Custom Vertical Hydroponics

Created to maximize productivity & visual interest, HortLED designed and custom fabricated this 18' long x 7' tall x 2' wide system specifically for GrowNYC's Project Farmhouse's event space.


Design Concept + Aesthetic

Dynamic form factors are the most basic building blocks of all of our systems. Every aspect of this build is scalable: lights, growing channels, and racks can all be manufactured to meet most common grow space sizes. By designing and manufacturing LEDs ourselves, we free ourselves from system constraints that others may face when trying to source lighting. 

Urban agriculture has created a unique opportunity for consumers to consider the impact of their food on their bodies and the surrounding environment.  Through new technology and repurposed manufacturing spaces, food can truly become "local" in dense urban environments.  HortLED's goal in creating this vertical system was to embed productive hydroponic techniques within an aesthetic sculpture, giving the consumer a stimulating up-close view of local food production.

 Project Farmhouse's vertical system - designed by HortLED 

Project Farmhouse's vertical system - designed by HortLED 



This vertical system combines two types of hydroponic irrigation techniques.  The left rack features shallow water culture trays with floating foam rafts, which is perfect for leafy greens and supporting larger crops.  The system's right side uses Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) channels primarily used for basil and other herbs.  The system is driven using a single pump line: Water starts at the top NFT channel and drains across both sides of the system, eventually returning to the bottom left shallow water culture tray.  This beautifully simple design results in easy maintenance and lower energy costs.  

An important consideration in vertical farming is energy impact when compared to conventional (outdoor) farms.  While indoor hydroponic systems use significantly less water, and can be designed to economize space, they are also reliant on pumps and lighting, which can use considerable electricity.  To address these concerns, HortLED designed the vertical system to use energy efficient LED lights, and rely on a single pump and gravity to circulate the water.  The result is a system that encourages engagement in local food production and promotes sustainable system design.   


 Vtube close up

Vtube close up

HortLED's "VTube Light Strips" 

We used custom made "Vtube" T8 replacement lights to drive the photosynthesis for this vertical system.  We firmly believe that success with indoor growing starts with properly specified lighting. VTubes are our favorite lighting fixture for vertical farm systems - they're inexpensive, are easy to mount and wire, and they can be made to any custom length. 

 Alex Bodell @ Project Farmhouse's opening

Alex Bodell @ Project Farmhouse's opening

Custom Systems

We love the challenge and excitement of developing custom vertical systems for unique spaces.  Our production shop located in Ithaca, NY allows for an extremely fast product development cycle - we went from concept to completed Project Farmhouse system in 7 days!