Indoor Drip Irrigation for Vertical Farming
By Mimi Nguyen and Laiba Nadeem
Senior Category (Grades 11-12)
Innovation | Agriculture, Environment
Growing plants is a hobby for many people, however, the amount of space, time, and water needed for that activity can be costly. We wanted to build a system of farming that is not only easily accessible and practical but is also sustainable in conserving water, space, and time. The purpose of our science innovation project was to develop an efficient indoor system for vertical farming through the method of drip irrigation by reducing the amount of water used to maximize plant growth.
In order to start the experiment, we built the base structure out of wood and baking cooling trays and the drip irrigation system out of wood, tubes, twist ties, and drippers. We had seven pots of Dactylis Glomerata plant pots, setting 1 aside as our controlled and 6 for the experiment. Throughout the period of conducting the experiment, we plugged the water pump into an outlet, let it run for 30 mins each day since our tests showed that 30 mins will keep the soil moist which will maximize the plant’s growth, and measured the height of the plants.
After multiple tests with our control, we found that 90mL a day will help keep the soil moist and maximize the plant growth so everyday 90mL of water was sprayed into the controlled plant pots and we also recorded the plant’s height each day. After 8 days of conducting the experiment and recording data, we then averaged the plant’s height and found that the plants grew to be around the same height. We also calculated the amount of water used for the experimental and the controlled. The relationships between the plant’s height vs. day were graphed and the amount of water used for each pot was graphed, we then found the more efficient method of indoor farming.
In the end, the data and calculations state that indoor drip irrigation for vertical farming saved 850mL in total in the 8 days compared to the controlled spray method. It’s overall a more efficient, practical, and economical method for people wanting to garden in the comfort of their own homes.