Learn How Hydroponics Will Change the World

hydroponics: (n)

the method of growing plants without soil, exposing roots to a mineral nutrient solution.

With venture capitalists investing billions of dollars in the AgTech industry, everyone seems to be talking about hydroponics.

But what exactly IS it?

Hydroponics is an agricultural technique that has existed for thousands of years. As agricultural technology advanced, hydroponics shifted from irrigation systems like the Gardens of Babylon to the automated, recirculating soilless systems we manufacture today.

Now there are dozens of types of hydroponic systems. In our 30 years of research and development, we designed and manufacture the most sustainable food production systems available worldwide.

If AmHydro makes the most sustainable systems worldwide, why isn’t hydroponics more well known?

1) Lack of knowledge.  Farmers and entrepreneurs don’t understand the benefits of hydroponics. Farms (and their business models) are passed down from generations, so it’s intimidating to adopt new systems. We have helped hundreds of soil farmers add greenhouses to their farms, diversifying their crops and income sources.

2) Outdated economics.  Our current agriculture system was created when water and land were abundant and inexpensive, therefore, soil-based farming was more favorable. Today, 70% of the world’s fresh water and 40% of its ice-free land are being used for agriculture. With the population growing and the global climate changing, the currentagricultural model needs reshaping.

The Future of Food

The early 1970s brought the first “Hydro Boom” when venture capitalists placed large investments in the hydroponics industry for the first time. Since then, hydroponics has been “The Future of Food.” Entrepreneurs finally had the money they needed to build large-scale, multi-acre systems. The problem was these systems were designed to get rich quick and “take the farmer out of the farm.” Within a decade, the hydroponics industry crashed, and soil farming proved to be longer lasting.

"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed."

-Sir Francis Bacon

Our Vice President,Joe Swartz, has been researching and developing hydroponic systems since the 1980s. As he experimented with different growing techniques, media, and environmental controls, he found that – as the founder of the scientific method said – nature must be obeyed. Swartz has helped AmHydro design and distribute systems that respect plants, farmers, and the environment. Now we’re producing the most efficient systems worldwide.

Hydroponics: The environmental solution.

Compared with soil-based farming, our systems are:

  • More consistent. Producing predictable quantities and quality for higher crop yields and profits. 
  • More efficient. Producing 10x the crops per area.
  • Cleaner. Reducing pathogen risks by growing crops without pesticides or manure.
  • Local. Reducing transportation costs by growing near or in urban centers.

Fertilizer Use

We use 1/6th the fertilizer of soil-based farms

Water Use

We use 1/10th the water of soil-based farms

NFT Systems

Nutrient Film Technique systems are designed with long, narrow channels in which plants (like lettuce) are placed at regular intervals.  This is our primary system.  It will be your work horse.

Nutrient-rich water continuously flows down the channels, past exposed plant roots.  Any unused solution is captured at the end of each channel, funneled back to a reservoir, automatically remixed for nutrient balance and recirculated with the help of a pump.

Gutter Systems

For vine crops, we have designed gutter systems that are drip-fed AND recirculating in which crops are rooted in a soilless medium, placed in a bag of growing medium on the gutter, and nutrient-rich water circulates back to the reservoir.

These gutters are elevated from the floor of the greenhouse so the roots’ temperature can be regulated. We offer these hydroponic systems for vine or medical crops, but we suggest that first-time growers start with, and master, an NFT system before adding vine crops to a growing operation.

Bato Bucket Systems

For vine and medical crops, we have designed ‘bato bucket’ systems in which individual buckets are drip-fed in a line, and recirculate nutrient solution back to the reservoir.

Our bato bucket systems (aka ‘Dutch buckets’ because the concept was invented in the Netherlands) are typically used for growing vine crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.  We offer these hydroponic systems for vine or medical crops, but we suggest that first-time growers start with, and master, an NFT system before adding bato buckets to their growing operation.

Propagation Systems

AmHydro also incorporates proprietary ebb and flow technology into its propagation (seed-starting) tray systems.  This is a recirculating system where seeds are placed in growing media (like Oasis or Rockwool) which is then placed in automatically irrigated trays. Periodically, a nutrient-rich solution is pumped into the trays, and then slowly drains. Our hydroponic systems (including our Get Growing! bundles) include this style of propagation system.

What type of hydroponic grower are you?

Questions about hydroponics? We have answers. With 30+ years of knowledge and experience, AmHydro has earned the title of the #1 hydroponic grower in the world. Speak with a hydroponic system expert today. Call or chat online. 800.458.6543

Commercial
Grower

Large operations with custom growing needs. We can design a customized solution for you.

Small Business
Grower

Full-time and part-time entrepreneurs. We have a turnkey business for you.

Farmers Market
Grower

Part-time growers selling to small communities. Add some income with a simple, easy-to-run hydroponic system.

Home & Classroom
Grower

New to hydroponics and eager to learn. We have home and classroom systems that are ready to go.

Medical
Grower

Specialty systems and nutrients for medical herb. We have helped canna growers for decades.

I don't really
know

New to hydroponics, but eager to get going? We can work with you to define your needs and get you up and running quickly.

How do I get started with a hydroponic system?

We are no longer limited by climate or season in the pursuit of clean, fresh food. We can now grow virtually any plant, anywhere at any time of year. With our simple, effective hydroponic systems, coupled with modern environmental controls, anyone can save precious resources like water, reduce their carbon footprint, and feed their community. Join us with three essential steps:

01. Research

Your Market

Market research is not rocket science, but it is important to determine the viability of your operation or business. We want you to be successful, so please take this first step seriously. You will need to find answers to the following questions:

  • What crops are selling well in your area?
  • Who is buying these crops?
  • How much are they buying? How frequently are they buying?
  • How much are they paying for the crops they buy?
  • What crops are rare/hard to find in your area?
  • What are the high-ticket crops in your area?
  • What packaging is being used? Is it preferred by the buyers?

Collect contact information from produce buyers working for your local supermarkets, schools, medical facilities, and restaurants. Interview them. Don’t worry, they won’t bite! Find out the prices they pay and their willingness and ability to purchase their food locally. If you need help getting started, just give us a call.

Your Growing Facility

Some of you may need to construct a greenhouse. If so, you may have to determine what is needed to prepare and permit your greenhouse site. Many of you will not need a building permit, but if you do, call us for plans. You will also want to consider hook-ups for utilities.

You should also arrange for help to construct your greenhouse. If you have purchased one of our Get Growing! bundles with a greenhouse, you will need a construction team and equipment.  Call us. We can help you determine what you will need.  Remember we have gone through this hundreds of times, so it’s way easier for us. Lean on our expertise.

02. Prepare

After completing your research, you know that your operation or business is viable. Now it’s time to prepare its foundation:

Legally

Submit the paperwork for your greenhouse building permit and your business incorporation.

Physically

Prepare your greenhouse. From the floors to the doors, everything should be designed with intention. Consider how your crops will be transported to their buyers. Be sure you are equipped with storage space the withstands your climate. Ask your AmHydro System Expert for advice.

Financially

Work with your bank, venture capitalists, family or friends to raise the necessary funds to begin your operation. Consider setting up a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Tell your friends and ask them to spread the word. You could even pre-sell shares as a way to raise some initial cash! 

Get insurance on your greenhouse and supplies in case of a natural disaster. Not sure how to start? Give us a call!

Technologically

Be sure that your produce buyers have an easy way to place and edit orders with you. You will need a unique farm name and logo so your market can easily find, identify, and connect with you. Some farms build their own websites, while others use Facebook and other social media to connect with their markets.

Emotionally

Starting a growing operation will change your life. Your daily routines will be determined by your crop cycles. Your relationships with your community will change. Your financial situation will change. Be sure you have considered how you will handle these changes. Remember, AmHydro has been helping new and experienced growers get returns on their hydroponic investments for decades. If you have worries, let us know.

03. Get Growing!

With your foundation prepared, it is time to set up your operation or business.

Greenhouse Setup

If you are setting up a new greenhouse, take delivery of your greenhouse and build it. Setting up your greenhouse will take time, but the process is simple. Depending on size and type, you may want to give your team two to five weeks to construct your greenhouse.

System Setup

Now comes the fun part! Unpack your AmHydro Hydroponics Kit and set it up. In our Get Growing! Bundles, we include all of the parts you will need, even some spares! Utilize our consulting services to get the help of our System Experts. We will be there to help you dial in the system and plant your first batch of seeds.

Utilize our consulting services to get the help of our system experts. We will be there to help you dial in the system and plant your first batch of seeds.

Sales Setup

Once you have planted seeds, you will have approximately 6 weeks to secure orders for the first of many harvests. Return to your list of buyers from the research phase, and let them know when your crops will be ready. As you build out your customer list, you will want to understand details regarding delivery times and locations, packaging requirements, and quality standards. Utilize our subscription services for all your hassle-free packaging needs like labels, bags, clamshells, and boxes.

AmHydro: #1 Hydroponic company in the world!

American Hydroponics (AmHydro to our friends) is a global hydroponic business that provides systems that range in size from small systems intended for classrooms to multi-acre commercial facilities that supply stores such as Costco and Whole Foods."

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