Hydroponics farming in your own yard

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By Alexander Villafania

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA – Prices of food has been steadily increasing compounded by natural calamities such as drought and floods that have dire effects on the country’s agricultural industries.
In fact, agricultural losses in the Philippines due to the El Niño phenomenon is estimated to reach P8 billion this year. It could reach P20 billion if there is a severe dry spell.

With this major concern, people are advised to be more proactive in helping alleviate environmental problems and join in ensuring food security. One way people can do is to have their own mini-farming projects. The major drawback to this is lack of space. In places with very little space and soil, this can be problematic.

But what if there is no need for soil? Common sense dictates that plants require food, water and soil. One solution is hydroponics, a unique agricultural technique that only requires mineral-enriched water and sun to grow plants.

Hydroponic farming has many advantages, apart from the need for only a small space for plants to grow.

In many cases, plants grown from hydroponics can be harvested sooner, are more resistant to diseases, and produce more in shorter periods. In hydroponics, plants directly get their nutrients from the water. Soil is basically a medium where minerals are stored and drained through the roots of plants.

Few would believe that hydroponics can be done in small places, especially as hydroponics is thought to be a space-age technique that only applies to large-scale farming. In reality, many homeowners have tried and succeeded in implementing hydroponics. Some projects, such as the one done in Payatas, Quezon City, have also proven that a simplified hydroponics project can provide jobs for the poor.

Filipino hydroponics expert Eladio Guevarra wrote in OFW-Connect that home-based hydroponics can be done even with the simplest of equipment and a green thumb. Most, if not all equipment, can be bought from hardware stores.

Simple equipment for a basic hydroponic farm include PVC pipies, styrofoam boxes to contain the mineral-enriched water solution, houses for water supply, and plastic cups where the plants will be placed. Plant seeds can also be bought from hardware shops but some specialized seeds, specifically for hydroponic farming, are available in farming shops found in malls.

For those who have even smaller places, especially condominum or apartment dwellers, a newly developed technique allows them to start a hydroponics farm literally from out of the box. The Simple Nutrient Addition Program (SNAP) kit is composed of a liquid solution mix that has been enriched with nutrients essential to the growth of plants. It also comes with a styrofoam box with holes on the top cover, big enough to hold styrofoam cups, where the plants are placed. Meanwhile, the holes underneath the cups allow the roots to reach the nutrients in the water.

SNAP was developed by the University of the Philippines Los Baños agricultural researchers, Primitivo Jose Santos and Eureka Teresa Ocampo. It has already been implemented in several areas in Metro Manila which are primarily community-based farming projects.

The SNAP kit is also cheap; a complete set (excluding the seeds) costs around P300. The SNAP mixture, which is around 500 ml, is mixed in about 10 liters of water and can stay for two weeks or so. The SNAP box can hold up to six plants. Remember, however, that the plants have to be grown in a seeding box (a few styrofoam cups would do) before being transferred to the SNAP box. There is no need for soil in the seeding box as only cocopeat, sold in hardware shops, is required.

SNAP is not sold in markets or malls. It is currently available only at the Bureau of Agriculture Research of the Department of Agriculture, Visayas Avenue, Diliman Quezon City. They can be contacted at telephone numbers (63-2) 928-8505 loc. 3026-3027, (63-2) 927-5691 or 927-0227.


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Exodus says:

@Samuel

Yeah, i went to a garden in Talisay city, Cebu. It’s not too big, but it shows you a really simple set up. There’s a girl managing it and she grows lettuce, herbs and other salad greens. You can contact her 09393257253 or visit her sites:

The link to the site: http://www.facebook.com/The.Hydro.Garden
http://thehydrogarden-cebu.blogspot.com/

samuel says:

Is there Hydroponic Garden in Cebu City ? Address and telephone # Please

samuel says:

Is there any Hydroponic garden in Cebu city?

Exodus says:

You can see this hydroponics backyard system in cebu. This girl manages it for her school thesis and it has become her little business as well. You can outsource materials from her if you’re in Cebu. I think she ships items nation wide too. I’m not too sure though.

The link to the site: http://www.facebook.com/The.Hydro.Garden
http://thehydrogarden-cebu.blogspot.com/

arjay says:

where can i get materials here in bicol??tnx 4 any suggestions and answer

Gerry Antonio says:

I’ve seen this in Agrilink and its a very promising business venture for urban farming. Your biggest cost will be in labor and styropors. Good thing styropors are non-biodegradable. Can be used for a lifetime.

I’m doing applied backyard research in a related system called aquaponics. This is a closed loop system that produces freshwater fish and vegetables at the same time. Email if interested to visit my system.

Ruf Deguzman says:

I am concern on the cost of production specially the nutrient mixture which need to be bought from suppliers. It is really cheaper to grow vegetables using hydrophonic? Appreciate if anybody can show me some realistic number or study regarding this. thank you and more power!

rYAN says:

Sir do we have any video on how to use/perform the SNAP?

Greetings and Good morning… @ maria corazon venus if you have time you can visit Benguet State University they have hydroponics systems demo farm at balili experimental station. They have one simple hydroponics systems and complicated one. You can also visit the local farmer namely francis cheng and Calawa santos and danilo santos both those farmers have half hectare of bell pepper hydroponics located at sablan and sito cada, Abatan benguet. Or visit Anie harold of longlong…

maria corazon venus says:

like to visit a hydroponic farm… would u provide me any info where i can visit a hydroponic farm in luzon?