NFT Backyard Hydroponics Food Production
Here’s our first installment in what we hope with a little hard work will be a multi-part series that demonstrates how easy, affordable and fun it is to grow your own food crops at home with hydroponics-whether for your family or an entire community. We are using NFT backyard hydroponics food production methods manufactured and refined by AmHydro to help make this possible.
The NFT (Nutrient Flow / Film Technique) system and growing management methods for crops like lettuces or herbs is well proven-a lot of folks have had success, with up to 26 crop turn arounds per year!
The NFT hydroponics system we got on our budget was a great value. By supplying our own reservoir, pumps, tubing, fertilizers and making a support system out of some re-purposed lumber from another project we saved money on both materials and shipping. The troughs themselves are super durable-a 10 year warranty-and look like they would last a lifetime. There is something to be said for genius in simplicity: there are very few parts to lose, break or have go wrong like aeroponics.
[youtube width=”560″ height=”315″ video_id=”XKZ2-divhxM”]
Can’t see the video (above)? Click here: http://youtu.be/XKZ2-divhxM
The package arrived very tidy, and despite it’s long size was fairly light weight and easy to handle coming off the delivery truck.
As an indoor grower, we are used to taking weeks to get set-up, for example constructing ventilation systems, installing HID crop lighting and electrical ,etc.
Setting up in your backyard or greenhouse is a breeze and a real pleasure in comparison, we could get used to this! In hindsight, we should have started our seeds when we confirmed the system was getting shipped out from AmHydro HQ in Arcata, California.
Our first crop is going to be purely experimental to see what varieties grow best this time of year in the system. Also, since we want to start to develop a market to sell produce-and expand our backyard hydroponics food production capabilities and profit potential-it’s nice to have a few varieties to show around and to give away. It always pays to do some market research before spending too much in the way of time or money on any business venture.
NFT System Basics:
- A small depth of solution flows continuous as an oxygen rich nutrient film across bare rooted hydroponic transplants-plants grow fast like this
- Only a very small amount of power is required in most situations-just a small water pump to keep the solution moving and flowing-Solar IS an option here:)
- If warmer conditions are common, an efficient reservoir chiller can help keep the system solution temperature 72 deg F or below for best growth and optimal crop potential.
- Up to 26 crops of lettuce or herbs can be harvested per year: new plants are started every two weeks, and mature plants are harvested at the same rate for perpetual harvesting
- The solution should flow quickly: a 7 to 9 inch drop over the length of the 12 foot long standard trough runs is recommended
- The reservoir re-circulates the nutrient solution and is managed and monitored for EC/PPM and pH. NFT hydroponics uses less water than conventional agriculture to produce a higher rate of growth.
Here is a basic photo account of how easy and straightforward the NFT backyard hydroponics food production system was to set-up. You can click on the photos to enlarge.
With a little luck in our recent seeding to produce healthy hydroponics transplants, we should be bringing you regular updates starting in a week or two. Stay tuned, stay green:)
Editor’s UPDATE: June 6th, 2015: Looking back and through our current projects to the original publish date of this online article (June 30th, 2014, almost one year) it’s quite clear how much use by way of crop harvesting and learning we’ve had out of this NFT system–the one residing in our since constructed back yard year-round food production greenhouse.