Garage Farmer Provides Three Tips on Starting an Urban Hydroponic Farm – Manila Bulletin

Long before urban gardening became widespread, hydroponics was a popular method of farming that allowed farmers to grow food with a nutrient-rich solution instead of soil.

Eventually, urban gardeners saw the potential of hydroponics for growing food in confined spaces. Jorem Catilo, a photographer and graphic designer by profession, has adopted this method in his garage.

His garage measures roughly 16 to 17 square feet and is home to his hydroponics farm, which produces 1,000 to 1,200 greens every month.

(Read more about The Garage Farmer here)

Despite the success and profitability of his hydroponic farm, Catilo faced several challenges before finding the right approach to starting his farm. He shares three tips to help his fellow farmers in town start their hydroponics setup.

1. Start small

When Catilo started his hydroponics farm, he used basic materials like styrofoam boxes and cups to create his system at home.

Start with the basics. Once farmers are comfortable with hydroponics, they can move on to more advanced setups.

“Work with the current space you have. It doesn’t have to be chic and different right away, ”he said.

Once the basics are in place, urban farmers can move on to purchasing seeds and coconut palms, which are ideal growing media for beginners.

2. Don’t be frustrated

As a beginner, there is still a lot to learn before an urban hydroponic farm can be successful. But with trial and error, they can fix mistakes and focus on the variables that work for their system.

Be patient with hydroponic farming. Sometimes it takes time and experimentation before farmers can secure a bountiful harvest.

Catilo had a similar experience when he found the right place for his hydroponics system. First, he placed his lineup where the plants could get a good amount of sunlight. Unfortunately, this did more harm than good, as it led to low yields and small heads of lettuce.

Early failures can leave some farmers frustrated and discouraged about realizing their dream of growing food. Catilo advises not to be influenced by these mistakes, but to find a solution to their problems.

“Don’t be frustrated. It takes trial and error and time to get a bountiful harvest, ”he said.

In his case, it was moving to a garage and switching to a more advanced hydroponic setup that helped him overcome early challenges and thus run a more productive urban farm.

He added that aspiring urban farmers should also consider their location and find out what types of crops are suitable for growing in the current conditions.

3. Find help online

Not everyone knows the concept of hydroponics. Catilo himself was only introduced to soilless farming last year when he was browsing YouTube. However, when he got wind of the method, he decided to research how to recreate the system in his home.

This led him to take advantage of the internet by reading available material on the subject, watching videos, and even joining social media groups with people who shared the same interests.

As a member of these groups, Catilo learned a lot about hydroponics and even found workshops that could help him achieve his goal of creating an urban hydroponic farm.

“Asking questions. Most of the people in these groups are helpful and willing to answer questions,” he said.

With these simple steps, aspiring urban farmers interested in using hydroponics can learn a lot from their experiences and the people around them. It’s only a matter of time before they reach a productive urban farm like catilo did with his garage farm.

For more information, visit The Garage Farmer on Facebook.

Photos courtesy of Jorem Catilo

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