Beginner questions: Is it possible to build a larger PFC sufficient for food needs?


Deleted this post, so typing this sentence in place of it.


“I’m a total beginner(…)but I don’t want to simply experiment with one”

If you are a total beginner you must start experimenting at some point. First to work out the quirks that come with every project. Then to make sure that your expectations were somewhat aligned with reality. There is a lot of talk about not needing pesticides and that growing hydroponically is completely pest-free, but depending on where you live you might have to change perspective.

Furthermore hydroponic systems are great for herbs and śalad. Fruits grow on trees and while it’s possible to grow trees hydroponically the risk might be higher, since time until harvest is longer.

From a smaller system it’s fairly easy to calculate area needed for your total needs. It will also give you a better view of the total costs and increase confidence. Being forced to throw away a crop session because of a simple mistake (or electrical failure) is never fun. Better to make those newbie mistakes in a smaller system than in a bigger one.

From what I have stumbled upon while researching hydroponics growing root vegetables is not cost-effective (compared to regular agriculture). Although I don’t have any sources so please check that out.

Lastly take note that while it’s faster to grow hydroponically it doesn’t take much to fail a crop.


Hey Enhacker, thank you so much for the reply!

Perhaps I miscommunicated or we did not read each other. I am fully aware that experimentation is needed. Very few things work on the first try. That being said, the only reason I mention wanting to build a bigger one is so that it is 1. most relevant to my interest (growing food to eat) 2. most relevant to my needs. 3. an attempt at being cost effective (so that I don’t need to keep building models over and over again but rather iterate on the existing one) - unless of course you mean build a smaller one, iterate on that, and once I’ve perfected it build a bigger one - which I’d be interested in as well!

Being forced to throw away a crop session for any reason is okay with me honestly. I’ve no issues with it as long as I can identify the issue and learn from the problem. Right now I’m in a learning phase therefore I’m not going to be quitting my job until I’ve learned as much as I need to learn to reduce problems considerably and increase redundancies considerably.

That way I’m much more motivated to actually embark on the project rather than build small prototypes that barely deliver. It seems to me though I could be wrong, relevancy (to ones goals) and specificity (about ones goals) is important otherwise failure rate is high due to lack of positive reinforcement (in behavioral science).

Also something to consider is the fact that because I’m working with a low budget I don’t want to waste money on frequent small prototypes as opposed to a bigger prototype which I can work on fixing parts of and learn from and eventually use.

If there happen to be any kinks to work out, I dont mind working them out progressively on a bigger system and experimenting with that. By “bigger” perhaps I’d need to specify how big… I was thinking something 2x or 4x the size of the PFC v3. OR something that is sufficient for my needs (which I imagine would be even bigger)

I don’t mind experimenting at all as long as that experimenting is not slowing me down or stopping me from my needs / goals but rather accelerating me on my path more than any other way available. In other words I’m looking for the fastest easiest path to my goal of growing food to consume without problems, and with automation, rather than ‘exploring’ in a way that isn’t directly contributing to that.

I want to be as efficient as my exposure to new information permits me to be. What I meant by the word “experimenting” was that I’m not really a “researcher” or “plant scientist” (even though I don’t mind going deeper) interested in studying plants rather I’m someone interested in growing food to consume. Keeping that main goal in mind for me is important since it’ll carry my interest. Anything that isn’t related to that or doesn’t contribute to that in some way won’t capture my interest as much and will therefore lead to a tapering off of that behavior. More significant and relevant contributions to that main goal make me gravitate to those approaches.

So it seems to me my definition of experimentation in this instance is slightly different than other definitions.

Are aeroponics possible with root vegetables and would that be cost-effective?

Thank you for that note on fruits! Would you be aware of other experimental systems / approaches to growing fruits that would be efficient / cost effective? As in something like In Vitro, grafting, or other areas? is it possible to graft an apple on a tomato plant for instance and use that in hydroponics or aeroponics?


In order to accomplish the goals you’ve mentioned, you will need to learn many skills that it sounds like you don’t have now. Here are a couple threads with links to resources that might help you get started:


That’s most definitely true wsnook! Thanks for the links!


By the way, I’d love to get your take on buying one of these systems instead as a shortcut to my goal:

Do you think that there are certain cons to buying these as opposed to building ones own system?

Beyond high cost, for instance, I’m thinking that it’s more likely planned obsolescence or just generally weak materials used in the manufacturing of those products could be a possibility. Another is perhaps that the quality of the food you make may not be as good as if you understand a bit more of what’s going on and can have an even more controlled environment for the kind of plant you want to grow. Are these not really appropriate concerns in relation to the links I shared above? Either way, would love to hear your thoughts if you have any on potential drawbacks of buying one ready-made vs. making one yourself.