Hydroponic Farming in Guatemala
“Modern Farmer” explains, “In a hydroponic system, a nutrient-dense water solution circulates through the plants’ roots and replaces the need for soil and traditional fertilizers. This technique allows farmers and gardeners to grow food in kitchens and basements, on windowsills and roofs.”
The system, long ago embraced by indoor pot growers, may go mainstream as farmers in drought-stricken areas, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley of California, look for solutions to keep crops thriving without using vast amounts of water.
Closer to home in Guatemala, Guy Christopher, a local hydroponic systems expert, offers many advantages for going “hydro.”
“Plants grown in the ground lose a tremendous amount of energy searching for their nutrients. One of the easiest and least expensive ways of setting up a hydroponic system is using PVC tubing and a small pump to circulate water and oxygenator. The water flows back down by gravity and comes into contact with every root of the plant with nutrient-rich water 24-7, allowing for enormous growth.”
He goes on to list additional advantages of hydroponic farming:
Plants grow on a cubic space rather than a square area (land usage)
Plants are harvested every 35 days versus four harvest seasons on land
Plants are not susceptible to ground diseases and pests, meaning that they are grown 100 percent free of pesticides and insecticides.
Plants grow with minimal water usage.
Christopher has installed a number of hydroponic systems and through trial and error he is now successfully growing lush romaine lettuce, endive varieties, spinach, celery and basil. There was one failure. “It was an indoor project and there wasn’t sufficient light to grow healthy plants.”
One obvious solution for an internal light source is solar energy. Kyle Johnston of Lux Aeterna, explains, “With the ever-increasing feasibility of solar panels and solar energy, creating a strategy to support commercial and small-scale hydroponic systems can go hand in hand.”
Hydroponic systems: Guy Christopher, tel: 5855-0236;
Solar energy systems: Lux Aeterna, Solar-Solar
Nutrients: Disagro, Anillo Periférico 17-36, Z. 11
Guatemala City, tel: (502) 2474-9300