Growing vegetables can seem daunting even for those with a yard, let alone the dwellers of a small apartment complex. But as the population continues to converge at ever-expanding metropolises, we find the need for healthier food that is self-sufficient is actually attainable – and becoming more so through increasingly efficient processes. All of which are suited for application to urban environments, as is evident in the following methods.
Hydroponic gardening is a prime method of growing plants in which no soil is used. Instead, all nutrients necessary to the plant’s vitality are obtained through water. Organic vegetables grown hydroponically are 150% more nutritious than organic vegetables grown in the earth, and can be grown year-round without the worry of seasonal climate changes. Furthermore, because there is no soil, the need to plow is eliminated. As is the use of pesticides, for neither weeds nor outdoor pests can access the plants. This helps reduce cause for the soil degradation common in traditional agricultural fields. Early examples of hydroponic gardening can be traced back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the ‘floating gardens’ of the ancient Aztecs.
More recently, NASA is experimenting with the idea of hydroponic gardens that can grow crops on Mars. They are testing to see if this soil free method is at all aided by the implementation of LED lights.
Hydroponic technology can be found in devices like the Hyundai Kitchen Nano, which allows you to grow vast amounts of your own, organic crops within kitchens of limited square footage.
Aeroponic gardening goes a bit beyond hydroponics, instigating plant growth in air and mist environments. This method is invaluable to regions parched by water scarcity. One noteworthy design in aeroponics is the AeroFarm indoor gardener. AeroFarm gardening requires only 10% of the water used in traditional farming. Like hydroponic varieties, the AeroFarm garden needs no sunlight, soil, or pesticides. It is additionally quite energy efficient and feasible to operate. The average shelf-life of AeroFarm vegetables is nearly double that of greenhouse crops, and has triple the freshness rates of crops harvested from conventional farms. Plus, its stack-able units make it a sought after commodity in vertical, urban living.
Merge Methods to Drape Plants from Your Walls
But, before you settle on one method, know that hybrids do exist, granting you the best of both worlds. FreshWall’s gardening pod is both an aeroponic and hydroponic planter that allows you to grow herbs and vegetables along your walls. Gardeners need only to pot plants, insert them in their designated hollow, and water when needed, which appears to be more of a heavy misting, really. The FreshWall garden also functions as an indoor air purifier. As fans circulate air through the roots of plants, any impure particles within are captured and broken down by the plant’s roots and rhizosphere. The air is then returned to the room, free of pollutants.
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