Automated undercounter garden promises zero-mile micro-greens and herbs

Grow fresh greens & herbs year-round in your kitchen with the dishwasher-sized Urban Cultivator, a computer-controlled micro-garden.

In order to get the freshest greens and herbs possible, all year long, an indoor garden or an outdoor greenhouse is necessary in most regions. While building a climate-controlled greenhouse in your yard isn't for everyone, setting up an indoor garden is one possible route to growing some zero-mile food at home.

It's completely possible, and fairly easy, to build your own growing space indoors, either using a hydroponic system or a soil-based system, and there are plenty of DIY plans on the web to get you started. But if sourcing and putting together all of the components by yourself isn't your cup of tea, or if you're looking for something a bit more aesthetically pleasing, then this fully automated indoor growing system might be more appropriate, assuming it fits into your budget.

The Urban Cultivator units are fully-enclosed automated growing systems, available in either a home-sized version (about the same size as an undercounter dishwasher or fridge) or the commercial version (similar in size to an upright commercial freezer), which can be used to sprout and grow greens, herbs, or other vegetables with only minimal maintenance. The units are said to maintain optimal plant-growing conditions inside themselves by controlling the lighting, watering, and ventilation, allowing you to "grow what you want, when you want."

For the residential version, the Urban Cultivators can be used either as a standalone unit with a butcher block top, or as an undercounter unit that is easily hooked up to water and power in the same way that a dishwasher is, and customers have a choice of several kinds of glass door for the front, or for a completely hidden installation, with a cabinet door on the front that matches the rest of the kitchen.

© Urban CultivatorThe biggest drawback to the residential Urban Cultivator seems to be the price tag, which is about $2500, but for homes that have the latest and greatest appliances already, the price for this little grow cabinet isn't really out of line, and a monthly lease option may take the sting out of the cost. Martha Stewart is a fan of the both the Commercial Urban Cultivator and the residential version, so it must be a kitchen must-have, right?

The commercial version, which is in use at a number of restaurants, is said to cost about $8800, but according to Co.Exist, the founder of the company, Tarren Wolfe, says that restaurants could save up to $1500 per month with the unit.

Find out more at Urban Cultivator.

Tags: Gadgets | Gardening

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