Growing your own organic veggies when you live in an apartment is merely a dream for many, and one that is difficult to realize even if you have a balcony. Enter The Grove—a growing station small enough to fit into any home, yet large enough to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables. The design is reminiscent of a bookshelf, while the whole system is fully automated.
The Grove features three different layers on which the produce can be grown. The main growing area is located on the top “shelf” and it can be used to grow all sorts of produce, such as tomatoes, peppers, salad, strawberries, herbs, and so on. It measures 305 sq inches and has a depth of 8 inches, which offers plenty of space for the plants and roots. To provide the necessary lighting, the system is equipped with full spectrum, adjustable LED bulbs that are automated and set to very closely approximate sunlight. The middle “shelf” is smaller than the top one, and is intended to be used as a seedling bed, or to grow microgreens such as wheatgrass.
The bottom “shelf” is comprised of a 25-gallon fish tank, which provides both the fertilizer as well as the water for the garden. This is achieved by turning the fish waste and ammonia into nitrate for the plants, while the plants feed clean water back into the tank.
A smartphone and dedicated app is all that is needed to run the entire system. The owner decides which plants to grow, then chooses them on the app, which proceeds to adjust the settings of the system to optimize the growing conditions for these plants. The app also lets the owner know when it is time to harvest the plants, when fish need to be added to the tank, and so on, though most day-to-day tasks are performed automatically.
Using both the seedling bed as well the main growing station allows the owner to have an uninterrupted, year-round supply of vegetables. According to the developers of the system, the average yield is the equivalent of two to three bags of salad greens every week, or up to 10 heads of lettuce every three weeks, in addition to the fruits you decide to grow.
The developers are currently raising funds via a Kickstarter campaign to begin production. However, the system will not be cheap. Supporters of the Kickstarter can get it at a discounted price of $2,700, but the final selling price will be around $4,500.