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Design of a small-scale hydroponic system for indoor farming of leafy vegetables

The reduction of the population and labor force in rural areas, adverse climate changes, soil pollution and degradation, and reduced soil fertility necessitate new and intensive approaches to and methods of vegetable production. In this study, a new high-tech, small-scale hydroponic system based on the Internet of Things (IoT) for growing leafy vegetables was designed. For the assembly of the high-tech small-scale hydroponic system, low-cost materials and sensors are used, allowing remote monitoring and process automation during the cultivation of leafy vegetables and seedlings.

Experimental investigations of the installation were conducted, with lettuce as the grown crop. The environmental and technological parameters of the system were monitored and analyzed in order to assess the suitability of the system. The obtained results confirm that the small-scale hydroponic system maintained the set parameters of air temperature, air humidity, and pH of the nutrient solution within the optimal limits for growing lettuce.

Other parameters, such as temperature and electrical conductivity of the nutrient solution, had small deviations from the required optimal limits. In the initially set experiment, 75% germination of the lettuce seeds was achieved. The main advantages of the proposed hydroponic system are the simplicity of its management and easy installation. Furthermore, it offers the possibility for remote monitoring and control without any high requirements for the experience of the user with such facilities. The designed and implemented small hydroponic system can help small and medium-sized vegetable growers achieve indoor sustainable farming of leafy vegetables year-round.

Nikolov, N.V.; Atanasov, A.Z.; Evstatiev, B.I.; Vladut, V.N.; Biris, S.-S. Design of a Small-Scale Hydroponic System for Indoor Farming of Leafy Vegetables. Agriculture 2023, 13, 1191.

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