View Full Version : indoor hydroponics operation

10-22-2008, 04:46 PM
Hi All,

I have been interested in food production for some time, and have been researching greenhouse operations, market gardening, and other possibilities. Recently, I became aware of a possible space available to me that is about 5000 square feet. It is in the basement of a restaurant in my city. It has a concrete floor and no windows. It is clean and partially developed, not dirty and dingy.

Now that this space has come onto my radar, I am looking at possibilities to use it profitably while still accomplishing my goal of producing quality food. I am wondering if a space that size could be properly utilised with a hydroponics operation and be financially feasible?

I am aware that the main expense is going to be power for the lights and ventilation etc. However, could a system be designed that would be profitable enough to make the expense worthwhile?

Crops I am considering are herbs and greens for the restaurant market. Another avenue I have been considering is the processing of basil into pesto to get some value-added profit from the herb. Would a system of the size I would be limited to provide enough basil to make that a worthwhile venture?

Any thoughts or advice you may have in regards to a profitable setup that could be created in that space would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your input,


10-24-2008, 07:52 AM
With 5K square feet you could produce a lot of veggies. There are a lot of different systems that would work for you. It depends on how complex a system you want as it comes with cost, maintenance, etc. An ebb and flow system produces good yields, is fairly cheap, and is not overly complex. Aeroponics produce the fastest growth but they are also the most expensive, and they require maintenance like changing jets etc. So you need to figure how much you want to spend. Then think about your goals. For example how much do you want to produce? How fast do you want to produce it? Once you get all of that figured out you can start looking at individual systems or even buy the components and build your own. Also you could just use soil/soilless mix and grow in pots. Along with that you can add a drip system for automatic feeding if you want. Anyway hopefully that gives you some ideas and gets you started. Give some more information about your budget and what not. Perhaps then I could help recommend some individual systems.

04-03-2009, 08:05 PM
i would say if you didnt already have even an idea or knew what kind of grow system you are going to be using dont even waste your money.

Growing vegatables hydroponiclly in a greenhouse is very risky, let alone indoors. I always say if your going to grow anything for profit under lights they are best used as a suppliment to natural light inside a greenhouse.

Even if you were selling your crops to chefs and such, i dont see making any sort of profit, even with 5k square feet, you would have to sell 6-8 thousand dollars in crops a month to make a 1000 dollars a month.

growing plants underneith lights is best suited for a hobby, not profit.

But on the otherhand im being harsh!! with the most concrete business plan and expert know-how it could be done. but you are looking at a 25 thousand dollar investment and then you would need another 5k a month untill you started turning a profit.

just my two cents.


04-03-2009, 08:13 PM
I agree, to light 5k square feet would be incredible expensive, with that kind of volume you need to be getting the light for free from the sun! There is something called solar hybrid lighting, but it's very expensive right now.... it brings in light from the roof via dishes and fiber optic cables....

10-05-2009, 01:10 PM
The only way I could see turning a profit inside such a large place with hydroponics would be illegal. I agree - most indoor lit hydroponic setups are best as a hobby and not for profit. If it was a 5,000 sqft space outside in a greenhouse - then I could see a tremendous difference between doing it and not doing it.

David G.
10-23-2009, 11:10 PM
If you were planning on growing summer crops in the wintertime and the prices were very high where you are and the quality was very poor, then I could see it being profitable even with the high electricity bill.

John M.
10-26-2009, 10:36 AM
I hear this has been very profitable in Japan...

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://picdit.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/watermelon1.png&imgrefurl=http://picdit.wordpress.com/2007/11/29/square-shaped-watermelons/&usg=__RqH7e_2b15bFpA805eLUoOhcV9o=&h=395&w=404&sz=312&hl=en&start=1&um=1&tbnid=fCdfWB7mQ-t_cM:&tbnh=121&tbnw=124&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dsquare%2Bwatermellons%26hl%3Den%26rls %3Dcom.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7SUNA_en%26sa%3DX%26um%3D1

04-24-2010, 06:14 PM
Didnt know it was illegal to keep sharks. Like I said I have a bit a research to do. But with you saying that I will be looking into something else to put in a pond.

Thanks for the input on this.

What type of filtration would I use for something like that though?

09-20-2011, 11:58 PM
Place two or three Ebb and Flow Extensions into one of the Ebb and Flow Fill/Drain fittings for your hydroponics systems.