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Ted's Guide to Vertical Farming

Teddy bear reading a book Hello, my name is Ted. I am a cuddly character, with a simple attitude to life, and well read. I tell it like it is, in simple plain language. So you will not need your encyclopedia of jargon: "Jar be gone".

Instead of lolling around in the bedroom all day I decided to write a few short guides to business and other stuff.

This is one of my guides ... It was written in response to the following request: How to grow your own fruit and veg using vertical farming on a community scale.

What is a vertical farm?

The Farming Cycle







A vertical farm makes greater use of the vertical (height) dimension, so that the area required for growing is significantly reduced.

Perhaps we could say that nature pioneered the vertical farm in the form of trees :-)

On that subject, an orchard would not be thought of as a vertical farm, but you could consider one fruit tree as your simple, easy to maintain, vertical farm. If you had two fruit trees with a space between them then you could string together a vertical framework within that space and anchor it to the tree trunks. You would then apply the appropriate plant supporting features, as described in this guide. Watch out for swinging animals, and bears :-)

Vertical farming saves space. Well to be more accurate it reduces the amount of area required (at ground level), for a given volume of growing space.

Vertical farming can greatly reduce the amount of water required, depending on the efficiency of your approach.

What types of vertical farms are there?

There may be manual versions, but typically people think about versions that are supported by some type of machinery. Typical versions include the following techniques:

» Hydroponics - roots are either bathed in a trough of water* or have the water drip fed

» Aeroponics - water is sprayed on the roots

» Aquaponics - fish are included to close the water cycle, with their nutrient rich excrement

* The water also includes plant nutrients.

The above ponics typically require some machinery and extras, e.g.: motor driven pumps, pipes, filters, valves, sensors, control systems, and electricity (which also powers lighting). Aeroponics might require sophisticated expensive kit. Aquaponics requires attention to fish health. So that leaves hydroponics as the simpler ponics option.

fruit and vegetables

Ted types: Cheap, Dirty, Wet and Advanced.

Cheap is the manual version for small scale DIY growers and community volunteers. Dirty makes use of that cheap natural resource: soil. Wet: see hydroponics, or watering cans. Advanced is covered later in this article. You can get free advice on these by asking.

Next: see how it is done, and what the future holds for food production!


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Thu 19 Aug 18:28:50 BST 2021