Definition Of Terms: Vertical Growing Systems

Or Vertical Hydroponics

Verticle growing in hoop house
Verticle growing in hoop house

A  High Density Vertical Growing System –

Vertical Hydroponics can bring unique production capacities for increased food production. One such example relates to a high density vertical growing system designed for non-traditional production locations. The system enables plants to grow in significantly smaller spaces and in varying ground covers from concrete to parking lots. The production potential can reach 1500 to 2000 pounds of strawberries per season to 1500 to 2000 heads of lettuce per month.


A vertical system can be constructed in various sizes from 4 stacks equating to 80 plants or upwards to a design for thousands of plants. The common reference is that in one acre this system supports plants that would traditionally require 8 acres of farm land. The options are endless from a small scale farm operation to research to commercial production or backyard gardening without soil. The vegetables or flowers are grown in a coconut potting medium with the primary purpose of holding moisture and maintaining the root base. The plants use a hydroponic system enabling nutrient application to the plants. Any vegetables can be grown with the exception of root crops.

Installed injectors allow for automatic watering by accessing barrels of a water and nutrient mixture. Rows can be upwards of 75 feet long to utilize the pressure compensated emitters. A typical commercial operation includes 96 towers of 5 pots high with 12 towers per row equating to approximately 29 feet by 48 feet ground cover and 2100 plants. The layout can be expanded or modified to fit the space allotted.

Upon completion of the construction elements, weekly monitoring of the water and nutrient supply is required. Minimal weeding is necessary. The bulk of the labor involves the harvesting of the produce upon maturity.

The vertical system is constructed outside and therefore susceptible to natural elements and standard growing seasons. However, it can be constructed within a greenhouse or hoop house structure to extend the season. An additional element to this unit involves the inclusion of an ozone generator. Occasionally a water source may not be appropriate for plant growth due to sulfur or similar elements. An ozone generator will eliminate the undesirable conditions and produce a clean water stream ensuring plant growth.

The high density vertical system can be a cost effective alternative for food products.

The above example is just one of many such systems we hope to introduce them one by one on this site.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

August 25, 2009 at 05:08 PM

Now that is an Idea, I can put a huge garden on my roof with this system. In the city we don’t have a lot of ground space but on the roof of an apartment house, why not. Kinda hard to get my car up there to park it. This is so cool. What will folks think of next?

August 27, 2009 at 11:08 AM

It sounds like a great idea… one question though: is the styrofoam used to make the growing chambers environmentally safe? In the end, won’t that be thrown away (eventually) and cause more harm to the environment? Wouldn’t soil growing technically be a more natural way of growing plants and vegetables?

August 27, 2009 at 05:08 PM
– In reply to: Nature.Wonder

Good questions. This particular type of Styrofoam does not emit toxins. If it is used right it should last for many years. The Styrofoam could be broken down and used in a paper create mixture and made into bricks or stepping stones. I will soon write and article on paper create.

May 04, 2012 at 06:05 AM

I like 2B!’s idea. Adding a garden roof with this vertical system is space saving. I’d love to see more articles about it.

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