The world is currently facing a pressing problem: food insecurity. This means that there are not enough resources to provide everyone with the food they need, and as a result, people are going hungry.
But there is hope. We can solve this problem by growing our own food. That’s right – you don’t have to be a farmer to grow your own food. You can do it in your backyard, on your balcony, or even in your kitchen.
All you need is some basic knowledge and the desire to make a change. Here are seven farming methods to try:
1. Vertical Farming
In vertical farming systems, crops are grown in multiple levels on vertically installed racks inside a controlled environment such as a greenhouse or warehouse with artificial lighting. This method maximizes space and can be effective in cities where space is limited.
Vertical farming also reduces transportation costs as crops are grown closer to consumers. Crops can receive their required nutrients from a hydroponic system or fertilized water.
Further, vertical farming can be more sustainable than traditional farming due to lower water usage, less resource depletion, and urban farms are also capable of recycling their own graywater. Many vertical farms are able to produce food year-round with systems that adjust to climate changes.
2. Container Gardening
In container gardening, instead of growing plants in the ground, they are placed in pots or other containers. Container gardening can be done indoors on patios, balconies, rooftops, and even indoors if the right conditions are provided for the plants to grow successfully. Container gardens allow those with little space to have a garden as well as those who want easy access to their crops.
One of the main advantages of container gardening is the ability to grow plants year-round. In areas where temperatures drop during certain seasons, crops that would otherwise not survive do so inside a greenhouse or under film stretched over the containers.
This allows gardeners to have fresh vegetables and fruit even during colder months. With good planning, almost any crop can be grown in a container garden.
3. Permaculture Gardening
In permaculture gardening, the gardener takes a different approach to food production by using methods such as planting perennials instead of annuals and growing several crops together, so they can benefit from one another.
Permaculture gardening is suitable for small spaces especially if high yields are desired. It also reduces water consumption compared to traditional agriculture practices since it does not require excessive irrigation after planting.
Some common features of a permaculture garden include soil building through cover cropping, composting, mulching and crop rotation; maximizing useful connections between organisms; and conserving energy by designing simple, self-maintaining systems.
This method of farming is done without soil, and instead, plants are grown in an inert growing medium regularly flushed with water or another solution that provides nutrients for the plant’s growth. The roots are exposed to the air so they can maximize gas exchange, which also makes this type of gardening useful in areas where the soil has poor quality due to pollution.
Hydroponic planting requires constant monitoring as it needs adjustments based on lighting, temperature, and humidity conditions. It also requires a source of carbon dioxide since there is less mass transferring from root zone to atmosphere compared with conventional soil-based systems. Even then, hydroponic plants do not have access to all required nutrients unless all elements are supplied artificially.
In this method, plants are grown in a nutrient solution while aquatic animals such as tilapia or catfish are present nearby. The fish waste fertilizes the plants, and their bodies absorb nutrients from the plant’s root system floating in the water.
The advantage of this type of farming is that it uses only about 10 percent of the water typically needed for traditional farming methods because recirculating pumps can be used to recycle most of the water.
This method also reduces pollution as little waste is released into waterways compared with conventional farming where excess nitrogen- and phosphorus-based fertilizers enter waterways. Even though various components make up an aquaponic system, its simplicity has made it one of the most sustainable hydroponic methods available.
This method of agriculture involves growing plants in water and can be done either onshore or in the open sea for commercial purposes. Algae, duckweed, and mussels are among the crops that can be grown in aquaculture ponds or cages, although other plants such as rice, wheat, and barley have been studied for production in this environment.
These plants serve as food sources for fish, which release nutrients to stimulate growth of algae that feed them once harvested from aquaculture ponds. The downside of this type of farming is that oftentimes, it also requires supplementing fish feed with soybeans and fish oils to ensure optimum harvest levels. Another disadvantage is the risk of disease outbreaks due to crowded conditions caused by the need to produce more fish or plants for human consumption.
7. Square-Foot Gardening
This method of gardening is based on the idea that a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing vegetable garden does not require a large space. Instead, it can be grown in 1-square-foot boxes or raised bed gardens containing up to 30 cubic feet of soil and composts.
Usually, these types of gardens use organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion and fishing meal for nutrient supplementation. It also uses natural pest control by encouraging predator insects such as ladybugs and praying mantises to minimize the need for chemical pesticides.
When moving containers away from one another would be impossible due to size constraints, this type of gardening allows for crops such as onions, beans and tomatoes to be planted closely together so they form a solid mass that acts as a windbreak that protects plants against cold and wind.
With more than 7 billion people living on Earth and projections showing that the population number will reach 9.6 billion by 2050, sustainable farming methods only seem to make sense as the world’s overall food production needs to increase.