- Hydroponic Growing Systems: The Farms of the Future
Recently, Contractors.Direct were given the opportunity to help Urban Fresh Farms with the setup of their hydroponic farming operation in Dubai Investments Park.
Urban Fresh Farms produces high-quality fresh herbs and leafy greens in the most sustainable way possible. Using advanced indoor hydroponic systems and technology, the company can reduce its water usage by more than 95% and uses 10-times less land when compared to traditional farming methods. And, of course, there are no pesticides or soil involved in the process – which means no nasty chemicals. The result is farm fresh, longer-lasting produce.
We believe that hydroponic growing systems are the farms of the future and are the ideal solution for the agriculture sector in the modern era. With the impact of global warming causing havoc on weather conditions and the natural order of the world, it is proving to be more and more difficult for growers to find new fertile lands for crop productions. Hence why companies like Urban Fresh Farms are investing in the more cost-effective, time-saving and sustainable methods of hydroponics.
What is Hydroponics?
In the simplest of terms, hydroponics is a high-tech method of growing plants using only water, nutrients and a growing medium. Rather than make use of soil, hydroponic gardeners use coconut coir, vermiculite and perlite, among others. The main idea behind hydroponics is to remove as many barriers as possible between a plant’s roots and the water, oxygen and nutrients it needs to grow and thrive.
Benefits of Hydroponic Growing Systems
These growing systems enable crops to be grown in a greenhouse or in multilevel buildings with easy-to-use methods that are quicker and more cost-effective than traditional methods of farming. In addition to easy harvesting with shorter harvest times, it is also a more sustainable way forward. Hydroponic technology saves water and ensures that no pollution from the nutrients is released. Not to mention, hydroponic plants are better for consumption. Plants grown under these methods are healthier with higher yields. Plus, there is no damage caused by pesticides as pests and diseases are easily controlled due to the movable containers.
Types of Hydroponic Growing Systems
The most high-tech of all the systems on this list, aeroponic setups are easy to understand but can be somewhat difficult to build. The roots of your plants are suspended in the air with the aeroponic system misting the root zone with a nutrient solution. The mist nozzles are connected directly to the water pump with any excess falling into the reservoir below. In most cases, aeroponic systems have been proven to grow plants at an even quicker rate than some of the simpler systems we’ll discuss below.
Drip systems are often found in commercial operations as they are easy to use at a large scale and can be quickly altered for different types of plants. Nutrient-rich water is pumped via small tubes into the base of the plants. At the end of each tube is a drip emitter that controls how much solution is placed into the plant. This way, growers can adjust the flow to meet the needs of each plant.
Ebb & Flow System
Also known as Flood and Drain, ebb and flow systems might not be as common as its counterparts, but this does not mean it is any less effective at growing plants. This system is commonly used among home gardeners and positions plants in a spacious grow bed that is packed with a growing medium like rockwool or perlite. A water pump floods the grow bed with a nutrient-rich solution and is outfitted with a timer that will switch off the pump after a certain amount of time. When this occurs, the water will be drained from the grow bed and sent back into the pump.
Nutrient Film Technique System
The nutrient film technique system is simple in design and widely used by commercial and home growers alike because of how well it scales to a variety of different applications. The nutrient solution is placed into a large reservoir. From here, it is pumped into sloped channels that allow the excess nutrients to flow back into the reservoir. When the nutrient solution is sent into the channel, it flows down the slope and over the roots of each plant to provide the right amount of nutrients.
Deep Water Culture System
The deep water culture system is a simplistic method that places the roots of the plant directly into the nutrient solution. This way, the plants are given a constant supply of water, oxygen and nutrients. An air pump with an air stone is used to oxygenate the water by pumping bubbles into the nutrient solution, preventing your roots from drowning in the water. When using this system, keep in mind that the plants should be secured into their proper position with net pots.
The Wick System
The most basic of all the hydroponic systems, the wick system can be used by practically anyone to effectively grow plants. It does not use aerators, pumps or electricity. Nutrients and water are moved into a plant’s root zone via a wick, which is often something as simple as rope or piece of felt. The wick system is ideal for smaller plants that don’t require a lot of water or nutrients.
How We Can Be of Service
Urban Fresh Farms goal is to play a role in making the UAE self-sustainable and to become a produce provider for the greater Middle East. When tasked with setting up their next hydroponic operation to further their progress in reaching these goals, they sought out the services of Contractors.Direct to aid them in finding the perfect contracting company for the job.
“Contractors.Direct was a pleasure to deal with.” said Scott Naude, Urban Fresh Farms Founder & CEO. “They made the daunting task of finding a great contractor very simple and very fast. The team they put me in contact with exceeded expectations in all areas and I cannot recommend both Contractors.Direct and the chosen project team enough.”
Find out more about the great things Urban Fresh Farms are up to and how they can be of service to you by clicking here.
If you would like to convert to the future of farming or need your hydroponic system setup, get in touch with Contractors.Direct and we will connect you with qualified contractors who can deliver your project to the highest quality, on time and on budget.
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