Hydroponic Farming

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a method of farming which does not use soil, unlike traditional agriculture. Instead it uses mineral nutrient rich water, in which the roots of the plants sit. The plants themselves sit in a medium such as rock or clay. Hydroponics eliminates some of the barriers which limit plant growth, making the method more efficient.

Advantages of Hydroponics

  • Saves up to 90% of the water used in traditional agriculture

  • Easier to test and adjust Ph and nutrient levels

  • Less extensive root structures

  • Up to a 30% increase in fruit production

  • Plants mature up to 25% faster

  • Saves land space

  • Does not require arable land

How Does Hydroponics Work?

Plants in soil have to to expend a lot of their resources and energy on an extensive root systems to try and encounter the nutrients and water they need. Hydroponics on the other hand, provides the nutrients in ideal quantity for growth and water directly to the roots. With a less extensive root system needed, the plants can devote more energy to producing fruit, leading to higher production. It saves water because it is a closed system, unlike traditional agriculture. A closed system means the only water loss comes from the plants themselves.

What Type of Hydroponics does Levo Use?

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Levo is currently developing two different types of hydroponic systems.

Nutrient Film Technique

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) is the main type of hydroponics Levo works with. It circulates the water from the reservoir through a cascading system of pipes, providing oxygen rich water to the plants. Levo’s NFT, our Babylon systems, is built from locally obtained pvc and steel. These compact systems are capable of growing a large variety of crops with the correct level of training. Each Babylon system holds 16 plants, maximizing production per square foot far beyond what is possible with traditional farming methods. The increased production and reduced water creates a versatile solution, which will allow the Babylon system to have an impact on a global scale.  

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Non-circulating Systems

The Non-circulating System (NC) remove most of the complexity of hydroponic farming. Levo is developing solutions using non-circulating hydroponics, particularly for urban settings. NC involves simply placing a plant’s roots in a reservoir that a plant needs in its entire growth cycle. This system removes the need to circulate the water and traps the oxygen inside the reservoir.


Data Sources

Resh, Howard M, Hydroponic Food Production: A Definitive Guidebook of Soilless Food-growing Methods : For the Professional and Commercial Grower and the Advanced Home Hydroponics Gardener. Mahwah, N.J.: Newconcept Press, 2004

Jensen, M. H. (1997). Hydroponics, HortScience HortSci, 32(6), 1018-1021. https://journals.ashs.org/view/journals/hortsci/32/6/article-p1018.xml. Retrieved Apr 2, 2019