One of the things that attracts me to indoor vegetable farming, is the ability to protect the plants from mother nature’s undesirable elements. Growing indoors allows me to control the temperature, insects, lighting and nutrient levels of each type of plant. Although there are several vegetables that grow best in the summer, some have different nutrient requirements. Some plants have different maturation lengths which may be better served by using different colored lights to help them along for best results. If you are in a region that is going through a drought such as the west coast is now, you can also control the amount of water the plants consume by growing in containers such as 5 gallon buckets or vertical towers. When growing lettuce, using a floating raft is extremely popular and successful around the world, and allows one to circulate the water so it can be filtered and reused again and again, allowing even a small backyard grower to save gallons upon gallons of water that would otherwise be lost to the ground. Occasionally you have to add fresh water, but not to the extent of having to water every day or even 4 times a week. I grow some vegetables and fruit in buckets, adding an air hose for aeration. I only have to add more water 1 or 2 times through the lifetime of the plant.
This photo to the shows lettuce being grown with the floating raft system. I’ll get into the details at a later time, but in short, plants that don’t flower, such as spinach and lettuce do well with their roots totally immersed in water at all times. The second photo demonstrates the zip grow tower developed by Dr. Nate Storey at the University of Wyoming. He has since created his own farm and business around this product called Bright Agrotech. Both of these systems can be used indoors or outdoors, but as I said before, you would have much more control over the health and growth of your plants inside. The zip grow towers are best for any plant that doesn’t have a heavy hanging fruit. In other words, you would be most successful growing herbs or leafy vegetables.
There are many indoor hydroponics systems available, many different types of nutrients, depending on whether you want to go with organic or manufactured chemicals, and many places and web stores to buy entire systems, or just parts to create your own ideas with. So if you’re looking for a challenging hobby or to take control of your own nutrition, indoor vegetable farming might be for you.