Olympic medals are not the only thing that come out of Vancouver, Canada; it is also a hotbed of hydroponic creativity. TreeHugger contributor Sami Grover has suggested that equipment developed for a “certain herbalist demographic” is very effective at growing food without soil, often indoors under artificial light. Much of that technology is now being transferred to more conventional produce.
One good example is the Omega Garden system, which rotates the plants around a bulb. They claim that it yields three to five times the weight of plant per watt of electricity used, compared to conventional flat systems. Their commercial carousel system produces as much as a 1500 square foot greenhouse in only 150 square feet, and their LED system just sips electricity.
These units can be ganged together to produce large quantities of food. As one commenter put it, Vancouver growers are “world leaders in improving efficiency to keep that indoor ‘tomato’ growing operation small and that power footprint to a minimum.”
At the other end of the scale is the AeroGrow, which Treehugger writer Collin Dunn called a “little something for burgeoning urban gardeners and those without green thumbs alike.” With it comes your ability to grow vegetables, greens, herbs and the like in your kitchen (or just about anywhere indoors) by suspending plant roots in the air, rather than in soil or water. The suspended plants derive their nutrients from the air, with the help of the “smart” lighting and nutrient-cycling that comes with the garden. The company claims accelerated growth and increased yields over hydroponics and traditional outdoor gardening.
There are also do-it-yourself solutions like the 11 Plant Hydro-Garden, built out of standard plumbing components. “The 11 plant hydro-garden is awfully simple: A tub to hold your nutrient solution, a bunch of pipes with pots to hold the plants, and a pump to get the nutrients where they need to go. Easily available PVC pipe, soda bottles, and a pond pump make this project only a hardware store away.”
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