Posted On November 30, 2020
Lighting is one of the most significant aspects of creating an ideal vertical farming environment. It’s actually a “make or break” decision for the success of your vertical farming business.
The future of modern-day agriculture lies in vertical/ indoor farming. Though there’s no entrenched economy for indoor farming yet, big companies are investing on a considerable scale in it, and it is a big step in the right direction.
The accessibility of affordable, highly sophisticated lighting technology is key to developing an ideal vertical farming environment, whether in large- or small-scale operations. That’s where grow lights come in. Grow lights are essential in vertical farming as they provide the light, which the crops need to manufacture their own food.
What Are Vertical Grow Lights
Vertical grow lights are an unnatural light source, generally an electric light, generated to revitalize plant growth by shedding an electromagnetic spectrum perfect for photosynthesis.
Vertical grow lights come in handy in applications where natural light is missing or where there’s a requirement for additional light.
Plants require light to manufacture food in a process known as photosynthesis. Plants growing naturally in the field obtain light from the sun. But for crops grown indoors, such as is the case for vertical farming, grow lights are essential to help them manufacture food.
Vertical grow lights do not only mimic the sunlight; they transcend the sun. There has been a radical shift in agriculture since the advancement of grow light, as they allow the production of foodstuff both on a small and large scale without depending on the sunlight.
Types of Vertical /Indoor Farming
Building-based vertical farming- practiced in abandoned buildings or buildings that are constructed specifically for indoor farming systems.
Shipping-container vertical farms- recycled shipping containers are becoming a more popular option for practicing vertical farming.
Deep farms- vertical farms created from abandoned mine shafts or revamped underground tunnels. Humidity and temperature are constant and temperate, so deep vertical farms need less power for heating.
What to Consider Before Engaging in Vertical Farming
Vertical/ Indoor farming is not all about how much production you can stuff into space. It’s all about growing the best food near the market and augmenting your production to cover the cost you have incurred, such as energy, labor, water, light, and capital.
As a farmer, ensure you sell what you grow and try to minimize the cost of production. Consider these things before growing plants on a vertical farm.
- Economic viability- Grow plants that you can make money on. Grow crops in high demand to maximize your profit. Consider the climate (heating, lighting, cooling) requirements of plants.
- Think about liability and timing- consider a “turn” is the time seedlings take to mature so that you can sell them. Fast turn plants such as mustard greens, lettuce, mint, and collard green enable you to lower liability as they mature fast.
- Slow turn plants such as fruiting crops and herbs are trickier as they are more profitable than greens, but they take longer to mature and go to the market. High greens to herbs ratio is a great way to go as a new indoor farmer.
- For instance, you can fill 80% of your space with greens and 20% with herbs.
Crops you can Grow in a Vertical Farms.
- Lettuces- romaine, red leaf, butterhead
- Kales- Tuscan, Dinosaur, winter boar
- Small wood herbs- rosemary, thyme, oregano
- Mints and chives
- Basil- Cinnamon, Sweet, Lemon
Benefits of Vertical Farming
- Vertical/ indoor farms feed more people than conventional farming as they grow seventy-six times more food than a conventional farm.
- They need no pesticides and fungicides, so the food produced is safer and healthier.
- Indoor farms lower water consumption as they can use up to ninety percent less water than traditional outside farms. So, having a dry or wet season does not apply.
- Vertical farming controls plant fertilizing nutrients, so the food produced is highly nutritious.
- You can grow significant food volume in a relatively tiny space and use a little bit less water. Sixty-five thousand square meters equals nine hundred thousand harvest kilos.
- Vertical farming techniques help preserve rain forests and land and give other lands ample time to recover and recharge topsoil.
- It offers a suitable plan to tackle future food demands.
- You can grow crops throughout the year as it’s not dependent on the weather.
- It’s expensive to practice- economic viability studies are still underway.
- Pollination can be costly and challenging.
- The cost of labor is high.
- It depends on technology too much, and a single day of power outage would have devastating results.
The future of modern-day agriculture is vertical farming. Though it’s expensive to practice, big companies are investing in it, giving hope that it can be a solution to the ever-increasing population, which increases food demand while agricultural lands are dwindling.
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