Historically, farmers have been married to large land masses, battling unpredictable weather and watching as their operations sometimes lost crops, valuable resources and money. Compared to their ancestors, growers today have the unique capability of producing densely populated gardens inside of controlled environments where they can combat this list of challenges faced by farmers from previous generations. Imagine a movable growing system that avoids soil borne pathogens, promotes an accurate nutrient program, all while gaining the ability to make more money using the same amount of space. Greenhouse growers that use hydroponics systems are able to create a more efficient growing space that increases production, which is a great way to improve the profitability of an operation, while saving on resources like water and nutrients.
Maximizing usable growing space in a greenhouse can be challenging with traditional growing methods, but growers today aren’t restricted by soil, and have found that installing a properly designed hydroponics system can drastically improve limited greenhouse space. With tons of hydroponics products on the market, greenhouse growers can customize their ideal hydroponics design to produce more, leading to increased profits.
Configuring a growing system to maximize space inside the greenhouse is where growers can find superior production in a competitive market. Today’s hydroponics systems are incredibly versatile, allowing growers to design innovative growing systems in order to maximize the full space inside of a greenhouse. This is important, because creating an efficient growing space and maximizing the usable space in a greenhouse can increase profitability for any operation. The ability to create a mobile growing system is one way that hydroponics products create a more productive growing environment.
With farming moving into urban areas at an increased rate, there are many new hydroponics configurations on the market today for grow-operations of any size. In fact, greenhouse growers have been able to learn a lot from the creativity of indoor urban growers who have had very limited space to operate under. For example, stacking hydroponics units is a great way to configure hydroponics technology inside a greenhouse to maximize floor space. When stacking hydroponics units, be sure to measure how much light is reaching each level and consider implementing supplemental lighting to ensure equal light penetration for even growth.
Stacking units isn’t the only way to create space saving designs. Vertical hydroponics has become a widely used technology among greenhouse growers as well. Unlike stacking hydroponics units, vertical systems maximize a light source, providing more even distribution and creating less shadowy area to compensate with supplemental lighting.
If installing many vertical units, it is smart to use some supplemental lighting as more towers are more likely to cast shadows on one another. Growers have found great success with vertical systems in urban areas where they are growing in warehouses and skyscrapers that have more space to accommodate vertical gardens. For example, there are innovative and compact vertical hydroponics systems that can grow 220 plants in less than 23 square feet. These systems help save a significant amount of ground space and utilize the height of a greenhouse structure like no other set up does.
Overall, vertical farming helps to create a truly dense growing environment that is nearly impossible to achieve on such a level any other way. Generally speaking, most of the vertical space inside the greenhouse is rarely put to use, which means that with a thoughtful design there is plenty of room to get creative, and that is just what vertical hydroponics units do. By using a vertical system, growers create a 3-D growing design that is way more innovative than the run of the mill raised bed. These hydroponics towers have pockets that when planted can produce an impressive amount of leafy greens, strawberries, cucumbers, squash, herbs and melons, among other easily adaptable crops highlights the fact that growers can produce in any region.
For both greenhouse growers and urban farmers working in tight spaces, these systems are a lifesaver and a great way to make more money within a growing cycle. In addition to creating an efficient hydroponics greenhouse design, there are many reasons why hydroponics systems intrinsically save space and improve profitability of a growing operation. Maximizing space in a greenhouse is an essential practice if growers wish to improve profitability of a limited production area and by virtue, hydroponics systems are space-saving systems.
In addition to removing soil from the equation, plants can be more densely spaced, because plant roots have more room to grow in water and are not restricted by organic matter and nutrient limitations. Because nutrients are applied precisely according to the plant’s needs, they are not lost while traveling to the plant’s roots and are readily available to feed the growing crop. In fact, this makes hydroponically grown crops grow faster than those grown using other methods. These qualities mean that growers can plant more and produce more nutrient dense crops in a smaller growing area which is a major advantage in comparison to soil grown crops. Hydroponics crops are ready to harvest more quickly than traditionally grown crops, and because growers can plant more nutrient dense crops that are more quickly harvested, profits are likely to improve.
A well-designed hydroponics system allows growers to create a more dense growing space that avoids nutrient and water loss, helping their operations further improve profitability. In hydroponics systems, nutrients and oxygen are much more efficiently delivered to the plant’s roots, requiring no piles of organic material or potting soil. Necessary nutrition is added as needed and is never wasted because it has a direct route to the crop roots, within a closed system. In a closed hydroponics system, plants are able to absorb available nutrients without needing to draw them from soil, where they can often be lost in the layers of soil or due to overhead watering. Nutrient efficiency is one of the greatest economic benefits to choosing a hydroponics system. Not only are growers creating a direct line of food to the plants, they are avoiding the major and inevitable nutrient loss associated with traditional soil farming.
Another major money-saver with efficient hydroponics systems is in saving water, otherwise lost to evaporation and over-watering in soil production. Pumping water uses a significant amount of electricity, but with hydroponics systems, plants are only using the amount of water they need and in a closed system, this water can be recycled. Saving expensive and valuable nutrients, and water helps give growers a major leg up on competitors who spend money throughout the season on these resources.
Greenhouse growers are also finding major benefits with the accuracy and precision of a controlled environment with automated tools that are easily adaptable to the greenhouse climate. In combination with a well-designed hydroponics system, automated tools maximize the level of precision in a growing system by carefully monitoring humidity, temperature and lighting, meaning superior crops can be produced in a controlled environment. Efficient nutrient programs and improving space efficiency with a hydroponics system can easily help growers avoid soil borne pathogens, cultivate nutrient dense produce and maximize profits by bringing more to market with each harvest. With accuracy and space-saving practices, growers have every reason to consider getting creative with their greenhouse this coming season, and they have plenty of time to come up with a perfect master plan for action.
By implementing hydroponics systems that maximize production and profitability, growers can be sure to secure the future of their farm. Growers looking to increase profits should focus on creating dense growing environments inside greenhouses where crops are most protected from the elements. Improving the profitability of a growing operation makes the growing process a lot more manageable and worthwhile, and hydroponics systems are a wonderful tool to accomplish this goal.
Amanda Williams is a content writer for GrowSpan (Growspan.com ), which specializes in greenhouses and growing solutions. She is an experienced grower and owner of Town Farm in Ledyard, Connecticut.