Saturday, May 25, 2019

Portable Hydroponic Market Gardening? | 72 Plant NFT Vertical Hydroponic Build DIY

Can this hydroponic garden build be used as a portable market garden?
Although I've moved and haven't reestablished my hydroponic garden yet, I still have some practical ideas of how to use this design commercially. I've even tried selling the whole garden too, but after thinking up what I'm about to share in this blog post, I will keep it unless I'm convinced otherwise. I've had several ideas about how using the NFT I built last year could be used for market gardening. This all stems from a business model Curtis Stone of Green City Acres has proven and from a concept seen in this YouTube video.

I've designed this NFT to be both portable and modular, meaning if I were to build a second or third garden with the same plans, all the parts and growth channels can be interchanged with each other. Additionally, since it is an outdoor only unit, the only electricity it needs is that to run the water pump (of course, automation could be implemented in the future if cheap enough). With a little bit of electrical knowledge, it wouldn't be hard to rig up a small solar or battery powered system to run the garden off the grid.
Now let's couple these ideas with the garden's small size. One to two of these gardens should be able to fit into the back of a standard sized truck bed. Upright and assembled. Meaning that you could assemble a second (or third) frame into a vehicle and then move each growth channel, filled with full sized plants, onto the truck for transportation, one by one. The plants would still be alive and growing at the farmer's market. Not only is this attractive for you as the garden, as you aren't pressured as hard to sell everything in a given market day, it's quite a novelty to see as a customer and could be used as a marketing point. Alternatively, this garden has a small enough footprint to fit on a standard sized pallet....
Granted you would need to move the reservoir on board for transportation to the market and to keep it powered, but that can be resolved easily. Using a cheap inverter, you could run the pump(s) off the truck battery or a solar panel to, at, and from the market.
Why a truck bed or trailer is needed to keep plants alive when transporting
The only obstacle I could see here is traveling on the road to/from market. Since this garden is gravity driven, excessively sloped terrain could cause nutrient solution to spill out if the reservoir or channels are angled too much. Hmm...

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