Indoor and Outdoor Hydroponic Gardening

Indoor and Outdoor Hydroponic Gardening

With the advent of commercial hydroponics and other soilless methods of farming, indoor cultivation has gained a lot of traction. India has a few areas such as Bangalore where the weather is mild enough to suit gardening with hydroponics outdoors for the entire year with good management practices, and appropriate crop selection. However India has a lot of places where it is difficult to grow a large variety of crops due it’s harsh climatic conditions outdoors. The main impediment to farming indoors is the lack of sunlight which is required for plant growth. With a climate controlled polyhouse you can operate just like an indoor garden, with the exception that you will have access to an abundance of sunlight and easy air exchanges to keep your hydroponic crop healthy and happy above the root system. If however you wish to grow indoors where there is no access to sunlight, you will need to use grow lights. With the help of grow lights and a climate controlled setup, one can ideally grow any crop at any time of the year irrespective of the natural climate.

The same hydroponic system which you would use to grow outdoors can simply be moved indoors and grown on with the help of grow lights. Please check out our blog posts on how to choose the best lights for your hydroponics system if you’re looking to move your hydroponic plants in India indoors. Apart from the access to light, growing indoors or outdoors with hydroponics entails more or less the same kind of effort and maintenance. The primary drawbacks of growing outdoors is that you’re limited to choosing crops which will grow well in your prevailing climate and since you’re not in a protected environment your plants face the threat of pest and fungal attacks. While indoor growers don’t face these issues, it is a far more expensive method of hydroponic farming both in terms of capital expenditure and operating costs.

Both methods of Hydroponic farming have their limitations and benefits. While outdoor hydroponic farming is cheaper, it is subject to climate and may fall prey to pest attacks. Indoor hydroponic farming albeit more expensive gives a farmer more control over their growing conditions and hence can achieve better and faster growth. If you have a hydroponic kit in Chennai, try outdoor farming in the winter months and move your system indoors for the Summer. Compare your results and let us know which works better for you!

Adopt Hydroponics to get better yield

Adopt Hydroponics to get better yield

Throughout our schooling we have been taught that India has an agriculture-dependent economy, or that agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy, today, however, there is some disconnect with this statement. Our government has come to realize that agriculture is not serving the nation and developmental goals very well and has hence looked at other ways of increasing employment and inclusiveness. Before we jump into this topic please read these few stats that will help paint an image of the state of affairs in the Indian agriculture sector. We can start with employment, the profession of agriculture and its allied industries employees more than 50 % of Indians employable workforce. this makes agriculture a very important driver of our economy. The other problem with such a large mass of people involved in agriculture promotes very cut-throat pricing strategies where the only differentiator is the price due to which farmers are barely able to recover their investment cost.

The second major issue is the average land holding size in India which as per the agriculture census is on average under 1 hectare, of the total holding over 85% is held by small farmers who have no access to new technologies, high-quality inputs, credit etc. this number is set to cross the 91% mark. This small land holding size is leading to a steady decline in profitability of the farming sector. Yield per acre for farming in India is lower than China, the US, and Europe by a wide margin. Even though we are major producers of a variety of food items across the world. A new avenue that the govt should explore is hydroponics this allows farmers with small land holding size to improve their productivity while at the same time renders them immune to vagarities of the weather. This allows farmers to build a sustainable source of income, with a little help from the government in ensuring market support prices, the farmer can avail of credit facilities to set up the entire farm. High-quality inputs can be provided at a subsidized rate so that the farmers don’t try to improve profitability by cutting cost by opting for lower quality inputs. This allows for 2 things an improvement in the quality of the product as well as the consistency by which we can produce the same.

This will allow for the decrease in price fluctuation allowing for the farmers to make more constant returns, which improves their creditworthiness and also their bankability. Currently, there are 30+ hydroponics plants in India that are using hydroponics equipment that is indigenously designed and built. This is an indication that the technology has already entered India and is in its nascent stages. Over the technology will only become cheaper Today there are already a number of hydroponics companies in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad etc.

Hydroponics Farming by Using LED Grow Lights

Hydroponics Farming by Using LED Grow Lights

The use of artificial lighting to grow crops indoor has been a revelation to the farming industry. This application of artificial lighting is not the most widespread in India, considering the costs while choosing amidst other hydroponic technologies.

Primarily hydroponic crops in India are not grown under artificial lights, but as a hybrid of hi-tech poly-house farming and hydroponics to provide a more affordable option for those interested in getting into this sector. India is a country with plenty of sunlight for the most part of the year, save for intermittent rain in the monsoon. As a consequence, grow lights for commercial hydroponic farming may not appear to be the most viable option.

Hydroponic Farming in Tamil Nadu has greatly benefited from the wealth of sunlight the state gets. FutureFarms is a startup that leverages Hydroponics and Controlled Environment Agriculture to provide Turnkey Hydroponic Solutions.

These turnkey acre based solutions are done on available flattened land, with the use of “Hi-Tech” poly-house farming and automated hydroponic systems to bring down the cost of hydroponics farming in India. This has enabled farmers to have a commercially viable business model based on Hydroponic produce in the current Indian agriculture market for the immediate need.

Indoor farming, in contrast, will be a necessity of the future for hydroponic farming in India.
With more migrations to cities from rural areas, Hydroponic farming in Tamilnadu and other states in India will have to turn to hyper-localized food factories in the metropolitan cities for production of food crops, this can only be done with the use of grow light systems, climate control, and hydroponics.

Currently, indoor farming has great application in extreme weather conditions, places with low levels of sunlight for a good portion of the year and for super specialized applications such as tissue culture and other biotechnological applications. The MonolithiQ is one such system from Future Farms that can be customized to suit various conditions with specialized application in humid regions.

With its inbuilt automatic climate control capability, it can maintain required temperatures consistently. It leverages technology from world-class monitoring and Dosing equipment from Future Farm’s international partner Bluelab from New Zealand and FutureFarms proprietary PlAi (read as ‘play’ for plant intelligence) software. The system is ideally suited to be used in research-intensive applications, as it provides a highly controlled and monitored environment and unlimited potential in data logging required parameters. The MonolithiQ stands as a statement to the technology that hydroponic plants in India will grow in, in the near future.

We are currently faced with a Grow light environment that is expensive and unregulated. The current lights use large quantities of electricity and are not the most energy efficient. But with the advent of more efficient and cheaper lighting technology which will bring down the cost of indoor hydroponic farming in India. Combine this with research into the right amount of light for supercharging crop growth. The possibilities are endless when we use indoor farming to take back control of our food.