When we last left you, Packet Labs had decided to start building a completely automated hydroponic lab and they’ve been true to their word. For those of you who missed our last blog post on this topic, hydroponics is a branch of agriculture where plants are grown in water with added nutrients without the use of soil. The nutrients are dissolved in the water or depending on the hydroponic system used, the plant’s roots are suspended in the nutrient solution so that the plant can derive the elements it needs for growth from there.
After a month of intense research and analysis in April, Packet Labs began building work in full swing by May. So far, the basic structure where the saplings will grow is up. A number of leafy vegetables such as the red cos lettuce, lolo rossa concorde, iceberg bruma, cos lettuce tiberius, red batavia cherokee as well as broccoli have been selected to be grown at the Packet Labs hydroponic lab. The reasoning behind choosing only leafy vegetables is that since they belong to the same family, their nutrient requirements will be similar and hence, an identical nutrient solution can be used in growing all of them. The added advantage is that they can all be grown using a similar type of light. In hydroponics, plants are grown using artificial light and as such, the wattage of the light source needs to be taken into consideration. What might work for one plant, might end up burning another. When vegetables of the same family are taken, they can often survive with light of a similar wattage.
In a move truly befitting the age that we live in, Packet Labs has planned for the lights, water pumps, air pumps and air conditioners to all be controlled by IoT (Internet of Things). With IoT, billions of physical devices can connect to the internet and, collect and share data around the world, and have to a large extent rendered human involvement moot.
Packet Labs is hopeful that their hydroponics lab will be fully functioning by mid August.