Sunday, March 1, 2015

Introduction to Rooftop Hydroponics

Welcome to our blog on rooftop hydroponics!  Monica and I (akash) are based in Auroville, South India and have been playing around with various types of rooftop gardening systems over the last few years. In 2012 we built an aquaponic setup together with a friend, and spent a year gathering data and fixing problems.  Our experiments ended with a massive cyclone that destroyed the greenhouse.

My experience with aquaponics

Aquaponics is a great system when it works right.  Our initial prototypes worked pretty well but when we moved to a larger system, with 6000l of water and about 10000 liters of gravel media, things became difficult to maintain.  You can see some pictures of the setup on our blog,
After the system was destroyed we lost all interest in farming for a while, since the results were not what we expected and the work was much more than anticipated.  Again, I would not wish this to influence anyone’s enthusiasm and I have been following Murray Hallam and his adventures and successes – it just did not work well for me.

Rekindled interest

In late 2014 I started researching hydroponics and came across b.a kratky and his experiments.  For those of you who are not familiar with him, he is a professor at the university of Hawaii and he came up with a non-circulating system with suspended net pots that make it very easy to grow greens such as lettuce.  He is not the first to have done this, in fact a team in Taiwan had been testing this already, but somehow he is the one that popularised it and hence it is now known as the Kratky method.

The kratky method

The great thing about this type of setup is that it is literally zero maintenance.  We have spent the last two months experimenting and perfecting a way to minimise the amount of effort required for each step of the process from seed germination to transplanting.  In the following posts I will focus on each of these and how we do it.

1 comment:

  1. we like to see you on your roof. what day and time is convenient for you.