As you’d probably guess, vertical farming is the use of up-and-down layers to grow crops, rather than the standard sprawling fields. It’s a recently emerging farming technique that has quickly garnered popularity for its many benefits, including environmental friendliness, increased efficiency, and lower use of space. Let’s take a deep dive into the facts on vertical farming, including its uses, benefits, and how you can implement it in your own business.
How to Grow Vertically
One of the greatest benefits of vertical farming is that you can set up a vertical farm just about anywhere! Vertical farming makes the most of all the space in your facility, not just the floor and wall space. With vertical grow racking systems, you can easily extend your growth space upwards of two, three, or more stories.
The development of new irrigation and hydroponic technologies has allowed for even greater efficiency in your vertical farm, and reduced reliance on human hours to maintain plant health. Hydroponic systems allow plants to be grown entirely without soil, automatically receiving a solution of essential nutrients and water through a process known as fertigation. This will ensure that your plants get a consistent supply of everything they need to thrive and grow healthily.
By making proper use of lighting systems, you can even create a vertical garden without any natural light! Artificial UV lamps will allow your plants to get the same benefits they would from sunlight, albeit with a greater degree of control than you would have otherwise. You can ensure your plants will get the exact amount of exposure and time under the light they need, rather than hoping the weather will do the job for you.
Of course, if you’re in an area with partial sunlight, it never hurts to use that light in tandem with your lamps. Essentially, you’ll be able to manage your crops with extreme precision, ensuring a successful harvest.
Benefits of Vertical Farming
Though many will attest to the benefits of vertical farming, you may be wondering what those benefits actually entail. Here’s a closer look at some of the greatest benefits you stand to gain by switching to vertical farming!
Due to automated fertigation systems, indoor production, and UV lamps, your crops won’t be affected by seasonal changes if you choose to grow indoors. Even if your indoor space isn’t acres upon acres, using vertical farming methods can help you to make the most of the empty space you do have, and your plants will be happily growing year-round.
Going through a dry spell? Turn up the humidity! Getting a bit too cold? Raise the temperature! Too dark outside? Crank up the UV lamps! No matter what conditions your plants are facing, there’s equipment available to keep them happy and healthy! As long as you have the proper gear, producing crops year-round will be no trouble at all!
Less Water and Space Use
Let’s return to the standard farm mentioned earlier. When you think of a farm, you probably think of a massive, sprawling expanse of land full of crops. It’s relaxing to look at, sure, but it’s not exactly the most ergonomic of systems. By building your farm upward rather than outward, you can condense the same number of crops into a significantly smaller space.
By reducing the amount of wasted space, you’ll also be able to reduce the amount of wasted water while maximizing output. Using an automatic irrigation system, you can distribute the exact amount of water each crop needs, no more, no less.
Increased Crop Yield
By using a vertical farming system, your farm will not only be more efficient and easier to maintain but will also yield a greater harvest. This goes hand in hand with the reduction of necessary space. Rather than downsize your farm, you can upsize the number of crops you’re growing, and with the greenhouse environment, they’ll be at a much lower risk for common crop-killing diseases and pests that could harm your yield.
Decreased Energy Costs
The standard farm requires obscene amounts of energy, with the majority of that energy coming from fossil fuels. By using greenhouse technology in your vertical farm, you can create a self-regulating climate, and by implementing large numbers of windows, you can reduce your reliance on grow lamps. Naturally, this will drastically reduce how much you’re paying to keep your farm up and running.
Though we rely on agriculture to survive, there’s no denying that it can have some less-than-stellar effects on the environment, such as soil erosion, emissions from transporting crops, and other such issues. Vertical farming helps to alleviate these problems. With the ability to grow crops without soil, erosion and depletion are no longer an issue, and the ability to set up vertical farms anywhere will decrease the need for crops to be transported over long distances. With these environmental and societal benefits, it’s no wonder many claim vertical farming is the future of agriculture.
15 Crops You Can Grow in a Vertical Farm
With your vertical farm up and running, it’s time to decide which crops to raise! Vertical farms typically work best with greens, herbs, and smaller crops. Here are 15 of our favorites!
- Mustard Greens
- Butterhead Lettuce
Vertical Nurseries and Cloning
Plants are naturally more delicate in the early stages of their growth, so the controlled environment an indoor vertical nursery provides is perfect! By carefully regulating the light, heat, nutrients, and water your developing plants receive, you can ensure they get through the riskiest growing stages in a much safer environment than they would have elsewhere. From there, you can transfer them to a larger vertical farming facility, where they can complete their growth and then be transported to wherever they’ll be sold.
In addition, once your plants have grown a bit, you can begin cloning them. Though we often think of cloning as a complex, convoluted process, it’s actually quite simple in the case of plants. All you have to do to clone a plant is clip parts of a grown plant, then plant those clippings separately. From there, the clippings will grow into exact copies of the plant they were clipped from! This will allow your crops to have a consistent standard of quality.
Get Started With Vulcan!
Ready to change how your farm operates for the better? You’ll need someone to help you build your vertical farm, and with such a delicate process, nobody less than the best will suffice. Fortunately, Vulcan Squad is here to help! We’re an experienced firm capable of construction jobs of any scale, and we’re here to make sure the farm you want is the farm you get!
Whether you’re looking to farm fruit, vegetables, herbs, or spices, you can be sure Vulcan is up to the task! We’ll not only ensure your farm is structurally sound and built to last, but take care of the irrigation, fertilization, insulation, automated systems, and anything else you can think of to boot!
If you’re interested in getting to work on a vertical farm of your own, visit our site and contact us today to submit a job request! We’ll work with you from start to finish, ensuring you have a farm that perfectly suits your needs!