My Family’s Journey to Grow Our Own Food

My wife’s dream after we married was having a garden at home. However, at that moment, we were living in an apartment with a tiny balcony. It is theoretically impossible to plant anything. So, we discovered a way to plant vegetable at small space, and we found it. Hydroponic was the answer. We can plant without soil but only water.

The Age of Farming in The Apartment

At the first time, we were growing spinach. It sprouted fast, only need three days to see the small leaves. After around seven days, we were moving the sprouts to the hydroponic system for growing it. We chose wick system, the very simple hydroponic system. Instead of growing, the spinach was wilting.

Our simple hydroponic system in our apartment.

The second time, we were growing lettuce. Because we read about lettuce is the easiest vegetable for a hydroponic beginner. At that moment, we added LED growing lamp to our hydroponic system, because we knew that our plants were getting a lack of sunlight. However, we still got the same result like before; the lettuce was wilting.

We tried another shot. I forgot how many times we tried to grow vegetables in the apartment and got so many failures. At last, we knew it came from the temperature and the humidity. The temperature inside our flat was too high, and the humidity level was too dry.

The Age of Farming in The Greenhouse

Few months ago, after we were living in the apartment for a year. We were moving to the new house. House on the ground. At that time, Indonesia was in dry season. So, we got an idea to build our greenhouse at the front yard to isolate all the vegetables from the outside and also to easily controlled the temperature and the humidity.

Build the small greenhouse at the front yard.

We are building our NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) system as a growing system for lettuce and kale. We are also creating the drip system for tomato, eggplant, and cucumber. The result is satisfying. All the vegetables grow healthy and can be harvested.

Our greenhouse is not only for growing plants. That is also the place for me to learn IoT (Internet of Things) application development. Hydroponic farming is a suitable area for implementing the power of Internet-connected sensor and machine learning because it generates many data, e.g., air and water temperature, humidity, EC (electric conductivity) of water, and PH.

The IoT implementation for our greenhouse.

Why We Do All That Things?

We used to buy vegetables in supermarket — don’t ask why we are not going to traditional market. Usually, vegetables in the supermarket are not too fresh, and the price is also high-priced, especially for hydroponic vegetables. Thus, why we learn to grow our food.

Despite that reason, successfully growing our food is like getting a new life achievement. Maybe we are going one step ahead to prepare for a zombie apocalypse, nuclear war, or living on Mars.

Successfully growing lettuce.
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