Institute of Simplified Hydroponics

The project aims to make low cost and easy to learn hydroponics or soil-less cultivation methods available to rural and urban growers of vegetables, fruits and herbs in India.

Per Bharo Project was launched in 2009 in India. The Project is being executed by The Institute of Simplified Hydroponics, a division of Optimus Interweave, Australia, based in Bangalore. The chief visionary of the project is Mr. CV Prakash. The project aims to make low cost and easy to learn hydroponics or soil-less cultivation methods available to rural and urban growers of vegetables, fruits and herbs in India.

“Initially I was involved in commercial high cost, high technology Hydroponic Greenhouse systems. I tried to find a market for such a system in India but found it difficult at the time.
Later I met Ms Peggy Bradley, Executive Director of the Institute of Simplified Hydroponics in the United States. The pioneering work that she had done to lift many thousands of people from poverty and hunger inspired me to launch the technology in India by way of the Pet Bharo Project. Ms Peggy Bradley, Mr. Andrew ‘Andy’ Loughrin, Ms Sangeeta Bojappa and I were the key players in this project,” says Mr. Prakash.

Simplified Hydroponics
Simplified Hydroponics was developed in Latin America. This method of cultivation can be easily adapted to the conditions of urban areas and the urban periphery, in the following ways:
· As the production system is isolated from the soil, vegetables can be produced “without land”, in small physical spaces. Planting takes place at a convenient height, where soil pollution has no impact.
· Plants are grown in water containers or in low–cost natural substrates (sand, rice husk, pumice, etc.). With this system, it is possible to grow a vast range of vegetables, for example, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, celery, watercress, eggplants, beans, parsley, wild radish, leeks, strawberries, melons, aromatic and medicinal plants, etc.
· One of the main advantages is the possibility of using urban spaces like patios, small gardens, party walls, balconies, and rooftops.
· High efficiency in the use of irrigation water, where water is recycled and does not pollute the environment.
· Pest, disease and weed control by natural herbal methods.
· Higher yields and shorter times between harvests. Hence, total output is greater than the case of conventional soil systems.
· The technique is easy to learn and concrete results are achieved quickly.
· It is not labor intensive. The investment required is also less.
· Use of recycled materials – it is possible to use recycled materials to build growing systems.
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Cost Involved
Speaking about the cost involved to set up a hydroponics garden, Mr. Prakash says, “A 20 sq m garden that can produce up to 2 kilograms of fresh pesticide-free vegetables should cost approximately 110-120 USD per garden if built by procuring locally available recyclable materials. The running cost of the garden should be approximately 100-110 USD per year.”

By way of protective structure, the hydrophonics garden needs a simple inexpensive shade net. “The appropriate shade-to-sun ratio can be procured from any agricultural product supplier to protect plants from excessive sunlight and a reasonably thick polythene sheet can keep the garden safe from rains,” he avers.

Protection from Pests
To protect the plants from pests and weeds the project encourages the growers to use neem and garlic sprays. “In addition we also use mechanical insect traps made of old plywood that are anointed with old used engine/motor oil or light waste grease that attract different flying predators and these insects get stuck to the traps. The common colours used are a bright yellow or blue as jackets over the plywood. These traps are kept beside the table growers,” says Mr. Prakash.

He further says, “Another natural method used is by trap cropping or catch cropping or companion cropping. For e.g. when we grow Mint, we grow Cabbage, Tomatoes alongside it. This causes a conflict as insects get confused by the pheromones in the vicinity and are safely vectored to look for another area of interest. We also hang small length strips of old cassette tapes on the periphery of the garden that can ward off predator birds.”
He adds, “Similarly we used clear plastic bags filled with water to vector insects during the day as the reflection/refraction of the sunlight through these bags cause homing in difficult due to the compound eyes of the insects. These are not a total list and we have learnt from many of our students recently many home grown natural methods that have been used by farmers successfully in many parts of India for thousands of years. We also encourage the use of beneficial insects to attack and kill unwanted pests.”

Water Conservation
Mr. Prakash further reiterates that the system of Simplified Hydroponics requires just about 1/10th to 1/20th of the water used in soil cultivation. “Our system calls for good quality water with the right pH/Total Dissolved Solids and where not available we treat the same by use of very inexpensive methods to make that water usable. When we say that we recycle the nutrient we mean that the excess nutrient water drained out is collected and reused in the grower bed,” he says.

“In our system the water is poured into the grower bed and allows the nutrient water to drain off as the aim is wetting of the root environment. This draining is done by the fact that the substrates we use have a high degree of porosity that facilitates this requirement. In fact we are discussing with the Architects Association of India about how they may consider spaces for Hydroponics in apartments and areas where they build their complexes and are asking them to incorporate rain water harvesting systems that can help residents using Hydroponics,” he adds.

Training
The company has trained a total of 126 students so far as master trainers. The training project was conducted in a rural school in Kothanur, North Bangalore, called the Sandra Ricketts Public school which also houses about 20-25 children some of whom are orphans and from very disadvantaged backgrounds.

ISH Bangalore have during the course of this training helped by the trainees who participated, set up a 25 sq m  vegetable and herb garden to cater to the needs of the children living at this hostel. The garden is expected to provide nearly 2-2.5 kilos of pesticide free, freshly picked, vegetables and herbs every single day.

“We are happy to have launched the “Pet Bharo” project and are looking forward to our next phase of training expected to start in mid March 2009. Our immediate aim is to locate and set up a brick and mortar institute at Rural Bangalore for the ISH wherein we are planning to conduct training of personnel from our ISH Chapters in all Indian states, conduct R&D in growing nutritional vegetables and herbs, medicinal and aromatic plants for the herbal cosmetics and drugs sector. We also intend to work closely with various Indian agricultural universities to study a bunch of easily growable vegetables and herbs that will suit the local environments and provide good, clean, affordable food for the people at long last,” says Mr. Prakash.

When asked about tie-ups with agricultural societies, Mr. Prakash says, “We are getting enquiries from The National Horticultural Research Development Foundation (NHRDF), Nasik as well as from the Jammu and Kashmir Agri-Business Development Corporation asking us to assist in spreading this in their areas of interest.”

Future Plans
Speaking about the company’s future plans, Mr. Prakash says, “Our immediate goals are to continue training people in this system as master trainers, do more awareness campaigns in all states of India, establish and support model gardens in every state through ISH local chapters. ISH headquarters in Bangalore is now looking for passionate individuals and companies to become our exclusive franchises/chapters in all Indian states. We plan to support and continuously provide inputs to help make them successful.”

He adds, “The ISH is now in the process of locating a suitable place to set up a permanent institution/campus in an area of about 5 acres in a rural Bangalore. The institution will have trained faculty from within and from other agriculture/horticulture institutions in India including senior experts from various walks of agriculture including retired professors and scientists on our panel.

We intend to work closely with Universities and Research institutions to spread Simplified Hydroponics at a rapid rate in India. The ISH Bangalore Campus will house library/Nutrient lab/Classrooms for Theory and Outdoor Training/R&D labs to grow medicinal/aromatic plants for the herbal drugs and cosmetics industry and will collaborate with such companies both in India and abroad in Joint ventures. Also the ISH is now in the process of identify groups of vegetables and herbs that are unique to each part of India and will come up with tables to suggest what may be grown and eaten to help keep up with the basic nutritional values.”

He further adds, “In India we have so far built a small team of about 10 people and are expected to take in many more members.”

Our Correspondent[/hidepost]

  • p s parihar

    Dear Sir, plz tell me about the commercial hydroponics , i wish to start the vegetable production through hydroponics methods , you are requested to give me details such as area, infrastructure required, per unit cost of production, fixed cost,recurring cost , precautions etc.

    thanking you

    with regards

  • L.MANI

    dear sir
    iam realy thirlled after reading editorial of hydroponics iwould like to know more about it will you give me information and mail id

    Thanks with regards

  • Manoj Kumar Singh

    Dear Sir,
    Though I am presently in a Govt Job, but agriculture has always been closest to my heart as I belong to agri based family. I intend to return to the same activity. Further more I always wanted to help people who are finding agriculture as non sustainable activity. Kindly give me further technical andother financial details about this method.

  • ANAND

    Dear Sir,
    It would be an interesting work. would you please give me more details about your offer. thanks and regards.
    anand

  • dinesh uberoi

    Good write-up. put more information on how to go about it maybe a pdf document. I shall be greatful if you could offer the training capsule on mail or cd so that this programme can take-off at national level quickly

  • K SHIVANAND

    It’s exciting to know about simplified hydroponics as this promises to be the future in which vegetables,herbs, etc. will be grown. Kindly provide me with more details.

  • Lawrence Thiagarajan

    I would like to visit your place for a training and use your method to cultivate vegetables in the off season for a city close to me. Do you do this on a turn key basis. Yes this if I can do it successfully will help all the farmers in my village to earn more income as the ground water depletion is a major problem and as a graduate in Agriculture I need to lead them a way out.

  • piyush

    Dear Sir, plz tell me about the commercial hydroponics , i wish to start the vegetable production through hydroponics methods , you are requested to give me details such as area, infrastructure required, per unit cost of production, fixed cost,recurring cost , precautions etc.

    thanking you

    with regards

  • Vimal Dhiman

    A very good effort indeed. In present time when living spaces are shrinking day by day and quality of food is also getting deteriorated day by day, small hydroponics garden can be a good substitute where people can use unutilized spaces for vegetable cultivation such as store rooms, varandah, terrace or lawn / kitchen garden. The production per unit (20 sqm) of 2-2.5 kg per day is ok for a family. When we go for commercial production, using the more equipments or investment, what are the possibilities of getting increased production. I would rather be interested in obtaining details on commercial production of vegetables through hydroponics technique.

    Regards

    Vimal Dhiman
    Dehradun

  • Kiran Hirpara

    Dear Sir, plz tell me about the commercial hydroponics , i wish to start the vegetable production through hydroponics methods , you are requested to give me details such as area, infrastructure required, per unit cost of production, fixed cost,recurring cost , precautions etc.

    thanking you

    with regards

  • evvinod

    Dear Sir, plz tell me about the commercial hydroponics , i wish to start Mushroom production through hydroponics methods , you are requested to give me details such as area, infrastructure required, fixed cost,recurring cost , precautions etc. Will it be ideal for open terrance cultivation or closed room cultivatin for mushrooms.

    Regards
    Vinod
    Banglaore

  • http://******** Aluka Frederick C

    please I need to acquire further training in commercial hydroponics. can I get that in your institute and how can I go about it.

  • Dr. Rashmi Chamoli

    Dear Sir, plz tell me about the hydroponics technique , i wish to start the forest species production through hydroponics methods , you are requested to give me details such as area, infrastructure required, per unit cost of production, fixed cost,recurring cost etc.

    thanking you

    with regards

  • Naresh chamoli

    please I need to further training in hydroponics methods. can I get that in your institute and how can I go about it

  • Meenesh Patel

    Dear Sir,

    I would like to know more about commercial production through hydrophonics.Can you explain its feasibility.

  • http://www.petbharoproject.co.in CV Prakash

    Kindly contact Ms Sangeeta Bojappa regarding your inquiry on Hydroponics.

    Her Numbers are 094806-14645 or sangeeta_bojappa@hotmail.com

    Best Regards

    CV PRAKASH
    CEO
    ISH Bangalore
    09895522777

    By Meenesh Patel on August 31st, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Dear Sir,

    I would like to know more about commercial production through hydrophonics.Can you explain its feasibility

  • http://www.petbharoproject.co.in CV Prakash

    Kindly contact Ms Sangeeta Bojappa regarding your inquiry on Hydroponics.

    Her Numbers are 094806-14645 or sangeeta_bojappa@hotmail.com

    Best Regards

    CV PRAKASH
    CEO
    ISH Bangalore
    09895522777

  • http://www.hydroponicswholesale.com/climate-control-c-161.html Climate Control

    Thanks a lot for the post. I hope to read more from you!

  • vishwanath

    I am thankful to C.V sir for his vision
    glorious effort to educate about Simplified hydroponics
    i also got trained from them
    i wish all interested ones
    to keep in touch with ISH do the Course
    where you can become Gen X Farmer for sure

    Vishwambhara dasa

  • SureshKumar.R

    Dear Sir,
    Please tell me about the commercial hydroponics , i wish to start the vegetable production through hydroponics methods , I requested you to give me the details such as area, infrastructure required, per unit cost of production, fixed cost,recurring cost , precautions etc.

    Thanks

    Regards
    Suresh

  • SAURABH RANE

    Dear Sir,
    I am a mango grower from Deogad, Maharashtra. We plant mango in hard latratic rock area by blasting a pit in the rock and adding soil from other places. The cost of plantation in our areais on a higher side as the cost of soil filling in the pit is very high (Around Rs. 1500/- per pit)
    I want to know weather the hydroponic technique be used in such type of fruit orchards. can it be a cost efficient technique?

    Regards
    Saurabh Rane

  • M Kumar

    Sir,
    I am working as Associate Professor in TNAU and interested in knowing the cost involved in establishing a hydroponic garden in an area of 70 x 15 feet. Please respond

  • Baseer

    Hi,

    It is very exciting to know about the research and development by our dedicated scientists. i want to know complete details about hydroponics and where can we learn about it and how to start hydroponics system. also i would like to know whether cultivation by this type of system is organic i mean can we term the produce from this system as organic?

    thanking you

  • shanker iyer

    Dear sir,

    I wish to get information regarding hydroponic nutrient . Can I make this on my own or the same is available ready in the market.

    I am planning to grow cucumber .

    shanker

  • S.Madu Mathi

    i want to know more about this hydroponics method