As you may have read previously, I’ve decided to give hydroponics a go. The main reason for this is because I would like to enjoy fresh herbs and greens in the winter months. But given that vegetables and salad leaves are wildly expensive in Switzerland, I might extend that to year round if it is easy and tastes good.
I’ve decided to start out with the IKEA Växer range, mostly because this is a cheap way to dip my toes into the nutrient-rich water. Before I made the purchase I did a bit of homework, and the reviews of the system were favorable. One stand out issue, however, was the fact that the grow lights – when teamed with the Krydda frame – were not adjustable.
So I decided to do another IKEA hack!
The Krydda frame would have cost 84chf (around $90) if I were to buy the three-tier system, so my aim was to hack something that was not only more practical but also cheaper.
Introducing the Ivar system from IKEA, which is essentially a wooden shelving unit. I’ve put together a three-tier system. The bottom shelf won’t move, and will be home to the fertilizer, seeds and other supplies that are needed for the system. The second shelf won’t move either, and will be home to the seed trays and propagator. But the top shelf is where the magic happens. I’ve attached three grow lights on the underside, which means that they can be moved up and down in line with the needs of the crop.
And the best bit, it all comes in at 62chf (which is $66), which is cheaper than the IKEA solution.
The first crop is well underway, and seems to be thriving in the new set up after only a few days.
At the moment, this has cost 194.95chf in total* to set up. Mixed salad leaves in the local supermarket cost between 3-5chf per hundred grams (let’s call that 5chf for the sake of argument). And although that sounds like an introduction to a maths question, I’ve done the sums for you. I’ll have to grow 4kg of greens to make this breakeven. But if I switch to more expensive items like fresh basil or coriander, I’ll be in the black in no time.
Right now, however, it is day 5 and the crops look like this. Happy little seedlings starting off on their adventures.
* The electricity is running at around 1chf a month and the cost of water is negligible, so I’m not adding either.