The Latest in Urban Farming: This Smart Microgarden is Soil-Free and Resource-Savvy

Fagjun | Published 2017-08-03 16:25

Image by SproutsIO


Urban farming is now easier and more high-tech with a smart garden that you can control with a phone app.


This innovative spin at farming in cities has a surprising twist: it doesn't need soil. How, you ask, can we grow plants without soil?


Before that, let's look at the technology itself. This microgarden, which will soon be commercially released, uses no soil and only 2% of the water and 40% of the resources usually necessary for growing plants. The company, SproutsIO, is currently producing more of these microgardens, which will hit shelves sometime within the next few months.


Jennifer Broutin Farah, SproutsIO CEO, aims to help people grow their own food and, ideally, lessen food waste. "[W]hen you grow your own food, you care more about what happens to it. You're not going to throw it away,” says Farah. Indeed, there's something about growing your own food that makes you appreciate it more.


An Urban Garden Revolution

Image by SproutsIO


Urban farming, however, doesn't come easy to some. Some of us just don't have green thumbs, while some of us straight up have black thumbs that make everything they touch wither and die. SproutsIO, however, might be able to help the gardening-challenged.


The SproutsIO planter system is made up of a large basin and an adjustable overhead lamp. You use a “sIO” seed refill and drop into the growing device with seeds, nutrients, and growing media. You can then monitor your plants using the mobile app, with which you can check on the plants' growth and control the microgarden system.


Upon release, you'll be able to use SproutsIO to grow plants like basil, peppers, tomatoes, arugula, tea, eggplant, kale, and wheatgrass. That's already quite the selection, but you can also plant some root vegetables and fruit plants.


That, of course, is not all. We can control the way fruits and vegetable taste by tweaking the environment they're growing in. This is the same principle that guides winemakers in growing grapes in certain conditions to get wines that taste a certain way. The mobile app doesn't just make growing plants easier. It can also make it possible for us to make the plants taste the way we want them to taste.


Making Urban Farming More Doable

Image by SproutsIO


This may seem like people will become more detached from the natural process of growing plants. After all, what connects you to your crops more than actually getting dirt under your fingernails? Farah says that SproutsIO actually involves people more in growing their own food. The app makes it easier to track the plants' growth, which increases the chances of successfully growing the plants.


Think of having a SproutsIO planter in your apartment. It's less messy since you won't be using soil, and it'll be easier for you to see how well your plants are doing. You can use the available plants in a variety of dishes, and you'll be picking your ingredients right off the stem, fresh as can be. Urban farming can be much easier and more resource-efficient with just a simple planter and a mobile app.

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