Category:Controlled-environment growing

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Controlled-environment growing is the successful marriage of technology with plant biology. By using greenhouses to control heat and air conditions, using artificial lighting to control light levels, using nutrient solutions to control the nutrition plants receive through their roots, and otherwise tweaking the environment that we grow plants in, it is possible to grow more plants in less space than would otherwise be possible. For example, The Institute of Simplified Hydroponics report that in just 20m2 (215 square feet) of space, they regularly grow 2kg (4.4lb) of vegetables per day.

This kind of growing has many benefits over farming -

  • Losses to pests are dramatically reduced without the need for pesticide
  • It can be automated
  • It uses very little water (this is also true of permaculture)
  • Plants grow very big very fast. This saves a lot of space. Where space is limited, as in a city, it is the only real option for self-sufficiency.
  • It requires very little energy and no heavy machinery
  • It can grow plants all year round. There can be multiple harvests in a year, instead of just one.

Controlled-environment growing covers the three "ponics": hydroponics, aquaponics and aeroponics.

Open Source Ecology promotes agricultural practices that meet the OSE Specifications i.e. food systems that are open-source, replicable, cheap, scalable, simple to build and maintain, allow automation, promote decentralization, are environmentally-friendly and lead to abundance. Industrial monoculture using petrochemicals and heavy machinery do not meet these criteria, but two methods of agriculture do: permaculture and controlled-environment growing. These two have different strengths and weaknesses; although controlled-environment growing allows apartment-dwellers to be self-sufficient for food, it cannot heal bad soils. And although permaculture can turn a wasteland into a beautiful forest, it cannot grow oranges in Austria.