It seems these days people are using the cloud for everything – even gardening! Brooklyn startup Bitponics takes hydroponic gardening to a more sophisticated level with its smart device and web site that let you manage your indoor farm right over the internet. Hydroponic systems offer a great way to grow some of your own food if you live in a cramped New York apartment, but for those new to growing plants, grasping all the details can be intimidating. Plus if you work long hours or travel a lot for work, there is always the risk that you could return home one evening to a dead batch of plants. Bitponics solves that issue by bringing urban gardening to the cloud so that you can control how much water and nutrients your herbs and tomatoes get even if you’re not at home.
Bitponics’ system has two main features that set it apart from other hydroponic gardens. First, a base station monitors your indoor patch of vegetables. Next, an online dashboard allows users to track your plants’ progress remotely. The base station collects readings from sensors placed throughout the garden and then logs the data to the dashboard. In the event that something goes awry and does not match the user’s personal gardening program, Bitponics will send an alert to the gardener, so he or she does not have to worry if clueless about how many hours of light the plants need, how to tweak the soil’s pH balance or clueless about the amount of additional nutrients and water are needed to keep that garden thriving.
Gardeners can also get their geek on by collaborating with other urban farmers. Not only can users upload and share pictures of their plants remotely, but can critique each other’s “Personalized Growing Plan.” The completely open source system also allows hackers and makers to channel their inner Farmer Joe or Jane. The company claims the network of hydroponics experts will only grow and in turn they will share more information and best practices, which in the end would make indoor gardening more appealing to many apartment dwellers. Bitponics is the best high-tech farming system since Farmville was the rage on Facebook a few years ago–only the flowers and crops its users grow are actually real, and can flourish with the help of new and knowledgable online friends.
Photographs courtesy Bitponics