Have you ever desired to grow your own vegetables or herbs at home but were unable to do so for lack of space? Or start a business which is profitable as well as organic? If so, hydroponic gardening could be the answer you’ve been looking for.
What is Hydroponics?
The science of soil-less gardening is called hydroponics. It basically involves growing healthy plants without the use of a traditional soil medium and by using a nutrient like a mineral rich water solution instead. A plant just needs selected nutrients, some water, and sunlight to grow. Not only do plants grow without soil, they often grow a lot better with their roots in water instead.
What are its benefits?
Hydroponic gardening is fast becoming a popular choice for many green entrepreneurs around the world due to its more sustainable approach to resource usage than the usual agricultural methods. Here are a few of its many benefits:
- By providing constant and readily available nutrition, hydroponics allows plants to grow up to 50% faster than they would in soil. Also, fresh products can be harvested from a hydroponic garden throughout the year.
- Great for both the environment and the grown product, hydroponic gardening virtually eliminates the need for herbicides and pesticides compared to traditional soil gardening.
- Any water that is used in hydroponic gardening stays in the system and can be reused, reducing the constant need for a fresh water supply!
- Arable land is often in short supply and gardening space continues to decrease. A great option when you lack yard space or have a tiny balcony, hydroponics also lends itself really well to indoor gardening.
Startups with a Hydroponics Business
Only an expert gardener knows how difficult it can be to grow plants and how much extra care it takes with special attention to soil, fertilizer and light. One can’t get the process right and expect good yields without getting his/her hands dirty. But, to make their work a lot easy and convenient, many start-ups in India are working on hydroponics farming.
Here’s a list of four start-ups in India that are innovating agriculture methods and leading the way in indoor farming.
Letcetra Agritech is Goa’s first, indoor hydroponics farm, growing good quality, pesticide-free vegetables. The farm in Goa’s Mapusa is an unused shed and currently, produces over 1.5 to 2 tons of leafy vegetables like various varieties of lettuce and herbs in its 150 sq metre area. The start-up is founded by Ajay Naik, a software engineer-turned-hydroponics farmer. He gave up his IT job to help farmers in the country.
Bengaluru-based Iot and data analytics start-up BitMantis Innovation with its IoT solution GreenSAGE enables individuals and commercial growers to conveniently grow fresh herbs throughout the year. The GreenSAGE is a micro-edition kit that uses hydroponics methods for efficient use of water and nutrients. It is equipped with two trays to grow micro-greens at one’s own convenience.
Agri-tech start-up Junga FreshnGreen has joined hands with InfraCo Asia Development Pte. Ltd. (IAD) this year to develop hydroponics farming methods in India. The project started with the development of a 9.3-hectare hydroponics-based agricultural facility at Junga in Himachal Pradesh’s Shimla district.
Junga FreshnGreen is a joint venture with a leading Netherlands-based Agricultural technology company – Westlandse Project Combinatie BV (WPC) — to set up high-technology farms in India. Their goal is to create a Hydroponics model cultivating farm fresh vegetables that have a predictable quality, having little or no pesticides and unaffected by weather or soil conditions. They will be grown in a protected, greenhouse environment.
Chennai-based Future Farms develops effective and accessible farming kits to facilitate Hydroponics that preserves the environment while growing cleaner, fresher and healthier produce. It focuses on being environment friendly through rooftop farming and precision agriculture. The company develops indigenous systems and solutions, made from premium, food grade materials that are efficient and affordable.
This mode of farming could soon be adopted in condominiums and high-rises as it would enable residents to grow vegetables free from the harmful effects of chemicals.
The demand for safer and healthier food has prompted the use of new technologies and scientific research to grow fruits and vegetables without chemicals.