“Through our vertical growing practices, we are able to grow and harvest thousands of heads of lettuce per week on a substantially smaller footprint. Through technology, today’s growers can produce more by using less.“
“We have the largest vertical farm in the State of Maryland, where you can pick strawberries in season. No synthetic pesticides or fertilizers are used.”
Mr Stacky Farms
“About 17,000 strawberry plants have been planted and we are targeting opening for U-pick in early December. Stay tuned for updates!”
“The goal of SERF is to provide free educational programs and to donate food grown on the farm to local food banks and soup kitchens to feed the homeless and less fortunate”
“Delivering an innovative, modern, space efficient and affordable way of farming to encourage more self-sufficient and healthy lifestyles.”
ro farms cost analysis
How do we stack up? Comparison of Quarter Acre NFT vs Mr Stacky Farm
Mr. Stacky Farm
Yield p/sq meter
6 - 12 heads p/month
32 - 48 heads p/month
Yield p/quarter acre
6000 - 12000 heads p/month
32000 - 48000 heads p/month
Gross income @ $1.50 p/head
$9000 - $18000 p/month
$48,000 - $72,000 p/month
Channels / Planters
$20,000 - $30,000
$30,000 - $50,000
$10,000 - $20,000
$10,000 - $15,000
Irrigation & Plumbing
$2,000 - $3,000
$4,000 - $5,000
$2,000 - $3,000
$5,000 - $8000
$3,000 - $5,000
Not Applicable (No need for pumps, reservoirs or re-circulation!)
Nutrient (3 mths supply)
circa $3,600 p/month 28,000w p/day @ .12 p/kwh 600w pumps @ 12 hrs on p/day
Negligible (No pumps needed)
circa $29 p/month 20,000 litres at $1.45 p/kl
circa $43.50 p/month 30,000 litres @ $1.45 p/kl (1 litre p/tower p/day x 1000 towers)
circa $500 p/month
Negligable (Almost no waste product)
*Above estimates based on leaf lettuce production & exclude labor, cultivar & optional greenhouse/infrastructure costs.
Up to 9x higher yields p/square meter using 80% less water
Drain to waste - no water re-circulation logistics or issues
Simple low cost set-up and maintenance
Vertical Hydroponic Gardening
It is well documented that hydroponic farming produces a higher yield p/square meter than traditional agricultural techniques. Thus, the hydroponic farming movement is on a strong upwards growth trend which is forecast to proceed well into the future.
New technology is now available for farmers to utilize hydroponic techniques in smaller spaces using vertical growing systems. The advantages of vertical hydroponic gardening are profound and include:
Significant increase in yield/square meter
Water consumption efficiency
Reduction in ground pests and disease
Ease of harvest and maintenance
‘The old way’
There are various hydroponic farming methods with different advantages & disadvantages depending on the crop type and other factors. By far the most prevalent method for growing ‘fast crops’ such as lettuce, chinese vegetables and leafy greens is NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) whereby a steady stream of water is re-circulated past the bare plant roots in a water tight channel. This method is responsible for most of today’s lettuce production in Western countries.
While NFT is highly effective, it relies on a reservoir, water pump and re-circulation network to return the water back through the channels on a continual basis. The maintenance & monitoring of this type of system is significant as a pump failure could result in an entire crop death within 4-8 hours. There is waste product which must be flushed regularly, and the yield is limited by the size of the horizontal field area.
‘The new way’
Drain to Waste
With drain to waste, there is no need for water re-circulation, costly pumps, reservoir’s and related infrastructure. You simply hook up the system to the water mains and utilize a simple valve system which controls water to various zones on a timed basis.
This combined with a fertilizer injector allows you to inject nutrient at very exact quantities which is passed through the system to each tower and fed from above. You then let gravity do the rest.
Watering in short bursts of 2-3 minutes every 4-8 hours throughout the day ensures each tower contains optimal hydration. As you have full control over the zones and duration, you can time each feed so that only a drop or 2 of ‘waste’ is simply absorbed into the ground. This is the future of hydroponic gardening.
These hydroponic growing systems utilize an inert medium typically consisting of 70% coco coir 30% perlite. This medium is an excellent wick which means you only need to supply water to one part of the tower. The medium will wick the water to all parts of the tower effectively.
This method ensures almost no hydration variances thereby limiting plant stress so you can optimize each plants yield.
Advantages of Drain to Waste
Commercial quality yields
No waste product or flushing of system required
Low operational costs
Plant constantly receives fresh nutrient instead of reconstituted/depleted nutrient
Easier to maintain a consistent PH level
Nutrient water is less prone to pathogen attack
Significantly less logistical and maintenance issues compared to re-circulation
Ideal for smaller plants or large plants with large fluid retention rates
Effective insulation of roots from extreme heat (using coco/perlite medium)
Strong buffers against any prolonged moisture loss
Almost no electricity usage as there is no water pump required
Highly cost effective with reusable medium
To speak with a Hydroponic Farm Vertical Gardening Specialist. Contact us