The latest entry into the indoor "smart" garden market features advanced LED lighting which mimics natural light patterns for faster growth cycles.
The interest in local food (especially grow-it-yourself hyperlocal food tha zt can be produced in a small space), coupled with recent advancements in low-power LED lighting technology and automated hydroponic growing systems, has spurred a revival in the development of a variety of 'plug-and-play' indoor growing units, which can supply fresh greens and other produce without a whole lot of work.
We've covered a number of different indoor gardening units at TreeHugger, some of which are incredibly basic (microgreens in your windows), and some of which aremore like a major appliance, and this next unit, the CounterCrop, falls somewhere in between.
The CounterCrop, which is a side project from the founder of Intelligent Light Source ILS (which supplied the LED lighting to an indoor aeroponics system at MIT CityFARM), is designed to help you grow greens, vegetables, and herbs efficiently using commercial-grade LEDs and an automated hydroponics system, while only drawing about 65 watts of power.
With this self-contained smart garden, it's possible to grow continuous crops ofmicrogreens, herbs, and some vegetables, without any soil or sunlight, in as little as a few weeks, and the pre-programmed lighting and hydroponic system options allow users to easily adjust the unit to the optimal spectrum of light and watering schedule for each growth stage of the plants' lives.
According to ILS, brighter and more powerful lighting isn't the key to more efficient and vigorous indoor plant growth, but rather 'smart' lighting, which is where their focus is:
VIDEO- "Scientific advances have shown that the quality of the light and a balanced, optimized spectrum, are far more critical factors for indoor growing success. Ongoing research shows mimicking the changing spectrum that occurs in natural daylight - from dawn to dusk, at different periods in the growing cycle, at different places in the world -- has a greater impact on successful growth. Horticultural science has also proven that the optimal spectrum varies -- not only from species to species, but within a species at different stages in development."
To bring the CounterCrop to the market, Jack Abbott, the founder of ILS, is betting on crowdfunding, and the Kickstarter campaign for this indoor garden is offering the first of the units to backers at the $199 and up level (said to be a $379 retail value), which are slated for delivery in May 2015 (assuming the campaign is successful and production goes according to schedule).
Just a friendly crowdfunding reminder: I don't personally endorse crowdfunding campaigns that I cover, as I think readers can make up their own minds about whether or not they're worth it. I've been very happy with the campaigns I've chosen to back, and have always received my perks from successful campaigns (although sometimes later than scheduled). But backing a crowdfunding campaign can be risky, in the sense that you may never receive your perk, or it may not turn out to be what you expected, or it may be late, etc., so use your own judgement and always read the fine print.
It should be said that there is a difference between preparing for the collapse and live there after and just purchasing supplies as to insulate yourself from consequences of collapse. If you dont have a garden in your preps than i dont think you’re really prepping.
The survival podcast, one of the most popular prepper podcast has aquaponics system on all the time. Permaculture and prepping go really well together. That being said many preppers are just hoarders and will someday be desperate when their stockpiles run down.
Grow tiny gardens of nutritious micro-greens in your window with these kits
Even if you only have a window, you have room for the tiniest gardens ever: trays of micro veggie greens.
Not everyone has room for a garden, but you can still get fresh home-grown greens by growing your own sprouts and micro greens.
My family and I have been sprouting at home for many years now, as it used to be the only way we could grow fresh food in the very small space we lived in, especially during the winter. It’s generally much cheaper than buying sprouts from the store, and all it takes is space for a few jars in a cupboard or on the counter.
We also experimented with growing trays of micro greens with soil, most often using buckwheat and sunflowers, and these slightly older sprouts added quite a bit of flavor and crunch to our meals. One of the things about growing micro greens is that because they’re grown longer, they need sunlight to green up their leaves, so you need space for them in front of a window, which isn’t always practical (especially if you have pets or small children who will inevitably knock them over).
One solution for homegrown micro greens is a complete kit that just launched on Kickstarter, called MicroGreenz, which uses a “Veg-Ledge” to turn your window into a tiny garden space.
"MicroGreenz are veggie shoots grown from seed for 10 days in your window, clipped and eaten. These sassy little seedlings add a burst of intense flavors, vivid colors and crisp textures that transform any meal into a nutrient-packed gourmet experience."
Let your Food be your Medicine
The kits include the ledge, the dish, enough growing medium for four batches of greens, a spray bottle (for misting the greens), and enough seed mix for four crops. MicroGreenz offers three different creatively-named veggie seed mixes, the greens of which are said to “pack a potent punch of nutrients”:
Disco Inferno: Red Stem Radish, Green Stem Radish, Sango Radish
Purple Power: Red Russian Kale, Red Acre Cabbage, Purple Vienna Kohlrabi
Hippie Salad: Chrysanthemum Green, Mustard, Flowering Brassica
Growing food from kitchen waste