In the contemporary scenario with a continuously rising population, space has become a matter of concern for most of us, especially in the urban sectors. Now, how can we even consider having a garden in such a situation? Vertical gardening is the only answer to this question. For those who are professionals, this is nothing new, but for the less experienced of us: vertical gardening is basically growing plants on a vertical platform, one above the other instead of being lined up next to each other. This potentially drastically decreases the floor space required, and literally, the sky is the limit. The technique is used to produce higher yields with a smaller footprint.
This is not merely limited to the placement of plants one on top of the other. Any method of growing or cultivation that takes advantage of vertical space to produce more than a conventional (horizontal) setup in the same amount of floor space can be considered vertical gardening. An example is the method of growing several marijuana growers used to use to avoid being detected by officials while using a comparatively small amount of power and floor space while increasing yields. It involves hanging the HID bulbs vertically and placing plants all around the bulb, vertically and horizontally, to make use of all of the light emitted by the bulb. When using a reflector conventionally, only one side of the bulb is used while the other side shines light onto the reflector, which then reaches the plants at a much lower intensity than it would if coming straight from the bulb.
There are specific types of hydroponic systems which are better suited for vertical gardening than others. Listed below are two that are comparatively easy to set up and maintain.
Recirculating DWC (Deep Water Culture)
Just like any other DWC, this method involves having the roots hanging partially submerged in water. A recirculating DWC is slightly different in physical operation, but not from the method of plant support and nutrition. It is almost exactly like an NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) setup, but instead of a thin film, the plants roots are submerged in a few inches of continuously and (comparatively) fast flowing water. This is extremely viable for indoor setups, where walls can be used for mounting the tubes. The water flows down the slope and through the tubes back into the reservoir, where it is pumped back up again. The amount of light and electricity saved can be measured in Kilowatt-hours per square metre.
Vertical gardening is a cinch with this hydroponic system. The water literally flows down from one plant down the tube to the reservoir, passing through the roots of other plants on the way. Water is recirculated and saved in this system as well as the previously mentioned recirculating DWC. Nutrients and water usage are much less than in a comparative drain-to-waste system, where nutrients once used are discarded.