With most supply chains shut down, getting vegetables, herbs, and seasonings, has become difficult and expensive. Crops grown in big towns could solve this problem! Covid-19 realities have sunk for consumers, and many are seeking non-soil farming technologies that can supplement their food supplies.Below are some vertical farming technologies for vegetable gardens

Vertical farms

 Vertical farming involves the use of space rather than land. Crops are grown in layers and sometimes in a controlled environment. It optimises plant growth and soilless farming techniques such as hydroponics, aeroponics, and aquaponics.

In some facilities, plants are grown indoors using precision-controlled temperatures, lighting, and water supplies, with very high levels of efficiency.

Rooftop farming

 Using this technique, the top floors or roofs of buildings are designed to hold soil, a greenhouse, an irrigation system, and other related farming equipment.

 In the US, start-ups such as Sky Vegetables have mastered the craft. They operate an 8,000-square foot rooftop farm and distribute herbs and lettuce to many food chains.

Multi-storey gardening entails planting of vegetables at the top and sides of a bag filled with soil and manure. Hanging multi-storey garden entails planting vegetables at the top and sides in hanging containers filled with a mixture of soil and manure. The multiple containers are arranged in stories or stairs created by a framework hence a hanging garden.

Key-hole garden

This is a raised, round-shaped garden, aligned with stones or supported with poles such as bamboo. A composting basket is built into its centre, giving the garden a keyhole shape when viewed from above. The different layers help retain the soil moisture, making it more productive than a conventional garden. The composting basket replenishes the soil’s nutrients and spreads them into the garden. The materials used to make the garden are available locally and are inexpensive. Greenhouse for verandahs At the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Jkuat), researchers have developed a small greenhouse that can fit in a backyard or on a verandah.

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The six by four metre greenhouse can hold 60 tomato plants and feed a family of five for two months. The Jkuat experts believe vertical farming can boost food security during a health crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the immense upfront cost and constant monitoring that some of these structures require is a challenge that we will have to deal with.

Read full story inside Issue 46 of Smart Farmer Magazine to download CLICK HERE

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