How to Start a Small Scale Hydroponic Farm - Part 2
Photo: An example of a small scale hydroponic system that can be used indoors. Photo Credit: Asian Home Garden

Written By Andrew Carter

Indoors, inside your home –

With adequate artificial lighting, you can easily grow indoors. People grow in basements, attics, closets, bedrooms, you name it, as long as you don’t mind the constant sounds of a hydroponic system bubbling away. It’s cheaper in that you can use already constructed space, but it’ll cost you more in artificial lighting, energy, and living space.

Microgreens can do really well indoors. They don’t need the full spectrum lighting that full-grown plants need, so you can stack systems and provide pretty low light.

Hoop House

This is the next step up. You need outside space, a structure and skin, but you can place hydroponic systems within these houses and keep them out of the rain. Generally they don’t have walls and aren’t very controlled as far as climate and environment are concerned, but depending on your climate it may be a perfect fit for you.

Greenhouse

This is the best situation. A space dedicated to growing, with natural light, and in a size and shape easy enough for you to control the climate, pests, and whatever else nature might throw at you. You need power and a heating and cooling method depending on your climate, but that’ll come in time. There’s radiant heat through pipes towards the ground, blown heat from commercial heaters, vents and shade for passive cooling, and swamp coolers for more energy intensive cooling. The possibilities are endless, really, it just depends on how much money you want to spend.

What type of lights

If you’ve done any research you’ll note that there are tons of different types of lighting you can use for your hydroponic setup. LEDs, High Pressure Sodium lights, and even shop lights depending on the setup. Truthfully, what you need to note is the spectrum released from the light source. Any old LED or lightbulb doesn’t emit the correct type of light for photosynthesis, it has to be emit in the correct spectrum for your plant choice.

Generally people choose from 2200-6000k depending on the crop and stage of growth. If you go for LEDs, do your research! Many think that just having 2 colors (RB) of LEDs will do the trick, but it’s much more complicated than that.

Overall there’s a lot to consider when building a greenhouse. Although it’s a huge task, the benefits are huge. Fresh produce for your friends and family, a great hobby, and who knows, maybe even a source of income. Good luck!  

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