2016 was one hell of a year so far for Tom Blount, systems designer and grower at Desert Greens H2O.
In May 2016, Blount’s flagship hydroponic greenhouse, located in Nevada, became fully operational. It was a proud moment for him, as he spent more than 10 years perfecting the system—a hydroponic grow system with a unique height and pitch design that exponentially reduces the carbon footprint of any traditional soil-grow or existing hydroponic application.
“Our proprietary systems help us focus on the ever-changing needs of the plants to ensure maximum growth, using a fraction of the space and water, to consistently produce exponentially larger greenhouse yields with unparalleled flavor profiles and nutritional value,” he says. “Our next-generation greenhouse is sustainable and can revolutionize the way food is grown.”
Before discovering hydroponics, Blount owned a small restaurant on Kauai.
“The cost of the produce was a bottom line killer,” he recalls. This was 1988. “Back then, lettuce there cost $45 to $60, compared to $8 to $12 per case in the rest of the US. And half of it was rotted by arrival. I had a friend who grew hydroponic lettuce, so I asked her to show me how to do it. I ended up growing for the restaurant. Hydro, I thought, was a way to the future, and I enjoyed growing and working with plants.”
Many years later, Desert Greens H2O was born.
Desert Greens H2O’s vertical grow units produce four to six times the crop yield of current standard hydroponic greenhouses. “Our grow units allow for the utilization of the entire length, width and height of the greenhouse, which exponentially increases both crop size and harvestable plant material,” explains Tom.
“As an example, in 2,160 square feet, we can fit 25,630 grow spaces, and in our standard 60x72-foot greenhouse systems application, we offer 40,000-plus grow sites.”
Compared to traditional farming, the increased yield is staggering, Tom adds, citing that, according to North Carolina State University, one acre of land is required to produce 26,000 heads of small lettuce per full harvest in soil.
Its unique set-up isn’t the only thing boosting Desert Greens H2o’s position in the growing market—the company is also able to grow year-round.
“Traditional grows are limited by seasonal conditions, which allow for a maximum of two to three harvests per year, whereas we have the ability to grow year-round with 12 harvests per year,” explains Blount.
Another advantage they have going for them is water conservation.
“Desert Greens H2o utilizes a closed-loop system which expresses more than 90 per cent in water savings over traditional soil grows,” Blount says.
All that being said, Desert Greens is in more than just the leafy greens business. They are set to both license or sell their systems to other companies.
“Our next-generation grow systems are replicable for commercial applications, ensuring that a better-tasting, nutrient-laden product can be grown consistently in a large area. We are a hydroponic and aeroponic grow systems company that would like to help farmers reach pinnacle levels of crop yield. As such, we are pleased to not just manufacture our systems for re-sale, but we are here to install and train operational staff on our proprietary systems.”
For anyone considering maximizing their yields with A frames within greenhouses, Desert Greens H2O are your guys, no matter your current structure.
“We can retrofit any existing greenhouse structure. We offer three different management packages and offer live-time monitoring of the greenhouse, combined with daily greenhouse climate and water conditions,” shares Blount.
In addition, Desert Greens has also developed a proprietary nutrient blend, created with pharmaceutical-grade ingredients, to help growers get off to the right start.
Starting without a structure? Desert Greens can also help with that. “We have a strategic alliance with Atlas Greenhouse, whom we recommend for the product quality, strength of structure and ability to customize their greenhouse sizes,” says Blount.
“We have found that in the Southern Nevada climate the most efficient size greenhouse is 60x72 feet. We have three systems, all of which may be either downsized or up-scaled depending on the grow application. Owners can choose from the Oxygen-Infused A-Frame System (OIAF), the Over Head Vining System (OHV) or the Large Plant System (LP).”
So what’s coming up next for this innovative company? Desert Greens H2O is collaborating with the University of Nevada in an effort to obtain white papers confirming water savings, carbon footprint, square foot crop production numbers and increased nutrient values.
Blount says his primary goal is to have every plant in his systems reach 100 per cent of their DNA capacity, with minimal impact on the environment.
Desert Greens H2O offers three hydroponic systems, all of which may be either downsized or up-scaled depending on the application:
- The Oxygen-Infused A-Frame System is a combination hydroponic and aeroponic unit, 60 feet in length and standing seven feet erect. The unit houses 4,050 sites. The system’s unique height and pitch design, coupled with a next-generation oxygen infusion system, allows for an exponential increase in useable, crop square footage.
- The Over Head Vining System is a unique overhead grow system designed to utilize the uppermost vertical space of a greenhouse. Vining plants thrive, and harvest techniques become more efficient. This system is custom designed for each specific application, and compliments the OIAF system, leading to increased productivity and other multi-crop benefits.
- The Large Plant System is a combination hydroponic and aeroponic unit. It is 64 feet long and stands two feet high with a flat grow surface. The unit can be two, three or four feet wide, and shorter lengths are available. The LP system houses large plants, such as tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.
Tom Blount discusses the key elements that make up his unique grow systems:
- “Our proprietary water delivery system combines the exact amount of fresh oxygen, water and nutrients to each plant, ensuring the plant has the resources to actualize 100 per cent of its DNA potential. Our oxygenated, nutrient water is directly administered to the root system via a proprietary process that produces intake molecules for the plant that range from three to five microns in size, and allow for maximum penetration, uptake and assimilation of nutrients throughout the plant.”
- Our water filtration system eliminates all bacteria, while maintaining all of the vital minerals. The filtered, positively charged water carries the nutrients far more efficiently to the plants than standard hydroponic farming. Another benefit of the elimination of harmful water elements is a cleaner product, with less risk of crop contamination or failure.”
- Our nutrient line consists of four primary mixes that target maximizing each stage of plant growth. Each of the primary recipes contain formula variances to allow for the differing needs of a multitude of crops. Part of our individualized approach to growing also includes varying lengths of active nutrient delivery time for the ever-changing needs of the specific species.”
- Our proprietary design system uses separate reservoirs for varying crops. The number of reservoirs is determined by the crops chosen. The entire greenhouse is created to house a multi-crop grow as opposed to a mono-crop grow. Our reservoir model allows us flexibility and the capacity to isolate, monitor and maintain crops, while increasing plant yield.
- Our plant placement design, which houses canopy plants throughout the greenhouse, utilizes traditionally unused space that current hydroponic greenhouses are not employing. The canopy plants create shade for crops that enjoy less light, and they also influence temperature variances. Our grow setting provides the optimal parameters for maximum yield in a multi-crop greenhouse.
Images courtesy of Infinite Imaging.