January 20

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A Guide to Indoor Farming

By Beginning Farmers

January 20, 2021

As Featured In:


The pandemic has taught people a lot about themselves and the world itself, and it will have more lessons in the future. Something that’s been growing in popularity, likely not coincidentally, is indoor farming.

Since people have been stuck inside for months upon months, is it any real surprise they would try growing food inside? It can definitely feel a lot safer than going out to the grocery store or even stopping by a friend’s to pick up an egg.

But couldn’t people grow food in their backyard? Sure, if you just want to grow a few crops as a hobby, which many people do. If you actually want to start farming, you need one of these things: arable land or a sound indoor farming method.

Modern farming has taken much of the viable land and done very unfortunate things for it. On the one hand, it’s given us regular access to produce. On the other hand, it’s devastated the homes of different species, contributed to climate change, and hurt people who live around these areas. It’s the kind of damage that’s very hard to undo, if not outright impossible.

What are we supposed to do, though? After all, it’s not like there’s another way to farm that’s anywhere as efficient or which doesn’t cause drastic problems for the environment, right? We’re happy to say that’s not the case. There are multiple ways to farm indoors, and it doesn’t require many of the things used in traditional farming, like soil and sunlight.

Even further, you don’t need a lot of land; indoor farming is possible hundreds of miles away from anything ever resembling the standard farm. You’ll learn quickly that the word “standard” has no meaning in farming.

We’re not going to tell you to start an indoor farm right away. Before making any moves, you need to get the lowdown on indoor farming. If you want to create a vast operation, small scale business, or just set up a system for yourself and your family at home, then read this guide.

What are Indoor Farms?

Indoor farming has the same goal as outdoor farming. The only difference is that it’s indoors and has to adjust for that setting. It’s not a particular type of farming, either. For instance, some people use hydroponics for their indoor farms.

There are lots of plants you can grow inside. Typically, though, it’s edible things like produce, including herbs.

This is always called “indoor gardening,” and it doesn’t require any massive undertaking. There are indoor farming companies that rake in millions of dollars and ones that are just part-time.

It’s no shocker that many indoor farmers live in urban areas, given that farmland isn’t exactly right outside their window. If you’re growing plants in an indoor space, you’re an indoor farmer. Even if you just have a system at home for you and your family.

Typically, indoor farms use artificial lightning and hydroponics to give plants all the nutrition and sunlight they’d get outside. Those aren’t the only methods, however. There are also greenhouse techniques that use both human and nature-made things.

A big advantage for indoor farming is that you make the calls instead of hoping that the sun and the rest of the sky cooperate. This means you have to exert a lot of responsibility, as plants aren’t going to grow in a closet for no reason.

You may not be able to grow every plant under the artificial sun as an indoor farmer, but you can likely produce more than you think. A few of the hottest items are peppers, herbs, tomatoes, and lettuce.

Indoor Micro Farms

Indoor micro-farms are just smaller versions of indoor farms.

Compared to outdoor farming, the biggest plus of indoor farming systems is how the farmer can control outside forces. If temperatures are wavering or rain is in short supply, things aren’t nearly as drastic.

This isn’t something that just sprung up out of nowhere, either. Indoor farming methods have existed for millennia. However, the concept of farms that are entirely human-controlled is more new. These didn’t really start until the 1970s.

Lots of methods are used for utilizing indoor farming technology. Among these are aquaponics, hydroponics, as well as aeroponics. Next, we’re going to tell you about each of these.

Aquaponics involve fish helping plants grow. They naturally fertilize the water, which the plants take in. After this, the water is made pure, and the fish can repeat the cycle.

Hydroponics requires a particular non-soil solution for plants to grow out of. They’re better able to take in water nutrition this way.

Aeroponics is where plants are misted at their roots. This solution is full of nutrition to help them prosper.

While we understand the pros behind all of these farming systems, our favorite is hydroponics. We use shipping containers for our farms, and hydroponics have worked splendidly for us.

A lot of indoor farms originate in small areas. If you have a place to fit your crops that’s not too cramped for your liking, make it your indoor farm. If your operation is growing and you need more space, it’s no trouble to upgrade.

You could also decide a modest operation in your spare closet is enough for you. Indoor farming is a hobby for anyone who wants to grow something. If you go the route of a system that provides produce for just you and your family, consider a done for you option like Click to Grow.

The have pre-made, easy setup options that eliminate the hassle of learning DIY, trial and error, and the frustration that can come with it. Here are two of their most popular indoor farming at home systems.

  • Smart Garden 27

  • wall Farm

Click and Grow Smart Garden 27

Grow organic, fresh, and nutritious food 365 days of the year with this automatic smart garden. 

This system does everything for you by providing the optimal amount of lighting, nutrients, and water to your garden.

You can think of this system as like a Keurig cup machine for coffee.

Except this machine is for plants and provides "pods for plants" that have the nutrients and seeds already inside!

Benefits


Indoor micro-farming has become so popular thanks to the incredible solutions it provides. You want to eat more produce, but you don’t want to deal with the expense.

Just imagine being able to get a week’s worth of produce and then some for a fraction of the grocery store cost.

You could even launch a business. Local foods are a growing business in the United States.

Data and management firm Nielsen reported nearly half of consumers have a preference for local ingredients.

Indoor farms mean that someone in a condo across town could be growing the ingredients for your salad.

It’s a lot of trouble to buy land or massive building space for farmings, not to mention costly. Indoor micro-farming levels the playing field considerably, and it shows how many people can become farmers if they have the means to.

There’s no need to buy plots of land or high-tech equipment. A lot of indoor farming equipment is easy to install and holds up very well.

Not having to spend so much money can mean less stress. You’re not throwing your life savings into this new project. If it doesn’t work out perfectly for you, it’s not like it will be the end of you.

Farming requires patience and positivity. If something isn’t working for you, try something else and keep going. Multiple methods and crops can help you figure out the right direction for your indoor farm.

You can also attract loyal customers with your indoor micro-farm. It may work best if you choose to be a specialist with a certain kind of crop, instead of a jack-of-all-trades.

This can lead to you growing your customer base through positive word-of-mouth. In turn, you can introduce new plants and entice your shoppers further.

Maybe your job requires using produce, but the cost of buying it from other suppliers has become pretty unbearable? If you have a restaurant, you definitely need to think about starting an indoor-farm.

Not only will you be able to save money, but you’ll also prevent food from growing to waste. You’ll grow as much as you need instead of massive quantities that could go bad long before being used.

You’ll also have better-tasting food, even if you were already hitting home runs in that department.

If one type of indoor micro-farming doesn’t appeal to you, there are so many more to try out.

Small Scale Systems

The many kinds of indoor farming at home micro-systems are easy to set up, while some are even done for you like the Click to Grow Smart Garden right here.

We use shipping containers because we love the space and shape. The hydroponics system is because of the water conservation it provides.

Of course, we understand not having the funds to start in a shipping container. You can find hydroponic micro-farm equipment on the internet or at a local business.

A lot of new hydroponics users like the Kratky method. This is a straightforward design, which has no pumps or changes in the solution. The plants go inside a pot with netting. They’re also given something to help them grow, like clay balls. Then, they go into a reservoir with the solution and water.

A disadvantage of the Kratky method is that you can only use it for leafy greens. Still, it’s definitely an excellent place to start for inexperienced farmers.

You’ll need to keep the ph levels of your water in check with this method. This is never replaced nor altered when growing.

Aquaponics

You can build an aeroponics system yourself, but you might need to have more construction experience. An aeroponics-grown crop enjoys peak nutrition.

They’re not as popular as hydroponics systems, likely because you need to keep track of pH levels and nutrition ratios far more. This can be pretty difficult for a novice farmer.

These systems are ideal if you want to try fish farming. These watery creatures can be another business of yours.

However, you have to be willing to commit the necessary time and effort to your aquaponics system. It’s a more advanced process compared to aeroponics or hydroponics.

You need to satisfy the needs of both plants and fish. This means the water needs to be safe for both of them.

It’s tough to figure out which system to go for. Spend as much as you’re able to, and don’t try to make your farm do more than it’s capable of.

Costs

How much money you need to start and continue your indoor micro-farm depends on what kind of farm be.

To start, you’ll need the system and anything necessary for building it. This could be things like pipes and tubs.

Then, you’ll need things for light. Since plants perform photosynthesis, they’ll need to make due without the sun. This lets them make glucose from water and carbon dioxide.

Lots of lights are sold for farming purposes. You want to get ones that don’t waste energy so that they won’t be burning out prematurely.

You’ll need to keep track of how much energy you expend. The same goes for water. This is all part of your budget and the success of your farm. You can reduce your water consumption by implementing an aeroponics or hydroponics system.

If you have fish, monitor how much their supplies will cost, such as their food.

When you have your farm set up, buy things for planting. These are repeat purchases, so look for the best products at the best prices.

In the beginning, you may be thinking about how much everything costs and wondering what it’s all leading to. It could be leading towards a great, thriving business.

How To Make A Profit?

You need to put in the work to make money with an indoor micro-farm.

That doesn’t mean just planting. You need to know what sells and who wants it.

Talk to people around town and figure out what crops are in demand.

Don’t just stick with ordinary things like tomatoes. People don’t have any trouble finding those, and the price is negligible.

You could grow something that’s hard to find outside of certain times of the year or which have become hot in the food world.

Look for as many venues as possible to sell your goodies, such as farmers' markets.

Final Thoughts

Indoor farming might sound like a bit of an oxymoron, but it could be the future of farming. Already, people see its benefits and how easy it is. Will you be the next person to see the light and try it?

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