Da Lat farmer’s success with aeroponic vegetable growing model
Friday, 2017-12-01 10:08:04
NDO – A farmer in Da Lat city, in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, has successfully grown many kinds of vegetables in the air, aka aeroponics.
After a period of testing, Tran Huy Duong, owner of Langbiang Farm, in Xo Viet Nghe Tinh street, Ward 7, Da Lat city, has successfully developed his aeroponics model. His aeroponics garden covers about 500m2, cultivating nearly ten kinds of vegetables, including lettuces, kale, celery and spinach.
Under this cultivation method, vegetables are planted on a platform that is isolated half a metre from the ground. The roots of the vegetables are not directly attached to the soil or water (as in hydroponics cultivation) but are placed in coconut fiber bags.
Then each vegetable is planted on an apparatus with perforated holes in straight lines and the roots are suspended in the air and sealed with membranes. There is no water or soil in the rig, but only a mini water spraying system.
An automatic sprinkler system, which is pre-installed for spraying, pumps the nutrients to the vegetable apparatus through a mini-valve system. The vegetable root system absorbs water vapour with nutrients in order to grow. Every irrigation lasts just a few minutes, so that the water and fertiliser do not leak, thereby helping to save costs.
"As well as saving on costs, watering and fertilising using this method is suitable for leafy vegetables as nutrients aren’t sprayed onto the surface, thus keeping the vegetable leaves clean and uncontaminated with chemicals," Duong affirmed.
Under the aeroponics method, vegetables are grown on apparatus suspended in the air. (Credit: VNA)
According to Duong, he learned to construct the system from Dutch agricultural experts. However, in Vietnam, there aren’t any materials available for aeroponics, therefore Duong had to use local and common equipment to assemble an aeroponic system. Compared with the hydroponic system that is currently popular in Da Lat, the cost of building an aeroponic system is about 20% less and the cultivation time is also shorter by 7-10 days.
Over the past month, Duong’s farm has harvested over 1 tonne of aeroponic vegetables. Due to being grown in a greenhouse, together with a modern farming system, the quality is guaranteed as all vegetables meet the Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP) standards. However, the price of aeroponic vegetable gas is about 2-3 times higher than that of traditional cultivation, so it is suitable for high class customers or large restaurants.
According to the Lam Dong’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Duong's farm is the first to grow large-scale aeroponic vegetables in the province.
Lai The Hung, Head of the Cultivation and Plant Protection Department (under Lam Dong Department of Agriculture and Rural Development), said that aeroponic farming is favourable to control fertiliser residue. If this model can be widely replicated, Da Lat vegetables would have more competitive advantages in the high-grade vegetable segment in the country, Hung added.