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Hydroponics vs soil-based green walls

Don’t let the complexity of hydroponics put you off vertical farming. You don't need to be a scientist to grow vertically. Take a look at GrowUp’s simple soil-based solution.

Don’t let the complexity of hydroponics put you off vertical farming. You don't need to be a scientist to grow vertically. Take a look at GrowUp’s simple soil-based solution.

If you’re relatively new to growing vertically, you’ve probably heard the (very intimidating) term “hydroponics” being thrown around by experienced urban farmers.

Deciding between a water-based (hydroponic) or soil-based system can be a tough choice - especially if you’re not familiar with the differences between the two methods. Both types of vertical planting systems have their benefits, however a soil-based system is considerably less complicated, and requires less maintenance.


Hydroponic green wall system


Soil based green wall system

Electricity usage

Hydroponic systems rely on an electric pump to circulate water from the base of the system, carrying nutrients to the plants.



While a soil based green wall may include a pump and timer to irrigate your plants, it doesn’t rely entirely on electricity to run.

There are two main advantages to the soil based system in this regard. Firstly, you can keep your costs down by manually turning on the irrigation when necessary (the soil will hold on to moisture, so you don’t need to irrigate constantly). Secondly, if you do have a power outage, the soil will remain moist and protect your plants - there’s no need to switch to an alternate power source.

Irrigation

Large scale irrigation on a hydroponic green wall system is complicated. You’ll need to maintain optimal temperatures and the right PH balance in order to maintain your plants’ health.

Soil based green walls naturally retain moisture in their pots.

The GrowUp system uses flood irrigation - which is how plants were designed to be watered in nature (for example: rainfall, then dryness between rains). This reduces any wastage of water and eliminates the need to manually water your green wall. You can set the timer to switch on at strategic times and for set periods.

Nutrients

Hydroponic systems require an understanding of science.


You’ll need to test and optimise your vertical farm’s design and carefully measure and balance things like temperature and PH to ensure the best possible living conditions for your crops.

Soil based systems provide most nutrients to your crops through the soil. You can add liquid fertilizer to the irrigation system as an added source of nutrients if necessary.

Disease risks

Hydroponic systems expose the roots of your plants, opening them up to greater risk of disease. The recirculation of water can also cause algae and bacteria to grow, which can lead to root rot (pythium).

Soil based green wall systems are less risky, because your plants’ roots are protected inside their pots.

General maintenance

Hydroponic systems require constant monitoring and maintenance, including cleaning parts and carefully balancing nutrient mixes. Depending on the size of your urban farm, it may take a team of professionals to keep up with the necessary maintenance of hydroponics.

The GrowUp system requires minimal maintenance. You’ll need to fertilize the soil a couple of times per year and occasionally remove and clean the drippers, and drain the tank and replace it with fresh water.

Yields

Hydroponic systems offer you faster results than traditional farming methods.

Hydroponic systems are especially well suited to large-scale corporate farms with the skills and resources to keep up with the necessary maintenance.

Soil based systems take longer to grow and mature. Like is encouraged in the Slow Food Movement, growing food  slowly and naturally creates a system that encourages biodiversity and appreciation for your nature’s harvest.

Key benefits of the soil based GrowUp green wall system

Whether you’re growing indoors, in a greenhouse, or outdoors, the GrowUp system is simple to install and incredibly easy to maintain.

GrowUp green walls

The GrowUp system has generously sized, hexagonal pots, allowing plenty of room for your plants to develop a good root base. The modular system design allows you to customize your vertical farm to suit your needs, without having to pay a fortune for an entirely unique design. Our components come in standard sizes, which can easily be slotted together to expand your green wall as necessary. This means that you can add on to your vertical farm if ever you require more space.

The GrowUp system is perfectly suited for anyone wanting to get started growing vertically, without an extensive knowledge of farming techniques, large initial cost outlay or major ongoing maintenance.

As you can see, you don’t need to be a scientist to start your own vertical urban farm.

What are you waiting for? Contact GrowUp and one of our experts will help you build the right system for your urban farm.


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