Okay, so it's not a real "vertical farm". Think of it as an embryonic vertical farm. We need to start some where other than the outdated clay pots and saucers inside many of our homes and offices. They were only modern in the time of the ancients.
This is one of the Inside Plants Science Mini-Labs that is now in my Brooklyn apartment. This is what should be (but isn't) in the science lab of every school in America. If it were, we would be a lot further along in science education. We would be a lot further along a path to more local food production. As it is, due to a lack of up-to-date information most of us are still crawling in a horticultural kindergarten.
What you’re looking at is an investment of under $100 for a 4’x6’ InterMetro style rolling rack (Costco) with 1” increment adjustable shelves. It currently has two shop lights with room for more. This one is chrome but you can find them in black and white powder coat finishes.
Do I hear objections to fluorescent lighting? If so, put the garden in your office, a spare room or a bedroom if it bothers you to have it in your living area. With a timer, it can come on at night when you’re asleep. Use a little creativity. The result will be well worth it.
I’ve gotten very used to this garden and would miss its presence. It provides a cheery view when the weather outside is winter bleak. I lived with ten of these racks in my home back in San Diego. They soon will be rolling into some Brooklyn school rooms helping to teach modern plant science.
Commercial light gardens of this type cost much more. Those from Gardener’s Supply and the National Gardening Association will likely cost you over $700 delivered. Neither of them does any more than what you see above. Incidentally, note that there are no drainage trays, saucers or catch pans. None are needed when using sub-irrigation.
The small Ficus trees growing in expanded clay pebbles were rescued from temporary storage in the middle school science lab. The recycled pop bottle planters and propagators produced the results you see here and here.