- Vertical gardens have been around for a long time; they’re not a new idea. (0:29)
- The advent of hydroponics aided in the elimination of the media problem in vertical farming. (1:29)
- The decision to use media-based hydroponics came from the need to support the plant roots. (4:45)
- Designing a tower fit for commercial growing included the development and use of a lightweight, high surface area fiber media. (6:48)
Vertical growing has been around for a long time, from terracing to the hanging gardens of Babylon, to natural plants growth in cracks and crevices of cliffs. There’s nothing new or novel about this idea.
However, growing vertically in a column or container is very difficult because the medium is heavy and compacts near the bottom. This is the problem with media-based vertical techniques. Because of this, most vertical techniques were aeroponic; the roots dangle down inside the containers, and water is misted down through the roots. It took a while for this to develop, but it stuck. In the last twenty years or so, a lot of vertical aeroponic designs have come to market, from stacked pot design to aeroponic towers.
These products are functional, but they’re nothing new; they just use old techniques, stacked up. It doesn’t take into account the factors that change when you stack things.
I thought that it required a new thought process about the needs of vertical growing. I needed to think about the factors that change.
- We needed a technique that allowed us to move the towers around (something to hold the roots in place, i.e. media, and it needed to be lightweight)
- We needed an aggregate media to give the benefits of aeroponics with all the best parts of a media technique
- That media needed to facilitate healthy microbial communities, so it needed good biological surface area. To do this, we used a fiber. (This also accomplished our goal of making it lightweight!)
This is how the Matrix Media was developed. On a commercial scale, it has proved to be an excellent way to grow. A huge part of this is that the technique is driven by accessible information.