Important parameters to consider while setting up a Commercial hydroponic system.
In our journey so far, we are meeting a lot of new hydroponics enthusiasts – individuals who are all out excited with Hydroponic and the commercial opportunity and avenues it opens. Its seems apt to share a few considerations while venturing into Commercial Hydroponics.
Fresh and healthy food is always welcomed, and hydroponic is one such technique to grow fresh veggies as well as other crops. People are fascinated by this new and trending technique of growing plants. They perceive this to be an easy way to make money – less labour, less time and (through the use a of poly house) more independent of season and climate.
But here is a caution: Only Reading books/blogs and watching videos, without ever trying hydroponics at home (or in a controlled environment), might not be sufficient to ensure a commercially viable solution.
So here are some considerations while setting up a hydroponic farm commercially
- Do it yourself before going commercial / do not rely completely on others.
It is essential to know the basics yourself before outsourcing a project of higher scale and impact. Basics once understood and registered, you would be better equipped to grasp the variances that would come along while setting up of a commercial hydroponic set up.
Fundamentals you should be hands-on with:
- What is hydroponics and how is it done?
- What nutrients does the plant need to grow?
- What are the environmental factors that control the growth and yields?
More commonly, people ask consultants to set up a farm for them without knowing anything about the day to day working and this could prove to be a bane. The consultants will set-up the farm and guide you and support you through your journey but YOU have to take care of your farm.
You need to do your research and study. But you need to experience it first hand as well.
You don’t need to know everything in-depth – just experiencing the concepts first hand is of great value and help!
Go ahead, get your hands dirty and gain a hands-on!
2. Socialize with the community!
You are not alone! There are many who are on this journey with you! Connect with your peers – understand their biggest grievances – learn their combat strategies. If possible visit other Hydroponic commercial set-ups.
This helps you be prepared for possibilities of failure. And combat the same accordingly.
And as you grow in your experience remember to support others. Remember we all grow together or nobody grows.
3. What should be grown
Okay! So now you’ve tried this at home a couple of times! You’ve visited a few commercial set-ups! You’ve you’re your research – you’ve got the hands-on experience and confidence!
The next thing which one should decide is what to grow! Proper selection will ensure adequate yield.
People want fresh and healthy food at any cost. The crop must be chosen based on:
- Climate of the place where the farm is located.
- Plants which have short crop cycle and grow easily.
- Consumer need and demand – Do a market research if required.
- Single high consumption crop (works better in smaller set-ups) vs multi-crop (larger set-ups)This need not be restricted to food items or consumables alone. There are so many other avenues that can be explored for commercial set up!
4. Do a Cost-benefit analysis:
The next step before setting up a hydroponic unit one should do the cost-benefit analysis for your project. It is wise to be well versed and aware of the range of expenses that will take place while setting it up and for its maintenance, once it is set up.
In an ideal condition, it would benefit to set-up the farm near an already available marketplace where you can sell your produce at a satisfactory rate.
While selling the produce one should choose a pricing strategy based on the value of the product. Your pricing should match the quality of the product so that you can manage to get a margin profit and as well as customer’s satisfaction.
5. Structure of your set-up and its durability:
It is vital to understand that there are many factors that are intrinsic to each locale. It is essential to studying the local conditions before setting up the polyhouse structure. Blind copying may not work.
Polyhouses are made to maintain climatic factors like temperature, humidity as well as protect crop from harsh wind, rain etc. Polyhouse also helps in reducing insects and pest that affect the yield.
At the time of set-up, it would be beneficial to consider the following:
- The area should be well drained. Waterlogging can harm the plants especially in areas of heavy rainfall and flood.
- The polyhouse should be far from industrial units so that the plants do not get polluted.
- The design, dimensions, and orientation of the polyhouse should be thought through.
- Material used in making a polyhouse must be of good quality to withstand the effects of changing environment.
- Inner structure is also important – proper watering system, the spacing in the house.
6. Manpower training
Although hydroponics is not a labour-intensive system, it is still needed to keep checks on the crop growth. Providing adequate nutritional requirements on time, pruning and harvesting require manpower. Adequate training of the manpower on hydroponic techniques is crucial.
Do get started!
And enjoy the experience!
Sometimes you choose your profession. Sometimes God chooses your profession for you. For me it was the latter – The quest to find purpose and expression came in the form of my work. A connection with soil, water, growth and life.
As a kid, I would secretly wish that grown-up life was just like my childhood – running around luscious green fields, feeding the farm cows, chasing and being chased by hens, goats, cousins, the wind in my hair, the rain on my face, the smell of the earth after a rain, and the sound of non-stop laughter.
It was a sad day, when I realised that my wish was just that – a wish! Its been a personal mission for me to recreate the magic of my childhood in any way possible and contribute to clean air, smiling faces, nourishing food, happier homes all with a sense of awe and gratitude. Thus I found my way to CityGreens – here I help people sow, plant, nurture, care and harvest plants. Through plants a better home and life.
When I was not running around and playing with my cousins and farm animals I also managed to do my B.Tech and MBA.