Vertical Hydroponic System

by Wilben, Last Updated: 2020-03-01

Hydroponics has become a method of industrial growing crops around the world. The work on increasing its productivity and improving plant cultivation systems does not stop. Vertical systems displaced horizontal ones since they allow more efficient use of greenhouse space. There are several options to do this. The use of an A-frame with sprinklers placed inside it allows the plants to be located on either side of it. Similar systems were widely used for growing salads. When transforming an A-shape into a V-shape, plants can be grown in NFT troughs (nutrient layer), as in horizontal systems, but they can be installed at different levels. Gutters can be placed on both sides of the center so that they do not obscure each other. Some vertical systems are large sacks of pearlite suspended on a greenhouse frame. Nutrient solution is fed into them from above, and its surplus flows to the bottom. These open systems are commonly used for growing strawberries.

Vertical Hydroponic System

All of these systems are limited to the cultivation of small plants; larger plants would shade each other. Of course, for growing in room conditions, there are systems other than flat ones. The first such system was created by an insane grower from the west coast of Canada. In his system, the lamp is located horizontally, in the center of a horizontal cylinder. Plants are grown in mineral wool cubes and attached over the entire surface of a cylinder that rotates very slowly. As soon as the next row of plants approaches the bottom, it comes into contact with the nutrient solution, and the cubes are moistened. While the cube makes a full turn, it is time to take a new bath. The inventor assembled this system for fun, but it is best done after that. There is something strange in these plants, turned upside down or turned at all sorts of angles. Their position seems to be not very worried about them. They all do the same ? grow to the light. This system is rarely used in our time, but its version for 80 plants is commercially available.

tower gardens or vertical grow systems

Today the most popular systems are vertical cylinders with vertically hanging lighting. There are several different models that use different nutrient delivery systems. Some of them are equipped with a dropping device for each plant, others ? with vertical plates of mineral wool to minimize the number of blowers (due to heavier construction!). The largest installation ?Colosseum? can hold up to 300 plants with a full load in a space of 1.80 m radius at an altitude of 2.25 m. It uses 4 lamps of 600 watts each. Gutters on V-shaped frames exist on a scale adapted to the market for indoor installations, but in general, they are not as popular as vertical cylindrical.

These systems are definitely not for beginners! They have one remarkable advantage: for the first time, all the light is emitted to plants. The light no longer falls on the reflector, does not reflect on the walls. In this sense, this is a great achievement, but there is a limitation to very small plants, which in a sense is an advantage since there is no need to grow useless plant mass. On the other hand, you need such a number of plants to provide very extensive space for uterine plants and root cuttings. To this should be added the time required for growing uterine plants, collecting cuttings, rooting them and putting them in place, and it will become clear why many owners of vertical systems do not go beyond the first harvest! A common mistake for beginners is to use a vegetative cycle that is too long. However, if you are experienced and you have time (and money ? all this is not cheap!), Then you will be able to get harvests that are difficult to achieve in other ways in a comparable area.

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