The best option for Growing Wasabi
For most indoor horticulturalists, producing Wasabi in their indoor facility is little more than
a novelty. They do it more for the uniqueness than the practicality of producing their own
indoor Wasabi. Generally speaking, it is less expensive to purchase Wasabi products at a grocery store than produce the equivalent product in an indoor growing facility. The problem here is that nearly all wasabi available in the stores is fake, without the flavour and health benefits of Wasabi (Wasabia japonica).
However, combine recent advancements in technology with the potential 80% increase in
the cost of Wasabi over the next ten years, and the practicality of indoor Wasabi production
is becoming a viable alternative. The advantages of indoor Wasabi production go beyond
just financial incentives.
Producing Wasabi indoors adds a heightened sense of security for the end user because it
gives the Wasabi grower control over every variable in the production of his or her Wasabi.
With genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on the rise and the ever expanding
questionable practices amongst our "wasabi" providers, growing indoor Wasabi becomes a
decision based on one’s morals as much as one’s finances.
Benefits of Growing Wasabi indoors
Growing Wasabi outdoors there are a number of items that are outside the control of the Wasabi grower. You are stuck with the actual environment that you have selected to grow Wasabi with its own inbuilt problems, some of which are investigated below.
Since the vast majority of Wasabi products are still grown outdoors, weather directly affects
the production of Wasabi and, therefore, supply and cost. Floods, droughts, shortened
growing seasons and disruptive natural events all affect crop productivity and the cost for
As our fuel, energy and labor costs continue to rise, so does the overall cost of food
production. Most Wasabi travels fairly long distances before reaching the end consumer.
The longer the distance traveled, the more it costs to ship the product. This results in an
increase in the price of Wasabi that is directly related to the increase in fuel costs, and this
increased cost is passed on to the end consumer.
Supply and demand
Besides weather and production costs (both of which affect supply), one of the largest
contributing factors to the increase in Wasabi costs is the increase in demand. Nations with
booming populations have developed a hunger for Japanese and Asian style foods. This
increase in demand pushes up the price of Wasabi worldwide, especially when the supply of
this particular product has not increased significantly in the past 20 years.
As a nation’s currency value inflates or depreciates, the cost of Wasabi is relatively affected.
An increase in the cost of Wasabi occurs when a nation’s average income does not increase
at the same rate as the inflation of the currency.
Questionable Wasabi production practices
Nearly all "wasabi" products currently on the world market consist of a mixture of European
horseradish grown in the ground, and Mustard which is also grown in the ground and is
most likely of GMO origin, and colouring of some sort. This colouring can be FDA
approved or not. There is evidence that shows even these FDA approved colourants are in
fact cancer forming and detrimental to your health.
There is also a growing concern regarding the safety and stability of the GMO products that
are already in our food industry. While the farmers and government officials sort out the
mess, we consumers are left in a state of suspended isolation, not knowing for certain if the
foods we eat are 100% safe or even 100% food.
Wasabi plants are intricate beings whose cultivation requires a multifaceted approach.
Lighting, ventilation, atmospheric control, hydroponic systems and nutrient chemistry are all
contributing factors to the success of an indoor garden, and each one is a science in its own
right. In the last ten years, all of these factors have undergone major technological
advancements that, individually, can boost the efficiency of an indoor garden. Collectively,
these advancements are giving an increased justification to indoor home food production.
There have been much recent advancement in the efficiency of lighting. For HID lighting,
digital ballasts combined with specifically designed HID bulbs have boosted light output
while heightening energy efficiency. In some cases, energy efficiency has increased by up to
15%. Other new lighting technologies like LEDs, induction fluorescents and plasma fixtures
are providing even more energy-efficient options to the consumer. Some of these new
technologies are able to increase efficiency up to 40% compared to standard lighting
fixtures. Each lighting technology advancement that reduces energy consumption brings the
overall cost of production down and the practicality of indoor Wasabi production up.
This is especially true with Wasabi which requires a cool environment to develop properly.
The use of HID lighting produces a large amount of heat which must be removed before ot
can damage the Wasabi plants. The new LED lighting systems provide the light spectrum
required by the Wasabi without the heat component.
Ventilation and atmospheric control
There has been much advancement in ventilation and atmospheric control that directly
affect the cost of production in an indoor Wasabi growing facility. Air and water-cooled
reflectors, high-efficiency fans, and mini-split high-efficiency air conditioning units have all
played a role in reducing energy consumption in such a facility.
Automated atmospheric controllers offer an even more efficient option for the indoor
horticulturalist. There has also been an increase in knowledge surrounding plant physiology,
specifically in regard to supplementing CO2. State-of-the-art ventilation and atmospheric
equipment, teamed with the advanced knowledge of CO2 supplementation, has streamlined
this particular aspect of indoor horticulture and significantly increased efficiency and
reduced the cost of production.
Advancements in existing hydroponic systems, combined with innovative, newly developed
systems, have played a large role in increasing production within an indoor Wasabi growing
Aeroponic, aquaponic, fog-type and current-culture systems have all been recently
researched for the Wasabi hydroponic gardener and all have the potential to boost indoor
Wasabi production. High-performance hydroponic systems reduce water waste, lower
energy consumption and maximize nutrient uptake. All of this equates to faster growth and
larger yields while maintaining energy efficiency.
Just as our technological advancements in the equipment used to grow the Wasabi plants
have played a role in increasing efficiency, so has our increased knowledge and innovative
methods in regard to nutrient chemistry. Our understanding of plant physiology is in a
constant state of evolution and as we gain more knowledge of chemical compounds and
how they affect plant functions, our nutrient regiments become more beneficial.
Thirty years ago, we thought N-P-K was all that was necessary for plant growth. Now we
have discovered over 15 essential elements, multiple beneficial elements and an array of
enzymes, hormones, vitamins and amino acids that all affect the growth of plants. As our
nutrient regiments become more fine-tuned for particular crops and their specific stages of
growth, we increase the effectiveness of our feeding programs and reduce cost of
Another pivotal factor pertaining to the practicality of indoor food production is the access
to information. Just a few years ago, it was very difficult for growers to find information on
lighting, ventilation, DIY hydroponic equipment, etc. Now, the increasing number of indoor
horticultural reference books and magazines, along with the Internet, makes information
readily accessible for everyone. Even so, care must be taken in accepting Wasabi growing
information found on the Internet as being correct and useful.
This increase in accessible information plays as vital a role in maximizing efficiency in an
indoor Wasabi growing facility as the technological advancements in growing equipment.
Our technologies in indoor horticulture are advancing as fast as the plants that are being
grown, and as efficiency increases, the cost to produce quality Wasabi products decreases.
If you want to set up an indoor Wasabi growing facility, then you should contact the experts in this field, who have been growing Wasabi commercially since 1990 in many different
parts of the world. From the Arctic to the Southern parts of New Zealand, including the tropics, they have the knowledge to help you become a successful commercial indoor Wasabi grower.
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