Don’t let a busy lifestyle and lack of outdoor space curb your dreams of sustainable living! A vertical hydroponic garden is the definitive low-maintenance gardening technique that offers delicious chemical free produce, benefitting your body, pocket and the environment.
Vertical gardens are a fantastic, compact solution for apartment dwellers or those with limited outdoor space. They create a wonderful living feature and point of interest, while also producing bountiful harvests of lush herbs, fruit and vegetables.
What is Hydroponics and How Is It Beneficial?
Hydroponics is the growing of plants without using soil. Hydroponic systems, combined with growing media and a specifically formulated nutrient solution provide the exact nourishment and environmental conditions that plants need to thrive.
It sounds like a high-tech procedure that would be more at home in a laboratory but in fact, hydroponic techniques have been in use across the globe for centuries. All that has really changed in recent years is the hardware, which has made the process more efficient and effective.
There are many benefits to hydroponic gardening, including-
- Bigger, healthier, tastier plants
- Excellent water efficiency compared to conventional gardening
- Faster growth of plants
- More control over growing conditions and nutrition
- No weeds, no herbicides
- Grow anywhere, all year round
Countertop gardens are a hot trend at the moment, allowing people to grow their own pesticide-free produce on a small scale with minimal hassle. However, if you are truly passionate about self-sufficiency then a small unit like this won’t have the capacity for large yields. On the other hand, a hydroponic system big enough to supply your family with fruit and veg on an ongoing basis could take up a lot of space in your home or garden. That’s where vertical hydroponics comes in.
Vertical hydroponics does what it says on the tin. The system goes upwards rather than outwards, meaning it takes up less space at ground level while allowing you to grow more plants. Ideal for inside your home as well as balconies, garages and small concrete yards, vertical hydroponic systems give you the opportunity to grow your own produce all year round no matter where you live.
Types of Systems
Vertical hydroponic systems come in all styles, shapes and sizes. When it comes to choosing a system, the sky is literally the limit! Budget will dictate the range of vertical gardens within your reach, and although spending more will reward you with a wider variety of features, with a little time and effort a basic system will do just as well.
Vertical Hydroponic Ideas
- The Basic Setup
For an inexpensive DIY setup, some PVC pipe, tubing, a submersible pump, and a bucket will do the trick. Holes are made in the pipe for the plants to grow through. The nutrient solution is pumped through the tubing into the top of the system, where gravity then takes its course, draining it down along the piping and back into the return tube to the bucket.
This system can be wall mounted, making it equally excellent for indoor and outdoor growing. Got some time to kill and a spare corner in your kitchen or garage? Then a basic setup like this is a great little project to experiment with.
- The Entrepreneurial Setup
Have you got the charm it takes to hawk your veggies on a market stall? If so, then a setup like this will suit you down to the ground (and up from it too!). Also known as tower gardening, one of these systems will cost you a pretty penny, but if you are serious about making a career out of your produce then it is worth the investment.
Traditional farming uses up to 100 gallons of water to grow a single head of lettuce (yes, really!), whereas hydroponic towers only use 10 gallons. Along with this, 10,000 square feet of hydroponic gardening can generate the same sized crop that would take 2.2 acres of traditional gardening to produce.
So environmentally friendly, space saving, and profitable. What’s not to love!
- The Living Wall Setup
The ultimate horticultural statement piece for your home! Living walls have been a popular garden feature for years now, so it’s no surprise that somebody took the idea to extremes and brought it indoors. An living wall gives an unparalleled edge to your home, as well as offering a leafy, airy feel.
Running off a hydroponic system, it is the perfect low-maintenance solution for people with busy lifestyles who don’t have the time to invest in pot plants. Proper integrated systems can be expensive, but are worth it for the improvement in air quality alone!
- The Vertical Countertop Setup
Vertical countertop hydroponics is the perfect option for minimalist, time strapped gardening wannabes. These fantastic hassle-free setups are available in a wide range of stylish options and amazingly, come in units small enough to be mistaken for your standard breadbox! Obviously, bigger systems have better growing capacities, but even smaller countertop gardens can produce enough herbs and salad vegetables to reduce your grocery bill and satisfy your green-fingered longing.
At the higher end, these little babies are high tech incubators for your plants. Many have smartphone apps, allowing you to control and monitor the conditions and growth remotely, making them an excellent option for busy professionals who want to stay connected to the natural world.
- The Rotary Setup
Rotary hydroponic gardens are one of the more visually interesting choices. Perfect for creating an unusual striking feature! The concept was originally developed by NASA as a method of growing fresh fruit and veg for astronauts in space, so it’s no wonder that these systems have an ethereal sci-fi feel to them.
The light sits in the centre of the wheel, and the plants grow inwards towards it. The engine rotates the unit, ensuring that your crops receive equal amounts of light. The beauty of rotary systems is the ease of use- the growing cycle can be fully automated and controlled remotely via smartphone apps. Rotary gardens are available in a variety of sizes, from small table top setups to huge industrial systems that can be stacked and layered as required.
Vertical hydroponic systems are an ideal way of harvesting your own substantial yield of fruit, herbs and vegetables without sacrificing a large amount of surface area in your home, garden or greenhouse. Thanks to technological advances, many high range setups also have app interfaces which allow the crop to be monitored and controlled on the go, meaning you can make your garden work around your busy life at the touch of a button. Enjoy!