There’s an ongoing trend right now to grow food at home. A lot of people has put in a lot of effort experimenting and documenting their ideas and setup for urban or apartment farming. I too have been looking at it for quite a while. I experimented a few methods in the past. I had the classic setup of soil based planting. I tried container gardening with wicking and stuff.
I had little success because of a huge limitation – Insufficient sunlight. For a while, I stopped all the growing because the results were not encouraging.
So lately, I started looking again for solutions, which is actually quite straightforward. I need artificial lights. These lights used to cost a lot and they are usually metal halide lamps which are not energy efficient. Now we have LED lights and the cost is very much lower. And so there we go, I ordered my grow lights from China.
Next is the method. I decided to go for hydroponics this time round, or more specifically, the Kratky method. This method is extremely low tech and low maintenance. The typical hydroponics setup involves pumps, PH monitoring etc. As an engineering person this makes a lot of sense. However, when I looked at the success cases of the Kratky method on YouTube, I decide to experiment with this low tech, low cost and low maintenance hydroponics method.
And this is my experimental setup. The hydroponics box is from China as well. It’s only about SGD $9 including shipping.
I got my seeds from NTUC this time round to start something cheap and simple.
The seeds were started in a disposable containers that I recycled. It took only 1 day for roots to appear and tiny leaves showing up on Day 2. This is how it looks like on Day 5. 1 did not make it out of the 9.
On Day 6, when my lights arrived, I moved everything into the hydroponics box. In the water mixture, I have the usual A+B solution for hydroponics.
The plants will get some direct sunlight in the morning for about 3 hours, which is insufficient for plant growth. This is where the light comes in. I will have the lights on with a timer for 8 hours before the morning sun. The rest of the day, it’s just ambient light.
This is the setup for now. Let’s see how the plants fare. If this goes well, I will buy more of those boxes and start a mini farm at home. :)
I will be updating this regularly if time permits, and I will be sharing more of my thoughts on the various methods and my research from the internet. Stay tuned!