- Oyelowo Mayowa Tuesday Jan 03, 2017
For starters, vertical farming employs the praxis of planting in perpendicularly loaded layers for the purpose of producing food. The practicality of such drill is commonly shown in a tower, a granary or storeroom, a large enclosed space and very recently, in the comfort of our homes.
In simple terms, vertical farming is the growing of plants in layers.
The prevailing concepts of vertical farming make use of enclosed crop raising methods and CEA Technology (controlled environmental agriculture), a case where it is possible and easy to control the ecological elements affecting the germination of plants such as the utilization of spurious regulation of light, the injection of fertilizers, soil amendments and water-soluble products into the system and environmental control of humidity, temperature, and gases present in the environment. The use of sunlight is also employed by various vertical farmers, a case similar to hothouses where sunlight is amplified using artificial lightning and polished metallic reflectors.
Methods Employed in Vertical Farming
Various methods have been used in modern vertical farming which includes the use of a tower, granary or enclosed large space. Several other technologies have been suggested and are researched upon, and they include greenhouse, composting, grow light, phytoremediation, precision agriculture, vertical growing architectures, hydroponics, flowerpot, agricultural robot, to mention a few.
Vertical farming is an innovative, effortless and highly productive farming technique, especially in vegetable farming. The method makes use of the various required resources to allow plants grow vertically as opposed to the conventional use of the surface of the horizon.
Vertical Farming At Home
Inventors and innovators have over the years come up with several ideas on how to practice vertical farming in the comfort of our homes and this include the DIY indoor vertical farm, an automated invention that has it's environmental and nutritional control on a portable device.
One factor, however, is widely neglected when a vertical farm is planned, and that is; the energy required for the construction and operational bustles of vertical farms which essentially works against the environmental advantages. Several small tech vertical farming systems have been introduced, such as the Window Farms, which employs the use of lamps, pumps, and electricity and is based on the concept of hydroponics.
Another is the ELIOOO which is not a device but manual that explains steps in building, operating and maintaining a variety of indoor farms which range from the small windowsill herb planter to a large mobile vertical garden. The ELIOOO is also based on the principle of Hydroponics which is revered for its ecological benefits, alongside its practical and design advantages.
Hydroponics, which fundamentally means growing plants in water as an alternative to soil makes less use of water than the usual farming methods, about 90% lesser water. The system requires smaller space, and it also makes growing easier as it gives users total control of the required plant nutrient at the growing stages.
Another widely accepted vertical farm is the DIY vertical farm, a robotic vertical garden which needs some hardware store parts making up the structure, electronic pieces necessary for the design and interior gardening requirements such as efficient and sufficient growing light, fans, a Carbon dioxide burner, in some cases, a grow tent and some other elements as determined by the farmer’s interest.
Requirements for Vertical Farming At Home
Running a vertical farm at home may not be so cheap after all, at least when starting up as it requires potential vertical farmers to purchase and install hardware components which may be expensive, it also requires a constant supply of electricity as the systems are automated. The technological ingenuity of the methods employed for vertical farming is in some cases high tech, thus stating the need for some level of know-how in operating the systems.
The Vertical Kitchen Home Garden
A much easier method, however, has been designed by Belgian Professor Willem Van Cottehem, a vertical kitchen garden system. This involved the transformation of ordinary plastic bottles into original containers on a container tower and can be used for growing various kinds of plants, fledgling trees inclusive. The water supply can also be made automatic without having to make use of electricity. With this method, there is hardly any lose of water, a phenomenon achieved through the minimization of evaporation and it is low cost because it makes use of waste materials and it surely is a system that can be used regardless of financial constraints.
Starting a bottle tower garden as described by the professor requires:
- Get plastic bottles of requirednumber
- Cut off the bottom of each bottle, leaving the lid of two of the , to be used as the bottle of the tower and funnel.
- Two holes on the , few centimeters from the top of the lid, one on either side. Holes are to serve as drainage where surplus water can .
- Pot soil, a mixture of manure and dirt is filled up to a few centimeters from the bottom.
- The next three bottles with pot soil and all four bottles placed on upon the , vertically.
- Another bottle, also without its lid on (the funnel) on the tower.
- The last bottle, with a tiny hole on its the empty serves as the water tank that supplies the tower with water running slowly through its hole.
- The whole network is to be held firmly together.
- Small windows on the soil filled bottles through which the root of seedlings and young plants .
The importance of Vertical Farming in a world of the ever increasing population cannot be overemphasized. Having a vertical farm at home means, one would be able to save more money regarding buying food. The controlled nutrition of plants also means that the produce of such farms is expected to be of a higher nutritional value which is good for human health. Vertical farms also ensure tight food security, the preservation of endangered species of plants and the conservation of resources, particularly land, as it is limited in availability.