Did you know 40% of consumers no longer crave their favorite products due to safety concerns?
There’s been a massive shift in food preferences during the last decade. In fact, from 2007 to 2013, the percentage of people who seek out locally grown products nearly doubled.
Clearly, many consumers now desire local food that lacks pesticides and preservatives. But many of them won’t find what they’re looking for at the typical grocery store.
However, an indoor farm produces fresh, local fruits and veggies without harmful chemicals. As a result, some people are turning their urban farms into thriving businesses.
Here’s a look at 5 effective tips for starting your own indoor farm!
1. Choose the Right Plants
Lettuce and kale are common plants for beginners. However, they’re also in high demand. You can eventually wholesale to retailers.
For the herb market, consider growing basil. Though it sells at a much lower volume compared to lettuce, it offers excellent margins.
In the beginning, aim for crop diversification. Once you get an idea of which plants are more profitable, shift your focus toward those.
2. Be Careful With Indoor Farm Lighting
When running an indoor farm, avoid buying incandescent lights. Though they’re cheap, they’re not suited for urban farming.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive option, consider fluorescent lights. These work well to grow herbs.
Your best options are compact fluorescent lights and high-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs.
Overall, HID bulbs are the strongest and most efficient lights. However, compact fluorescent lights are strong enough for any plant, and won’t cost you as much.
3. Consider Temperature and Humidity
The vast majority of plants grow well at temperatures around 70-75°F, give or take. Therefore, you won’t have to drift too far away from a comfortable room temperature.
You also want to watch out for humidity during the winter, when it’s drier than usual. Keep in mind that using a heater at this time will make the issue worse.
Pay close attention to the colors of your leaves. Yellow leaves suggest temperatures that are too cold, and brown leaves indicate low-humidity.
4. Take Advantage of Hydroponics
Some indoor growers may opt for organic soil mixtures. However, hydroponics provide many benefits as well.
For starters, hydroponics gives roots direct access to water. This can help plants grow much faster.
That said, this only applies if your plants get proper nutrition. Therefore, read the directions for hydroponics nutrients carefully.
Also, if you opt for hydroponics, try to keep your humidity at around 50%. Otherwise, you might encounter a mold issue.
5. Use a Proper Ventilation System
Plants need carbon dioxide to grow optimally. To improve the flow of carbon dioxide, you need to improve your ventilation system.
Proper ventilation also helps prevent mold and dust build up. Plus, it mitigates odor and controls heat.
Keep in mind that smaller rooms get hot faster. Therefore, invest in any necessary fans, blowers, and ducts. You can also buy air filters to further reduce your chances of mold growth.
As with most business ventures, you can expect high start-up costs. So go in with realistic expectations.
Make sure to grow several types of plants. Trying different options at first helps gauge profitability.
Also, remember to choose between HID bulbs and compact fluorescent lights when looking for a primary light source. If you opt for HID bulbs, purchase either high-pressure sodium or metal halide lights. Plus, keep them further away from your plants to avoid burning.
Do you have any experience with urban agriculture? If so, feel free to leave some of your own farming tips below!