These are the latest requirements for the hydroponics system I’m building.
Mandatory Requirements. The system must:
- Be profitable; the value of the outputs must be higher than the value of the inputs.
- Be easy and enjoyable to operate
- Use the operator’s labor to maximum advantage
- Grow healthy, nutritious food at a rate and quality and cost that’s better than anything available at the grocery store, or even at the farmer’s market
- Cost less than $200 to build one minimally-functional system
- Fit in a space that’s approximately 2’ wide x 5’ long x 8’ high
Optional Requirements. The system should:
- Be easy to disassemble and clean
- Be easily scaled up or down
- Be modular, so that components that have flaky designs can be easily upgraded
- Cause me to develop new skills, like 3D printing, irrigation, nutrient selection and tuning for optimal plant growth, fungus and algae management
- Cause me to develop new materials mastery in areas such as LED lighting, reflective materials, irrigation supplies, nutrients, plant cultivars, control systems, pumps, and filters
- Help me get better at teamwork
These are very rudimentary requirements, and need a great deal of additional detail. We’ll fill in the detail as we iterate through the rest of the design cycle over the next few weeks.
Version 1.0. December 2, 2022