NZ: Hydroponic hobby becomes full-time job for former project manager

A former council project manager has turned his hydroponic hobby into a full-time job and is now making and selling plant nutrients and all-natural fertilizers.

German-born entrepreneur Frank Lachmann worked at New Plymouth District Council before turning his passion into a profession. Three years ago, everything changed after he watched a video on YouTube of a farmer growing hydroponic tomatoes and thought he could do it too.

After experimenting with growing his own fruit and vegetables in second-hand drums and recycled glass jars and a cardboard no-dig garden, Frank found there were no nutrients or fertilizers that he could import.

The business has grown enough with sales to retailers and home gardeners that Frank has quit his day job and opened an online business, Herbi.

“You could set up your own hydroponic garden for less than $40,” he said. “I wanted something that required less maintenance as possible, so I came up with a solution.” The drums Frank is using have had a previous life in the dairy industry and once contained milk additives.

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