5.1 Summary of findings
Using a very small space of land, we were able to create a unique garden design which can be used to collect a large number of harvest with little resources wasted.
Unlike other normal gardens, we created a self-standing vertical garden perpendicular to the ground. We too, managed to build an automated self-watering system that recycles any unused water. Also, our design was made in a way that it is compatible for indoor use too.
Based on various tests that we have set-up to compare our vertical garden design against other gardening designs, we can can conclude that our design is more efficient in terms of the materials used and the harvest collected.
Our design is made such that the plants are planted in sponges instead of the regular soil medium. These sponges ensure a slower rate of evaporation than soil, saving more water. Since the water is infused with nutrients, all plants will receive an even amount of nutrients as the plants absorb the same water.
5.2 Practical Application
This method of farming is especially efficient for large scale production in a small piece of land because it takes up little space. It is also suitable for indoor use, because it is able to be made in a small scale to fit a room, and can be placed along a wall easily, as such not interfering much with the purpose of the room. It is also independently functional, excluding occasional monitoring and replenishment of nutrients. This means that it is not labour intensive and all age groups are able to use this garden with ease.
Indoor usage can mean utilisation of abandoned buildings. It is estimated that there are at least 70,000 abandoned buildings in urban decaying Detroit, United States (Binelli, 2012). Abandoned dwellings are wasted resources not only in terms of tax but more importantly space. This will also give rise to further abandonment, a snowball effect (Setterfield, 1997). Some of these spaces can be renovated to be used as community farms, where vertical gardens can be used in large numbers due to advantages such as being indoors, soilless and protection from the elements. Furthermore, there will be buildings of multiple storeys, hence utilising them would mean maximising land plot ratio. This will allow easy distribution of crops to residents, reducing fuel and transportation costs.
It can also be used in large scale farming activities. An example of vertical farming would be Skygreens Singapore, where vegetables are placed on a belt rotating like a ferris wheel (Kaushik, 2013). As mentioned before, land in Singapore is a treasure that has to be properly utilised to feed our growing needs, With vertical gardens, one can expect huge towers of stacked trays, similar to multi-storey housing. Combined with latest technologies and breakthroughs like genetically modified food, farming of vegetables is more efficient and the produce is healthier and fresher.
5.3 Areas for further study
It has been shown that light affects the growth in plants, both in duration and colour (University of Arizona, 2013). With our current setup, we are able to test out these variables. The findings would then allow us to deduce one of the more efficient methods of crop cultivation using our system. We can also produce a larger setup of our design, to prove that it works in any size and in large scale production. If the answer is yes, this may pave way for more efficient and cost-effective farming in the future.
We can research whether the cleanliness of the water matters. It has been shown that plants are vulnerable to fluoride within tap water (Freedrinkingwater.com, 2006). This falls under the category of water quality testing. By knowing the elements and products within the water, we would be able to see the best option for watering our plants. The water quality can then be monitored and manipulated for our needs.
Finally, we are at liberty to test out the different types of plants this system can cultivate. This will enable us to know what are its weaknesses in terms of crop cultivation and hence be able to pinpoint markets more suitable for such production. It also gives people more assurance and guarantee, knowing that a certain species of vegetable can be grown in such conditions. This study helps both in large scale farming and leisurely home-grown plants.