Traditional vertical farming methods, such as hydroponics and aeroponics, do not use soil. Instead, they rely on alternative growing mediums or substrate materials to provide support to the plant roots and facilitate nutrient delivery. This is one of the key characteristics of vertical farming, as it allows for precise control over the growing environment.
In hydroponics, plants are grown in nutrient-rich water solutions without the use of soil. The roots are typically suspended in the water, and nutrients are provided directly to the roots in a controlled manner. Various inert materials such as perlite, vermiculite, coconut coir, or rockwool can be used as growing mediums to support the plants and retain moisture around the roots.
Aeroponics, on the other hand, is a method where plants are grown in an air or mist environment with little to no growing medium. The roots are suspended in the air, and a fine mist or fog of nutrient solution is periodically sprayed onto the roots. This allows for efficient nutrient absorption and oxygenation of the roots.
While soilless methods are commonly used in vertical farming due to their advantages in terms of precise nutrient control, water efficiency, and disease management, it's worth noting that there are variations of vertical farming that incorporate soil. Some vertical farming systems, such as vertical gardens or living walls, use soil-based mediums for growing plants vertically. These systems are often designed for ornamental plants or smaller-scale vegetable production and may utilize soil or soil-like mixes to support plant growth.
In summary, traditional vertical farming methods like hydroponics and aeroponics do not rely on soil. Instead, they use alternative growing mediums or employ soilless techniques to provide plant support and nutrient delivery.