Our Methods

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil but in a water based, nutrient rich solution. The root system is supported using an inert medium which can consist of different materials such as clay pellets or pebble stones. The basic idea behind hydroponics is to allow the plants roots to be in constant contact with the nutrient solution, which makes it easier for the plant to absorb nutrients and thereby fostering its growth.

Advantages of Hydroponics

(compared to farming with soil)

  • Plants will mature up to 25% faster (Increased growth rate)
  • Plants produce up to 30% more
  • Saves up to 90% of water
  • Growing year around is possible under certain circumstances

The Kratky System

The Kratky method is a passive hydroponic technique, where plants grow in netpots which are in contact with a reservoir of nutrient-rich water. As the plants grow, the water level of the reservoir will decline as plants absorb the water in the system, leaving a gap of the roots exposing to the air. The “air gap” is essential because it is where the plants respire. Due to this mechanism there is no electricity used as well as no pumps and wick needed. This makes the system very cheap and easy to maintain.

The Bottleponic-System

The Bottleponics-System is a form of vertical farming, where plants are grown in recycled plastic bottles which hang above each other. A few bottles are connected via small holes to allow water to run from the top to the bottom bottle. Many bottle towers of such kind are hung next to each other and connected to an upper and lower pipe. The pipes supply the bottle towers with water from the reservoir which is placed next to the system. As this is a circulating system, the circulation of water is maintained by means of a pump or by hand with buckets. Small windows are cut into the bottles to allow sunlight and oxygen to reach the plants and enhance their growth.

Harvested plants can be sold on local markets

Night market near Tagbligbo

  • The finished System

  • Construction of a roof in order to protect the systems from heavy rain and extensive sunlight

Construction of a Kratky System in Togo

Alina and Paul from Team Effishent have been to Togo for 2 weeks to set up six Hydroponic Systems using the Kratky Method.

In the slide below you can see the single steps from the construction of a roof to the presentation to the local farmers.