Where's the cooling aspect of the food computer


Sorry I forgot to post what we are experimenting with as a baseline system

this guy is great


Like I mentioned my interest in the forum was hopefully to learn something new that would make growing hydroponically more energy cost effective. I have yet to see anything of that nature here. Not to learn how to build a food computer. I know how to grow plants indoors and control the environment to get big healthy plants, that’s the easy part. The real trick is to be able to do it cost effectively.

The information and data I was referring to has nothing to do with so called food computers. I’m talking about research done by horticulturists and hydroponic researchers that understand plant biology. They not only study plants and plant growth it in the lab, but in the field in real world applications advising commercial growers.

I know that the hard core TECH people believe turning everything into a computer controlled device is the answer to everything, after all it’s their life and what their passionate about. But the fact is making things overly complicated and expensive doesn’t always make it better. I know you believe in being able to some day make it cost effective and efficient, but you will never be able to make the food computer design more cost effective than what’s already being done world wide, that is pure fantasy. Even though I’m sure you will eventually be making advances in the “food computers,” advances will continue to be made in the real world applications as well, and the food computer design will always be 3 steps behind trying to catch up.

As for the geothermal AC system, it’s not complicated in the slightest, and last time I checked they have shovels even in third world country’s. In fact they have a lot of them. Land and dirt is something they have plenty of as well. I never said it was the perfect answer for every application, just saying where the ability to build it exists, it’s the most cost effective approach I know of for any size grow room/greenhouse. It’s also less evasive than you think, how big and elaborate it would need to be is proportional to the size of the grow room/greenhouse. If you have land to place the greenhouse on/ you have land to install the Sub T system. Large commercial greenhouses that need a lot of air flow can use an even more effective design. And once in ground you would never even know it’s there.

As for simply being able to open a box and make the food computer operational. Operational and cost effective are vastly different things. It’s far more cost effective to design and build a custom hydroponic system than to buy any commercially manufactured/built system. I help people all around the world do just that. Not just in America, but even in places like Africa, Haiti, the Philippines, India, even Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan as well as Europe.

I agree that we need to reduce our dependency on land and water resources. That’s the main reason why I started to grow hydroponically. It’s also why teach people how to grow their plants hydroponically, as well as economically and successfully. To promote hydroponics for growing food as a viable method for both home growers as well as commercial growers.

Yes I know there have been great strides in hydroponic farming in the last couple of decades, that’s the whole point. But I think you and I see the term “great strides” two different ways. You look at it as a science experiment, however I look at as a practical means to maximize space (any space) for home growers, as well as to save land and water resources for commercial growers. I consider it making strides when we can improve on what’s already being done now, not hoping to be able to 50 years from now. BTW,. it’s not called “containerization of farms” it’s called Controlled Environment Agriculture.

That’s what hydroponics (Controlled Environment Agriculture) is all about, being able to take advantage of unused space anywhere, including in urban environments like city’s city’s and even in under developed city’s. But the strides and progress being made is is in actually doing it. The food computer system will always be far behind the real world, both in efficiency and cost effectiveness. . .

Yes those videos have been out for a long time now. though I’m not fond of the kratky method. it’s nothing more than a water culture system without the air pump. There is a reason modern water culture systems use a air pump, and/other water movement/aeration methods. But in areas where electricity is unreliable or unavailable it is a viable method. However if you do have electricity, it costs next to nothing to run an air pump. Furthermore for the amount of pants the guy is growing, there are far better ways to grow them that are more efficient as well as less problematic and less maintenance. I prefer to use a drip system for growing large plants, as well as large numbers of many types of plants.


well let’s see who wins? The container farm group (techno biologists) who control the environment through computers OR the biologists who try and understand the environment rather than create and control it. luckily your or my opinion doesn’t matter. The market will show us the way,as it already is.
In fact everything is leading towards the protection against climate by efficiently stabilizing the environment and the reduction on a antiquated open system, fields greenhouses etc. and moving towards containers and their ilk. We understand about tower farms and have many examples, the one in O’hare airport for one, it’s not really interesting to us right now as it’s well understood and seems to be very profitable to those who farm that way. As I said we are thrashing this forum to death with this and I see no reason to continue it, I thank you for your views and I am happy to let the market decide, for that is the final arbiter of efficiency


Yes the market will decide, and it already has decided. Trying to relabel “Controlled Environment Agriculture” as “container farming” doesn’t change the truth or facts. Biologists and horticulturists study plants and plant growth so we know how better to grow the plants. Controlled Environment Agriculture (hydroponics) is the process in which we control the environment the plants grow in.

Biologists, horticulturalists, botanists and hydroponic researchers have all been studding the micro biology of the root zone, the relationship between photosynthesis and DLI, air and water temperatures, humidity, and CO2 uptake. Even the relationship between certain wavelength of light and specific plant functions, as well as pigment, chemical, and sugar production within the plant tissue. Those subjects have been well research for many decades and well documented. Hydroponic researchers not only expand on that research in the hydroponics field, but also put it into practice in the real world in commercial grows all around the world…

This research has lead to not only a vastly better understanding of the growing environment (climates) affect on the plants growth, health, and production. But has led to a vastly better understanding of nutrient formulation, and much better nutrient solutions as well.

You say you wear your ignorance of growing plants hydroponically on your sleeve proudly. But that lack of knowledge and experience is very apparent by both your complete lack of knowledge about growing plants in the first place, but more importantly by the lack of knowledge of the Controlled Environment Agriculture industry in the first place. I’m not trying to sound superior or better, we all start somewhere and fallow different roads, but trying to invent what has already been invented is a waste of time and money. If your going to try and invent something, you should try and learn about it first so you don’t waste your time and money. The so called Food Computer’s are always going to be far behind Controlled Environment Agriculture, both in research as well as in real world application.

Nobody is trashing the food computer enthusiasts. But facts are facts, and just because your oblivious to them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I’m not trying to say you should quit doing what your doing. It’s your time. your effort, and your money, spend it any way you want. I do wish it was focused more in areas where it would make a difference and be useful to the Controlled Environment Agriculture industry though.

Yes the market is what drives industry and research. That’s why real world applications of Controlled Environment Agriculture are leading the way. Hydroponic methods are being used to grow produce around the world. If industry can’t produce their products economically, they won’t sell. That’s why there are thousands of commercial hydroponic farms growing produce around the world, both in controlled environments as well as outside, Many crops are to costly to grow inside due to electrical costs, and thus why we desperately need advancements in that area. But while there are thousands of commercial growers growing crops hydroponically and in Controlled Environment Agriculture, not one is using a overly priced “Food Computer.” So I completely agree, the market has spoken, and will continue to focus on and make improvements in the Controlled Environment Agriculture industry.


Great so we agree, container farms win. Good luck in the future with your enterprise.You are about to get A LOT of competition from the ignorants. Remember we have tech on our side in the form of GIANT data facilities that need to dump a considerable amount of heat and use A LOT of electrical energy, ergo those problems will be corrected very quickly. Once that happens any CONTAINED space will be made available by the judicious application of modular CONTAINER systems as the implementation of a growing environment is pretty simple once the area dynamics are understood.

The point here is that we provide as close to an ideal growth environment, based on the research of BIOLOGISTS contained in the machine logic, and course correct when things go wrong by a simple video feed to the experts any where on the globe. So whether the CONTAINER is an inflatable tent in a rain-forest or a shipping container in Afghanistan, the approach will be the same. As we both agree container farming is on the up tick and should be fun and profitable for all.

I would go further and say that Google and MIT will get to this first through data center research THEN funding ( in the case of Google) the implementation of CONTAINER FARMS for emerging nations. Complete with internet video hook up to experts throughout the globe to visually resolve issues (as in our case to quickly resolve leaf burn), and youtube videos to teach the ignorants ( all hail MHP FARMER and his ilk). We, the ignorants, took the ideas from MHP and have an excellent low maintenance environment that provides us with 2 lettuce per day and YEP we can easily scale up (literally as we live in an apartment). All we do add his mix to water, put the seed in the top of milk carton, blast it with T5 light for an empirically arrived at time and out the other end comes excellent lettuce, heat hits us right now but we are working on that. We want to understand the still water system then look into drip feed tower ala the o’hare approach ( see we do listen to EXPERTS) So we are learning from the LEARNED and correcting for our situation AND adding our skills to the mix. For that is how innovation progresses, most times ignorance of a problem solves it in unique ways. As to the testing systems, that’s straight out of the medical testing field with cheap and efficient hand held testers linked to the same high speed internet for real time analysis.

As I say GREAT luck in the future with your enterprise and we will see who is profitable in the long run, for that truly is the test of an opinion. My ignorance tells me that people will want a cost effective, low maintenance, modular product in a contained environment which is well understood and largely separated from external forces, It’s a area problem ( heat and cool just what you need) should not be a location problem. You might want to think about how much extra space you are messing with AND how much the outside environment screws you up. Oh and by the way CONTAINER FARMS ( gotta feed the engines) nice try Uni of Az on the other thing


I don’t know if your intentionally being obtuse or not, but you obviously have no understanding of what I’m telling you. No you didn’t invent " hydroponics" and “Controlled environment agriculture”.

You can waste your time trying to build a box to collect as much data as you can, but if you knew anything about what your trying to do you would already know where to find the data your trying to collect. That has already been done, and as I keep saying your FAR, FAR, FAR behind in the learning curve. Instead of trying to collect data points about variables that is already known, it would be far more advantageous to improve what can be improved and make the biggest difference. But again it’s not my time and money, you can waste it any way you want.

There are a few problems with that statement:

  1. Like I keep trying to impress upon you,because of your lack of experience and knowledge even where to look to find the information, you have no clue what environmental factors affect the plants growth, in what ways does it affect them, as well as what the specific needs of specific plants are, and how their affected by changes most. That information already exists, but your totally oblivious to it.

  2. Your totally oblivious to the fact that you don’t need to build a overpriced $5,000 food computer to be able to control the growing environment to grow a couple of small plants. Again I have been trying to impress upon you that grow rooms and greenhouses are doing just that all around the world. Not in “food computers” like your trying to invent, but in real life, real world applications. Both in peoples homes, as well as commercial applications. But again your completely oblivious to that fact. If you had any understanding of the field of hydroponics and Controlled Environment Agriculture you would already know that. That’s how I now you don’t.

  3. You don’t need computer sensors. hardware, software, and controls to be able to control the growing environment. Again if you had any experience whatsoever, and had ever looked at people doing it, you would understand that. You can still control the environment precisely and cheaply without all the expense your trying to create. Just because you can make something more expensive, doesn’t mean it’s better. But you want to waste tons of money and time learning the basics of the learning curve. As I keep saying the biggest drawback isn’t systems and controls, it’s the electrical cost to run the environmental control devices. Namely heating and cooling costs, as well as artificial lighting costs.

This is already being done. Their called Hydroponic consultants, and they help both home and commercial growers with any issues or problems they may have. They can help in person, on the phone or internet, and from anywhere in the world. Again your far, far behind the industry trying to play catch up.

Two problems with that statement.

  1. You don’t even have any clue what maintenance is involved in growing the plants, or maintaining the systems in the first place. That’s a big part of your problem. First you need to grow some plants successfully to learn the basics before you can learn what automation would help, and what isn’t necessary. Skipping that aspect just wastes time and money. The problem here is computer techs think everything needs to be computer controlled and automated or they can’t understand how it can function otherwise. Just because you can make something more complicated and expensive doesn’t mean it’s better.

  2. Again as I keep trying to tell you, if you had any clue about the Controlled Environment Agriculture industry you would know computer control systems already exist. Both for home growers as well as commercial growers.They don’t need a “Food Computer” to work either. Nor are they necessary to grow healthy plants. Their used for one reason, to reduce labor costs by automating repetitive tasks. thus the amount of people on the payroll. Again if you had any understanding of the Controlled Environment Agriculture industry you would already know that.

You make me laugh, You really have no clue what’s important or not. People that need a device to grow the plants for them will never use it in the first place. It will just be a novelty. I have seen many people go all out spending all their money to automate things and just loose interest because they really didn’t have any real interest in the plants in the first place. That’s the difference between having a green thumb and black thumb. No computer box is going to change that.

Case in point, one guy I know joined a forum asking all kinds of questions about how to grow the plants (how much light to use, type of nutrients to use etc. etc. etc). He was a computer tech and was building an automated system to grow some strawberries.He also mentioned he didn’t really care about growing plants, he just liked to use his computer skills to make something work. I warned him about spending all that money trying build an automated system before even knowing what would benefit from automation and what wouldn’t. He didn’t care, building it was where all the fun was for him. He had a few problems I helped him through and the plants started taking off. Then he just quit. I kept checking his progress blog looking for updates, but even a year later, nothing. He just quit because he just didn’t care about growing plants in the first place. I have seen the same thing over and over.

Getting 2 heads of lettuce a week out of a $5,000 box is nothing but a waste of money. Not only will it take you over 2,500 weeks (48 years) to break even, but I can design a system to grow far more for about $100. When you bring the cost down to under $100-$200 for a 24 Sq foot grow area (including lights) that can produce 16 heads of lettuce a week let me know. Again my point is just because you can make something more complicated and expensive, doesn’t mean it’s better. It doesn’t mater how big you can make a food computer, or how many plants or produce you think you will be able to get out of it, Anybody can build a inexpensive custom hydro system to be able to grow much more, and for far less money. Your food computer is nothing but a very costly novelty plain and simple. If you had any experience growing plants hydroponically you would already know that.

People do want a cost effective way to grow their own produce, but your food computer is not even close to cost effective. It’s so far away from being cost effective it’s laughable. As I said before, no mater how much you think you can bring down the cost to build it, you will NEVER be able to make it more cost effective than what people can already do without it. Both in being cost effective, as well as productivity for both commercial growers as well as home growers. If you want to be productive you would work on reducing electrical costs for artificial lighting and heating and cooling devices.

Again here is where your lack of understanding of hydroponics and the Controlled Environment Agriculture industry really shows. Anyone can get far more produce per Sq foot building their own custom hydro systems than you ever will in the “food computer” Both home growers and commercial growers growing either outside as well as in grow rooms and/or greenhouses. The key is understanding how hydroponic systems work, what makes them different, as well as understanding the particular needs of the plant you want to grow. Not to mention building a prorogation system for seed starts and plant rotation can increase productively greatly.

The key to being cost effective growing in controlled environments (grow rooms/greenhouses) is not wasting money on expensive and not needed systems and electronics, But in understanding how best to use your local environment strengths, as well as what the plants would benefit most from help with.

If you had any experience or knowledge about the Controlled Environment Agriculture industry, you would know how profitable it already is. Go ahead and spend your time and money on novelty items. Case in point: the Aero Garden! it;s your time and money to waste. You may make a few bucks selling them, but your simply delusional if you think it’s ever going to be anything other than a novelty.

OK, so give me a link to a affordable small hand held EC/TDS/PPM meter that can both identify every element in the water, as well as give the value of each one? I would love to see it because that would be something that would be useful as long as it was affordable for the average person. They large bench top versions exist in labs, but small handheld affordable ones don’t exist on the public market. If they did they would be sold in hydroponic shops cost to cost.

What supposed enterprise of mine are you talking about?

Can I grow strawberries with a PFC(v2)?

There are some consumer products on the market that have limited possibilities but they have the benefit to be available :

Green Farm (Japan)

Haier (China)

Opcom (Taïwan)

These are good bases to hack


looks excellent thanks for pointing this out. Like the form factor.


Here is one more example from Russia:


The cost is pretty high though (from $2K) and last time I checked they did not sell it yet. So I’m looking forward to find real customers feedback and real live pictures vs just pretty renders they have right now.

But still, I like the idea of open sourced OpenAg PFC much more than any fancy, closed sourced, commercial beauty.


Nice rendering… I’ve seen many of these vapourware, but the Japanese Green Farm is 2 years old, and the Haier 18 months (on the market). And they are quite cheap (at least for Haier @899 RMB).


Yes, proves my point. vastly overpriced novelty products like those are all over the place. First, those products contain far less computer parts, functions, and sensors than the so called “food Computers.” their simply a mini greenhouse/grow room. But second and most importantly, products like those are still nothing but show pieces for people with money to waste who not only don’t care about actually being cost effective, but don’t care how little they can grow in them.

Their novelty items, kind of like a fish tank. Nice to look at, and a conversation piece in the room, but not rally useful for much else. Sure they can grow minimal amounts of small plants in them, but not enough to even make a difference in a grocery bill. It will take 30-40 years to break even just from the cost of the unit, That doesn’t even include the consumables like nutrients and electrical costs. People don’t buy them to grow food cost effectively, they buy them for 3 reasons.

  1. Like I already mentioned as a novelty show piece for their homes.

  2. As a gift from rich people for friends and family to get them interested in hydroponics. Much like the Aero Guarden fad. Just as a starter system to get them interested in hydroponics. But once they do get interested, the novelty system goes on a shelf in the closet or garage, and they build a real system to grow enough plants to actually grow enough produce to eat, but cost effectively as well. A tomato doesn’t taste better because it cost $40 to grow. If it’s not cheaper to grow yourself there’s no point in growing it.

  3. The reality is most of those type units are bought by pot growers to grow their seedlings in. But again when you make $1,000-$1,500 a pound for your product, you simply don’t care about being cost effective in the first place. In fact that’s the biggest problem in the hydroponics industry. When the pot growers are willing to pay any price for products, the manufactured don’t have any incentive to reduce their prices. Their profit margins are 10-20 times higher than normal, simply because pot growers don’t care about being cost effective. They make it up and much more in one crop.

But when your growing fruits and veggies, you have to be cost effective/efficient or there’s no point in growing them. That’s all I do, and what I help others to do as well. That’s the whole point behind my website www.HomeHydroSystems.com to help people understand how hydroponic systems work, what makes them different, and how to build their own custom hydroponic systems. Not only to grow their plants successful and get the most out of their space and budget, but also to be cost effective. Being cost effective means “cost the same or less to grow than to buy at the store”.

In many cases it’s even cheaper to grow plants hydroponically than growing them in soil if you do it cost efficiently. That means largely getting the most out of the materials and space you have to work with, using the least amount of electricity as possible, and sourcing out cost effective nutrients. If you do that. growing plants hydroponically costs less than buying the potting soil and soil amendments, as well as the additional fertilizers needed to grow plants in soil.

There are manufactures that sell cost effective nutrients and other products, but you have to look for them because 90% of the manufactures cater to the pot industry, not the home growers or commercial produce industry. So you have to know what to look for and where to get them from.

So again, thanks again for proving my point… People who buy those units have money to waste and buy them to show off, not to be cost effective or productive. Their nothing but a novelty and conversation piece. The Aero garden sold millions of units as well, but nobody uses them to grow real produce either.

Have you seen the aquaponics show piece yet. It’s a drip system that has a fish tank at the bottom. It’s literally a fish tank show piece. Not that’s worth the money, but it is a nice show piece if you like having fish tanks. Here’s a concept picture of it.

It will never grow enough produce to be productive, but it looks great. Even so, you could build something very similar for a fraction of the cost of a manufactured unit. You could even custom build it for a specific space when you build your own.


I live in a neighbourhood where recycling is 20% of the local business, and I can tell you that you can build fabulous things scavenging in these recycling yards. They also get the stupid as F. toys like isolation pods for Spa or Airports (malls). So, we may see some of these nice design toys in a few years :smiley:

I don’t any guy doing hydroponics / aquaponics that ate from his production more $$ than he spent in his setup. Only commercial growers can produce enough to eat from the leftovers and you better like lettuce !


so do I BUT anything that gets people thinking about how to get going on this is fine by me. It’s like the pc industry, first came the hobbists then jobs, next IBM/gates then the cost curve went down and finally we end up with linux and the excellent Raspberry Pi and open source. It’s just the way of things. People want this just in a convenient form. It’s getting to that form which the is the trick. I suspect you are correct that apartment growing will always be for small stuff BUT in Cities we have masses of space that goes unused, this is where the container farm concept kicks in. We need to build UP not out and just look at a container yard. So these initiatives will serve to find what the acceptable form factor is, what people want to grow in them. Lettuce is a good start, we’re knee deep in the stuff right now, as we take a phased approach using the shelves and angle the planks from the light to address the differing heights. For a family of two with $100 expended, we are eating fresh lettuce most days.


yep many vapourware and that’s as if should be, they serve as warnings from the past not visions for the future. It’s the acceptable form factor that interests me, I suspect that we are going to consider, at least in the cities, height not breadth. I think there is a simple beauty in watching the plants grow but that exposes the grow area to external forces. Spent the day yesterday chatting with the Boeing guys, yep they are all over this, about how to distribute the view from the interior without losing insulation. We, like all, are striving to condition and maintain the growth area in the most energy efficient manner, who better to chat to than the fine people that helped put people on the moon :slight_smile: Kind of fun really as we got to play on a little simulator that reproduces what needed to be done to bring Apollo 13 home buy reducing energy consumption in the capsule whilst maintaining the viable environment. I’m meeting up with the GE people soon to discuss their goals as regards their use of new materials in the whole heating cooling cycle and cost effectiveness. I’m hoping their research can go to arriving at cost effective heating and cooling system components that can end up on places like Amazon or Adafruit so they can be easily put together in the same way that many projects in the maker community are. I agree that mass production is the solution to aspects of production, I don’t see potato or corn in cities just yet :slight_smile: but I think there IS scope for us to address the container solution to populate unused space thus creating a nation of small shopkeepers ( just in time corner grocery) and a everyday learning experience, in apartments, for young and adults alike. That is the utility of the form factor in these rendering. I think we have to consider the behavior change caused by implementing such machines into a massive VOTING populace and what that would do to any green initiative. We are looking for jobs for kids now and this industry is one that is NEEDED to get moving quickly before things get really tricky. Idle hands and all that :slight_smile:


hey serein
nice but the metal worries me a smidge as does the glass front, hopefully GE’s work in newer materials and LG’s work in inexpensive cheap sheet screens will reduce the exposed surfaces and enable high levels of insulation whilst giving a view into the interior, which let’s face it, is most of the fun. We’re considering the utility of high resolution cameras for crop monitoring and live feed to augmented displays and web cams. So you can look into the container without exposing it needlessly to conditions that should have no effect on the grow area. Glass/plastic isn’t ideal as a thermal barrier. It seems that the biologists are happy bunnies when they can see the plants ( no s@#t sherlock) and that can be done across many wavelengths for pennies on the dollar. The sensor arrays are plummeting in price and will only get cheaper and more robust once the nano guys get their act together. Sadly a by product of responding to terrorist threats driving research, ah well war drives us forward I suppose ho hum.
thanks for the images they pretty much confirm that the fridge guys got it right, so this might be good to go in a vending machine situation in office blocks. Fresh produce on demand displacing junk food hmmm I wonder who’s looking at that as a business…


It’s called double and/or tipple pane glass. It has been used for decades in windows to help insulate homes. If you go to the grocery store and walk down the freezer isle you will see a great example of how well it works to insulate.

Again I read what you write and it just proves how little you know about actually growing anything hydroponically. I see people time and time again waste lots of time and money trying to solve problems that either don’t exist or are easily solved. They try and make things complicated, hard, and expensive because they just don’t know any better. I hate to see people waste all their time and energy like that. If they only built some hydroponic systems and actually spent some time growing some actual plants first, they would see how simple and easy it is to do successfully without wasting a fortune.

I say it again the “food Computer” idea will never be cost effective enough to be worth it to anyone who is interested in growing their plants to eat or sell. It’s nice to have a dream, but nobody cares about spending tons of money to grow very little food. That’s simply a show piece/novelty and waste of money.

Building an insulated box is cheap and easy to do, people do it all the time when they build their grow rooms. What isn’t always cheap is like I already outlined, heating and cooling them, as well as running artificial lighting. So it’s nice to hear at least you have some focus in that direction. However I don’t think you will ever be able to out compete the HVAC industry, as well as the appliance industry’s. Any new technology or ways to save energy costs will either be in those industries first first, or quickly incorporated into them ASAP.

The fact is most people who grow inside their homes/apartments don’t really need to worry about controlling the air and water temperatures much. Most plants grow very well at room temperatures (74-78 F) and even a little higher. If anything they usually just need to ventilate the room to get fresh air. But their are people who grow in basements, garages, and attics that don’t get HVAC air or just don’t want to heat/cool the entire room to grow a few plants. That’s when they build a insulated grow room and cool it with ventilation and/or a small window AC unit or swamp cooler. If they need to heat it they just use a small portable heater. The best way to heat and cool it all depends on their actual specific location (temps, humidity, etc. etc.)

Absolutely. I don’t know about recycling yards, I have never been to any looking around, though it sounds like a good idea. But I get some of the best items to make hydro systems out of the day before trash day that people are throwing out. I have even talked to the managers of restaurants and had them save me all their plastic 2-3-4-5 gallon buckets. You can build a hydroponic system out of just about anything as long as it’s not metal, though you can use metal as part of a support structure. Even wood can be water proofed to use in a hydroponic system. If you know what makes them work, what makes the six different types different, and just look around a bit you can build a hydroponic system practically for free.

The only items you really need to buy is the air and/or water pump, and vinyl or poly tubing. But those are all cheap and easy to find all over. Even the nutrients are cheap if you know where to look. Same with the growing media. Building hydroponic system is really easy and cheap to do. Even if you want to buy new parts to build the hydro system out of, it;s still quite cheap to do.

Hydroponic shops always try and get you to buy electronic pH and EC/TDS/PPM meters and make it sound like you will never be able to grow successfully without them. Not true, their simply not necessary in the slightest. You do need to check pH, but pH drops are under $10 and far better than the electronic meters. You don’t need the EC/TDS/PPM meters at all. I have been growing hydroponically since 2008 and have never even used one. Growing plants hydroponically and successfully doesn’t have to be expensive at all. If you know how hydroponic systems work and how to be cost effective, it’s down right cheap. It can even be cheaper than growing the plants in soil like it is for me.

I have known a lot of people that not only have grown more than they spent on their hydro systems, but also grow more than they can eat from them the first place and give it away. It’s a misconception that the only things you can grow hydroponically are pot and/or lettuce. I do like lettuce, but I have also hydroponically grown strawberries, tomatoes, tomitillos (Mexican green tomatoes), melons, snow peas, green beans, broccoli, peppers, chilies, radishes, green onions, and herbs (basil, sage, and mint). I grow everything cost effectively or I don’t grow it. I even have plans to grow corn and be able to harvest weekly. I also have plans to grow raspberries and blackberries. I even have designed a system to grow root crops like potato’s in a aeroponic system. That not only allows you to insulate the root system, but also provides easy and quick access to harvest the potatoes without disturbing the plant while it’s still growing.

Granted I grow everything outside in natural sunlight. I live in Arizona and we get tons of free sunlight. I also have a small house and don’t really have any room to grow inside. Even If I wanted to grow in the living room, nobody wants to look at the lights being on 18 hours a day. I can probably grow in the garage, but it gets hotter in there than outside most of the year (spring and summer months). My biggest problem is keeping the nutrient solution cool during the hot months, however I have worked out ways to do that cost effectively.

But even if I were to grow inside, I have figured out a way to use free sunlight to grow plants indoors as well using natural sunlight with solar tubes. Essentially it’s a skylight designed to collect sunlight and bring it to any room in the home through mirrored ducting. I could turn a walk in closet into a grow room using natural sunlight instead of artificial lighting. I could even build a insulated grow room outside or in the garage and use solar tubes to light it.

Growing plant and providing the right growing environment is simple and easy to do. Any child can do it.


Another one to grow funny tomatoes !



I was talking indoor, sorry… not everybody has space (I live in Hong Kong where 600sqf is a Big apartment).


Nice one :slight_smile: Loved the clip. Strangely you are in the part of the world which is being discussed as a test site. The idea is to consider all spaces as growth areas. The good people out of Singapore have some really interesting ideas when it comes to innovate use of adhoc materials. An example in Hong Kong might be the retasking of some of the parking spaces to growth areas. Remember the growth area would be conditioned space so you are not fighting the elements or pollution, if the growth space were climatically stabilized ( insulated) and the growth space optimized for the crop being grown then you are working only on that which you have to. So look forwards to container farms pretty soon in your neck of the woods, maybe even on the roof of your building.
In fact the good people from Singapore pointed this out to us might be of interest to you.


Rooftops: quite difficult. The few urban farms we have (less than 10) are using soil… a lot of rooftop are not accessible, starting with government ones. Same, you’ll see very few solar panels here.

Thanks for the conference. I learned about it last month…