What type of nutrient solution do you use? Is it organic?
Two very important questions when it comes to growing in hydroponics or aeroponics-a form a hydroponics used in the Eden Grow Tower (see this article to learn more). These may seem like simple questions to answer, but in fact, can be quite complicated. There are multiple different nutrient solutions on the market for hydroponics. Some are organic and some are organic in nature; however not OMRI Certified. Some are so organic that they simply do not work in our system. What works for our system, may not work for another and vice versa. Let’s take a deeper look into aeroponic nutrient solutions and what we are currently using.
Our standard at Eden is to be as organic as possible, meaning no chemicals or synthetics, growing plants as close to the way we believe God intended. This is not always an easy thing when combining an ancient tradition with modern technology. You may ask, well then, why aren’t you advocating just growing in the ground? We would absolutely love it if everyone could have their own gardens, and we certainly do very much advocate this. However, our mission statement is to provide sustainable food and energy to local communities around the world. This cannot be achieved solely by traditional farming methods. More and more people are living in cities and simply do not have the land or the time for traditional farming methods. The Eden Grow Tower uses indoor farming with aeroponics to help provide food sustainability for people all over the planet…and maybe one day, off it. We want everyone to be able to grow their own food!
With that being said, the nutrient solution we are currently using is not certified organic…yet. With aeroponics the nutrient solution must pass through a fine mist emitter to deliver the precise amount of water and nutrients to the roots. This means there cannot be any particles in the nutrient solution larger than 50 microns (about the size of a human hair), eliminating the use of most compost teas or other solutions/suspensions…unless very filtered. “Solution” means everything is fully dissolved. A “suspension” has particles that are not fully dissolved, and these are what can clog nozzles.
The other issue with organic solutions, such as compost tea, is having the right amount of essential macro and micro-nutrients and having balanced pH. It’s much more challenging to dial in the right amount of nutrients for the plants with organic solutions. Which brings us to what we are currently using, and what is well known in the hydroponics community…mineral-based nutrient solutions. Even though the product we are currently using is not labeled as “organic”, there is nothing synthetic about this. The ingredients include mined minerals from rocks, extracted via acids, such as citric acid. There is also the simple fact that truly organic solutions don’t exactly provide the most home-friendly aroma.
Dr. Gary Stutte, former NASA scientist (read all about our partnering with him here and the press release here) has recently come on board to the Eden team as our Director of Plant Research. We could not be more thankful and blessed to have him. Dr. Stutte has approved our current nutrient solution and is currently working with us on finding a certified organic option.
Although mineral based solutions contain all the nutrients the plants need for our aeroponic system, and have been thriving, we are continuing to seek the latest research, monitor consumer demand, and study the amazing way plants grow in nature.
We realize in order to get there, we need to find the most organic microbiome-rich nutrient solution possible, given the restrictions. There are also other ways of adding these amazing beneficial organisms, including directly spraying the plants themselves (see this post for info. on this).
With so many variables to consider, our current nutrient solution has been our best option, and the closest to “organic”, we have found thus far to contain the right amounts of each nutrient, that is pH stable and provides fantastic results. We are excited to continue our experiments and further our research in this area, alongside Dr. Stutte. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any additional knowledge or expertise in this area. Providing sustainable food is so much more than just growing plants to us, it’s about growing to obtain maximum nutrients, with absolutely no harmful ingredients, for the optimal health of you and your family.
For more information on The Eden Grow Tower and Aeroponics head over here.