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Growing Up With Hydroponics Vertical Gardening

Vertical hydroponics can be indoors or outdoors. Vertical hydroponics can be indoors or outdoors.

Growing up is easier than you think, no matter how old you are…at least when you’re talking about hydroponics gardening.

That’s because the traditional flatbed horizontal method of growing plants has competition from newer innovations such as rotary gardens and vertical gardens.

Of the two innovations, vertical is the one that growers are least familiar with, but that’s changing because more and more manufacturers are getting into vertical growing systems targeted for hydroponics.

They most often use ebb and flow/flood and drain systems, NFT, drip irrigation or recirculating watering and nutrients systems, and most use hydroton, perlite, vermiculite or similar root zone media.

The systems usually are presented as columns with modular solo pots or pot sets that link to the column. At the bottom is often a reservoir that growers fill with water and hydroponics nutrients.

Some vertical garden manufacturers provide customized hydroponics nutrients with their systems, claiming that other nutrients will not work as well.

As with more standard traditional forms of hydroponics gardening, nutrient pH and parts per million are important. Some hydroponics growers report that ppm is a bit tricky with vertical growing, so there’s a learning curve.

Advantages of vertical growing include the opportunity to make use of hydroponics gardening situations in which vertical space is more available than horizontal space.

Vertical systems are portable, and can be configured to take advantage of window spaces. They can be moved indoors and out a lot more easily than most hydroponics operations can be.

You can also see that many vertical systems are a bit more plug and play than regular systems, so you have less work to do.

On the other hand, there are several drawbacks (or at the very least, adjustments) that you have to make if you choose to go vertical.

For example, lighting can be tricky. Your HID lights are designed to hang horizontally. Getting adequate light to a tall column requires you to be creative in how you will position what would normally be described as side-lighting.

In some cases, LED panels and/or high-output fluorescents are more suited to side lighting and vertical positioning than HID. This is something to experiment with.

Large-scale hydroponics growers who are used to the root zone maximization and plant size of traditional systems are often concerned about the smallness of plants grown in vertical gardens.

Clearly, there isn’t as much room, and with the plants sometimes stacked underneath or on top of each other, headroom is limited.

Some hydroponics growers describe vertical systems as they are currently manufactured as being ok for a sea of green approach, but not likely to give you as much yield as a horizontal garden of individual plants in large containers fed by drip irrigation.

In other words, as relates to yield and size of plants, vertical gardens are more comparable with aeroponics systems.

But in the blink of an eye, it seems that almost every time our researchers do a hydroponics industry scan we see a new start-up company offering a vertical garden.

As with the development of many new ideas, the vertical garden business is very competitive and manufacturers will tell you that their products are superior to others, with the emphasis being on creating vertical systems that can support larger plants and bigger yields.

Vertical garden set-ups (especially the larger ones) are something you’d want to buy only after personally seeing them in action (as compared to buying one sight unseen from an internet store).

You want to familiarize yourself with the hardware, tubing, pumps, leakage potential, set-up details (often significant), and yield dynamics of hydroponics vertical gardens that are oriented to growing high-value hydroponics plants.

Also be aware that because almost the entire vertical hydroponics system is made of plastic or PVC, you want to watch out for materials that crack, degrade, or leech toxins into your water.

And as with any time you are investing significant money into a grow system, digital ballast, air conditioning unit, HID bulb, you want to contact the manufacturer, talk to other growers and visit hydroponics forums to see what warranties, ease of operation, customer service experiences have been.

Hydroponics Vertical Garden Pioneer

Vertical gardens have a wide price range (from about $150 to $2000), and some are small enough to sit on a table.

Growers of high value hydroponics crops favor HydroStacker, Sun Speaker, Verti-Gro and Octagon hydroponics vertical garden units, so check those out and see what you think. It’s getting easier to grow up, right?

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Last modified on Friday, 22 October 2010 20:49

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