Guide to Vertical Farming
Vertical farming, also known as indoor farming, has gained a lot of recognition in recent years as a solid method of sustainability. Vertical farming has been conceived out of the challenges affecting the present, more specifically issues such as overpopulation, resource depletion, and food shortage.
Vertical farming is the process of production of food that takes the form of vertically inclined surfaces and vertically stacked layers. The method is typically executed without natural light or soil, and it is done inside a controlled environment building.
The method of vertical farming involves the following elements:
- Artificial lighting
- Humidity control
- Temperature control
- Control and monitoring of fertilizer and nutrients
Planning is essential when you’re a small to medium business that is undertaking vertical farming. You need to make sure that the costs for production aren’t too high and that you can sell the things that you’re growing.
How does vertical farming work?
- APhysical layout – Maximizing volume is the goal of vertical farming. The vertical tower structure comes from maximizing the output efficiency per square meter.
- Lighting – Optimizing light for the crop in vertical farming typically involves a mixture of natural lights and grow lights. The efficiency of light sources is increased by specialized technologies like rotating beds.
- Growing medium – For vertical farming, there are three different models. The first one is hydroponics, where lower water consumption and better efficiency are created by growing crops in water that is rich in nutrients and recirculated. Hydroponic farming is highly adaptable to the production needs and goals of the farmers due to the fact that it is scalable in cost and size. It includes methods like the Wick System, Nutrient Film Technique, Ebb and Flow, Deep Water Culture, and Drip Irrigation. The second method is aeroponic farming that uses a periodic timer to spray crops with a mist that is nutrient-based on a frequent basis, and it involves no water, sunlight, or soil. Intensive labor is reduced, and water is conserved thanks to the nutrients that are delivered to the plants’ roots by aeroponics. Without soil, all crops are easily harvested, and another great benefit to this method is its scalability. Lastly, the third method is aquaponics. Aquaponics is the practice of cultivating both plants and fish. The plants filter the water for the fish, while the fish provide beneficial bacteria and nutrients to the plants. This method creates a highly balanced and productive ecosystem with many benefits, including its approach that conserves water.
- Sustainability – Energy costs in a vertical farm can be offset by many built-in sustainable features like multipurpose spaces, wind turbines, and rainwater tanks. When compared to conventional farming practices, vertical farming uses less water, and it does not depend on seeds for the growth of seeds, which increases the revenue throughout the entire year.
Something that is a necessary element of vertical farming is patience. The total amount of time it takes to introduce a seed into the farming system, grow it, harvest it, sell it at the market, and serve it on your plate is known as a turn. When it comes to crops you can grow, there are two different types between which you can choose, and those are slow turn crops and fast turn crops. You can pick one or both for your vertical farm, depending on your requirements, needs, and growing reason.
Fast turn crops include basil, chives, mint, parsley, cilantro, collard greens, mustard greens, chard, cabbage, lettuce, and different microgreens. These fast turn crops typically take up about six weeks in order to be produced.
On the other hand, slot turn crops are a bit harder to grow. However, when it comes to revenue, slow turn crops bring higher revenue when compared to fast turn crops. These include herbs that are woody, such as rosemary and oregano, and fruiting crops such as tomato and strawberry. If you’re a beginner grower, a good rule of thumb is to plant 20% herbs and 80% greens.
Vertical farming can be as large or as small in scale – it all hinges on the requirements and the goals that the farmer has. Having a vertical farm can benefit your business and home, providing your whole community with a reliable source of fresh products.
How Can UbiBot Help?
The UbiBot GS1 is a reliable sensing device that supports Cellular and Wi-Fi cable connections. The data is instantly visualized through the LCD screen on the device. You can use the UbiBot GS1 supports multiple types of external probes you can use for your vertical garden, including external CO2 probe, soil temperature/moisture sensor, and TH30S-B temperature and humidity probe.