23 march 2021
3 min
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How to grow vegetables and fruits in "vertical farms" without soils?

How to grow vegetables and fruits in

In recent years, a new method of farming has been practiced in agriculture in many countries - growing vegetables and plants in vertical structures. The new kind has been nicknamed as such, vertical farming. Adherents of this method name the growing products all year round, regardless of weather conditions, as an advantage. Besides, this type of farming does not require large areas of agricultural land.

Due to the growing interest of businesses in this type of farming, many companies have already managed to offer their technological solutions for growing agricultural products without the use of land resources.

As practice shows, the trend has been picked up by plant breeders, who having a wealth of practical experience began to create and produce structures for vertical farming themselves.

"A plant tower is a kind of miniature vertical farm. With our towers you can grow herbs, flowers, vegetables and fruits," says David van Stinkinste, formerly the founder of the vertical farming tower company.

To grow produce in the towers, seeds are first placed in a small block of natural stone fiber for soil-free germination. When an expert determines that the seedlings are ready, they are moved into the tower so that the plants' roots can grow in the structure itself. A special tank is used to prepare an ionic-mineral nutrient solution. A submersible pump is placed in the tank and sprays the solution through the center of the crop pots. After spraying the plants on all levels of the tower, the solution flows back to the lower reservoir through a special device.

"Growing vegetables and fruits in tower structures saves water by 95 percent compared to other traditional farming methods. In addition, vertical cultivation saves space. An area of 250,000 to 500,000 plants can be grown on one hectare," says the company's director.

Vertical towers can be placed both indoors and outdoors. And because no soil is used to grow the produce, the towers are very light and there is no inconvenience in moving them around.

As it turned out, in addition to herbs, fruits and vegetables in the towers perfectly grow even mushrooms. This was proved by tests of specialists. For the experiment, the company employees put the tower with the prepared seeds of mushrooms and chicory in a dark cellar. As a result, they managed to grow mushrooms and chicory within a short period of time.

At the moment the company offers two models of towers. For 20 plant species with a height of 1 m 50 cm and for 36 plants with a height of 2 m 10 cm. The smaller model, according to the company's experts, is particularly popular with amateur gardeners who want to grow vegetables and herbs in their garden, on the terrace or on the roof. Larger towers are of interest to catering companies, schools, hospitals, and fruit and vegetable wholesalers.

Mankind has not yet given up fossil fuels: coal, gas and oil, which release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and help to heat the earth. Therefore, it lacks moisture, which in turn negatively affects agriculture. And with the help of tower systems, everyone could grow their own product on a small plot, without harming the environment, according to the creators of "vertical farms".