What can and what can't be grown?


Hey guys, just found out about OpenAG.

I’m considering transforming a full room of my house (say 500sq ft) for vertical farming.

I made a quick list of foods I’d like to grow but I have no clue what can and what can’t be grown:
❏ Broccoli
❏ Lemons
❏ Mint
❏ Lavender
❏ Tomatoes
❏ Avocado
❏ Hot Peppers
❏ Cucumbers
❏ Basil
❏ Leaf Lettuce
❏ Spinach
❏ Beet
❏ Lacinato kale
❏ Brussel Sprouts
❏ Green Beans
❏ Asparagus
❏ Wheatgrass
❏ Black Beans
❏ Collard Greans

If you want simply consider this as a hypothetical question where room size and budget are not in play. Thanks!

Growing Veggies packed w/ Flavor & Nutrition

I think the limits of what you can grow are only limited by space, access and knowledge. Essentially, the PFC is mimicking natural conditions from anywhere on earth (except for extreme cases). There are some plants that consumers have no access to and others which science simply doesn’t know much about.

I would say all of things on your list can be grown either hydro or aeroponicly. The interesting part is tweaking the variables to figure out what works best.


That’s great news, I guess the limits are then vegetables that grow under the soil (garlic, ginger, turmeric, beets) ?


Root vegetables are definitely possible. A quick search in Google or YouTube for hydroponic or aeroponic root vegetables brings up many websites, articles and videos with examples.

With some creativity and research, you can probably grow whatever you want. It sounds crazy but, I’d love to try growing trees aeroponicly. Do some experiments!


The point is: Does it make any sense to grow a tree under artificial light? Furthermore, is there a real advantage in growing a tree without soil? The usual greenhouse is usually good enough to grow citrics, and a little extra light and temperature control might be all you need.

As a rule, the vegetables which are grown for their leaves (aromatic plants, lettuces, etc.) can be grown in a relatively short period of time, thus with a moderate energy bill, fruit vegetables can take a significant amount of space and energy to yield a moderate harvest.

As far as I have read, radish might be the shortest vegetable to grow (about 4 weeks under standard conditions , i.e. on soil and outdoors, climate permitirng).

I am a newcomer to hydroponics, but from what I’ve read here and there, there is huge difference in resources demanded by diferent plants. If cost is an issue, carefull selection of plants and cultivars can make a huge difference.

Is there any statistics in cost per kilo/pound of different plants (regarding to energy, nutrients, etc) ?

Disclaimer; Not only am I a newcomer, I am also Spanish, so my English may contain more mistakes than the average. Sorry for thalt.


@juanmak The tree thing wasn’t a part of the original post but, to answer your question of “why?” would be things like potential speed of maturity, ability to grow indoors (important for growing in hostile environments), control over growth variables, less water usage, etc. The problem of course would be weight and space but, those could be overcome with creativity.


@Bkirkland I know is a bit late for this, but would it be possible to move that tree to soil after a few years?


Absolutely, hydroponics and especially aeroponics is best suited for propogation.


lol. a late reply to a late reply. :wink:

Yeah, theoretically it could. I assume you are thinking of an Avocado or a Mango tree being grown hydroponically and then transplanted into a greenhouse with soil later? I would love to see someone try.


I snipped your comment a bit. I think this is a worthy discussion and i think your right. I don’t think it should be limited to Aero or Hydro growing though, but rather to any indoor or space limited area. I know most if not all PFC are using hydroponics or aeroponics, but not all them may. I know i plan on one for Martian climate approximation and breeding plants to grow well in martian regolith simulant soil. Heck i might use one with plain soil as well for normal growing. So i don’t think plant varieties necessarily should be limited to hydro-based or similar systems.

But back on topic, i do think it would be wise to start compiling a list of known plant varieties or cultivars that might do well in container gardening and thus in the type of systems being developed here or similar projects being cross-linked and talked about here.

I’ll go first.

I saw an interesting super bush cucumber variety today that might work well. It’s called ‘Salad Bush Hybrid’ from the Burgess seed company.

I have a super dwarf pea variety i’m going to experiment with called ‘Mighty Midget’. Though currently i am the only person who has this variety other than the USDA GRIN. A similar variety that is commercially available, though has much starchier seeds, is the one known as ‘Tom Thumb’. I notice NASA has been using the ‘Oregon Sugar Pod II’ variety, which is not a bush pea, but rather a tall pea. An interesting choice… especially for NASA… would be cool to hear why they chose that one…

A tomato variety which i know is being used in hydroponic experiments, and also in high-salinity tolerance experiments is the one from underwoodgardens.com aka. Terroir Seeds known as ‘Wild Galapagos Tomato Seeds - (Solanum cheesmaniae)’. It is actually one of my new favorite tomato varieties. Although having been able to grow true Solanum cheesmaniae tomatoes from the Galapagos Islands i have to tell you that sadly these are not pure Solanum cheesmaniae but rather some sort of hybrid between Solanum cheesmaniae and some sort of domestic tomato. They have the best of both worlds though! And who knows, they may have retained some of Solanum cheesmaniae 's salt tolerance. If so, these may be able to handle more salty hydroponics conditions where other varieties might die. BUT, these are an indeterminate tomato variety. Some have already mentioned in other threads, that if space is a concern that determinate tomato varieties might be much better suited for this. I’m going to go ahead and test indeterminate tomatoes though. Monster growth does not scare me (…yet… lol). I just started some of these in my test fogponics system. I think they would be a great variety for this as they are fast growing, small tasty tomatoes, grow prolifically, and easy to re-root, maybe salt-tolerant as well.