The Secret Behind Plant Factories
Plant factories have become a rising star of the farming industry in the recent years. The concept of plant factories is simple and easy to understand – they are the indoor facilities where plants are grown in large scale like how goods are produced in typical factories. The unique point of plant factories is the vertical farming approach that greatly increases the production of plants. We explained how plant factories work and the reasons why we need plant factories in the previous posts.
The technologies such as vertical farming, controlled environment and hydroponics are the frequently publicised growing methods for plant factories. However, the overlapping terms and technologies may blur together for grocery-store shoppers who are simply trying to decipher where their food comes from.
In order to clear up this confusion, it is useful to begin with an explanation of hydroponics —the method of production that Vegetory uses to best provide for its customers.
What Is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is an engineered way of growing plants that uses a soil-less growth medium and an optimised nutrient solution in order to deliver the calculated resources that a plant requires. Owing to this, plants are theoretically able to uptake the maximum amount of nutrients that they can, in the most efficient way to subsequently achieve their best possible health and fastest growth.
Research on hydroponics began to develop in the mid-1800s, as botanists and plant nutritionists sought to determine methods of quickly producing healthy food without relying on the weather or access to soil. Over time, improvements in the composition of growth mediums and nutrient cultures, as well as in the understanding of what plants are best grown hydroponically, have led to hydroponics being applied to large-scale agriculture.
Today, hydroponic farming has gained popularity as a result of the successes of scientists and commercial growing operations. These groups have worked to position the technology as a possible solution for feeding the increasing global population, as well as for addressing the environmental issues caused by conventional agriculture.
Types of Hydroponic Systems
Fundamentally, hydroponic systems work by applying an engineered nutrient solution to the root system of a plant. There are several types of hydroponic systems and here we briefly introduce three types.
Deep Water Culture
Deep water culture is a simple yet effective hydroponics system that works by suspending the plants’ roots directly into a highly oxygenated nutrient solution. This is also the method that Vegetory is presently adopting in our plant factory.
Nutrient solution held in a reservoir is run through individual tubes to each plant, dripping over the roots and re-circulated back to the reservoir.