Hydroponics in Urban Farming

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Urban farming is a challenge for those without large lots.  For culinary fiends craving fresh lettuce, microgreens and other treats year-round without having to break the bank, vertical growing systems are one source of horticultural happiness.  Large cities such as New York and Chicago provide flourishing markets for fresh produce.  Commercial growers with time and energy to set up shop nearby can capitalize on a “growing” market.

Hydroponics Basics
Hydroponics gardens grow in water, nutrient solutions, air, or different growing media such as vermiculite or coir.  Hydroponically grown plants do not grow in soil.  Nutrient solutions given to plants in hydroponics gardens provide necessary minerals, nutrients and water needed for optimum plant growth without soil.  A variety of hydroponics growing systems abound, including new vertical growing systems.

Starting with Strawberries
Vertical hydroponics growing systems were first conceived as a better way to grow strawberries.  Strawberries are susceptible to many organisms in the soil that formerly were eradicated with chemicals.  Once such chemicals were taken of the market (and for good reason), strawberry farmers were at a loss until vertical growing systems were invented.

The company Verti-Gro, founded and operated by Tim Carpenter, was the original company to pioneer ways to grow strawberries vertically, and without soil.  Carpenter developed his systems and methods to fill a need for commercial strawberry farmers.  He has since expanded his enterprise to include methods for growing herbs, lettuce, spinach and other greens vertically.

Valcent Vertical Farms
Valcent Products, Inc. is a company that specialized in HDVG systems, or High Density Vertical Growth systems.  The company’s mission is to develop ecologically and economically feasible solutions for the future.  Their latest HDVG system produces twenty times the amount of vegetables that the same amount of field space would produce.  The system also uses only 5% of normal “flat” farms producing the same crops.

Providing the ability to farm in reduced space will make Valcent’s products even more desirable in the future.  Increasing fuel costs make trucking produce over long distances less economically feasible.  As commercial fertilizers are derived from petroleum products as well, the ability to grow abundant crops without such fertilizers is a must.  Vertical farming systems also allow areas that cannot support traditional farming systems to produce fresh food locally.

Healthful Hydroponics
Hydroponics gardening and high density vertical growing systems open the door to more locally produced food.  Such food is served earlier and is fresher, retaining more nutrients for the consumer.  Locally grown produce is harvested at a later, more mature stage, also a contributing factor to nutrient levels.  Because the produce grown locally does not have to travel long distances and wait for purchase and consumption, waxes, pesticides and plant hormones are not needed to maintain the appearance of freshness.

Vertical hydroponics growing systems open the door for produce growth in every location imaginable.  Sustainable and economical, these hydroponics systems are the future of agriculture around the world.

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