learn more about Hydroponics
How does this fishy stuff work?
Aquaponics involves breaking down toxic ammonia and turning it into nutritious plant food called nitrates, using two types of nitrifying bacteria – nitrosomas and nitrospiras. When fish produce ammonia it attracts a type of bacteria called nitrosomas. These guys and gals convert the ammonia into nitrites – a compound even more toxic than ammonia.
Thankfully, however, nitrites attract another type of bacteria called nitrospiras who then convert the nitrites into nitrates – excellent food for plants, and mostly harmless to fish. Once this has happened the aquaponic cycle is complete and once stabilised, will ensure ammonia levels are kept at a minimum while providing maximum nutrition for the plants. The benefits are incredible!
Aquaponics uses 90% Less water
Aquaponics is one of the most efficient and cost effective ways to grow food. Aquaponics uses 90% less water than conventional farming. This is made possible by the nature of Aquaponics itself. Water usage is minimal as recirculated waste and tank water is continuously recycled and consumed as the plants need it. This is what we call a "symbiotic" relationship between fish and plants.
Another great thing about Aquaponics is that we can monitor plant nutrient uptake and water evaporation. Once water levels drop you can simply top up the Aquaponic grow kit with tap water. Lucky we have great quality water in Australia. There are only small adjustments we need to make such as pH.
Aquaponics Grows plants up to 100% faster
Conventional gardening and farming relies on seasons, sunlight, frequent watering, nutrient additives, chemical pesticides and changing weather conditions to maintain growth. Under optimal growing conditions conventional farming still has to deal with many elements. These challenges can prevent plants from being their best self.
Aquaponics is a completely controlled method of farming that relies on a range of protected cropped techniques, timed lighting, humidity, water temperature, nutrient input, pH and EC. Our ability to control seasons gives us a way to get plants growing very quickly. This does not stress the plants as they are receiving all the nutrient they need for healthy growth.
Aquaponics is pesticide & Chemical-free
Aquaponics does not require pesticides or nasty chemicals to support plant survival. The combination of indoor shelter and growing conditions means that plants are almost completely protected from pests and insects. In saying that, pests always seem to find their way into gardens. Keep an eye out!
Growers are also forced to use organic nutrients and fish food. Feeding fish anything that isn't organic will result in sick fish and unhappy plants. Basically, it's a fool proof way to ensure that your food is completely organic and chemical-free.
Aquaponics let's you grow all year round
Rain, hail or shine... It won't make a difference. As mentioned previously, you can control everything about your Aquaponic garden. Whether you're in a Melbourne apartment, Perth classroom or Sydney office, you can grow all your favourite fruit and vegetables all year round. Special energy efficient LED grow lamps allow plants to absorb PPF and act as the sun. This means you can switch seasons by simply changing the lighting schedule. It's pretty cool!
Aquaponics means no mess and little maintainance
Aquaponic gardening means there is no soil, dirt, cold weather and wet shoes. Harvesting your aquaponic plants is also a breeze as the roots are clean of soil.