Lettuce Evolve offers aquaponic planters for gardening in small spaces

A container garden is a great way to grow your own food in a small space, and there are many creative ways you can go about creating them. A Dallas-based company, Lettuce Evolve, has created a system that can be used as a modular container garden or for aquaponic growing.

John Murphy of Lettuce Evolve told TreeHugger that the company has developed the design over the course of the past four years.

© Lettuce Evolve

The base of the planter can serve as a 50-gallon tank that holds small fish. In an aquaponic system, the fish’s water and waste are pumped up to the planter, where they fertilize the plants. In the process, the water is cleaned as it moves through the soil and cycles back to the tank. The system also includes an aeration bar, which creates more dissolved oxygen for the fish.

The system could also be used hydroponically, or in other words, without the fish. “This is where the reservoir tank is filled with a liquid nutrient solution as opposed to being provided natively within the system from the fish,” said Murphy. “These nutrient solutions can be purchased at garden and hydroponic stores.”

© Lettuce Evolve

The unit stands 58 inches tall, with the base measuring 34.5 by 24 inches. The modular boxes could also be removed from the base entirely (although Lettuce Evolve doesn’t currently sell them separately), and stacked to the desired height. They’re made from food-grade HDPE plastic, like the kind of plastic cutting boards are made from, and are manufactured in Lake Dallas, Texas.

The units sell for $2,000 for the bare system, or for $2,500 for a system plus potting medium, pH tests and adjustment solutions, fish food and other items.

The system can be used to grow a pretty wide range of edible plants. “Throughout all of our testing, we have grown tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, herbs, and lettuces,” said Murphy. “We have even grown corn and watermelon!”

Looking for something more DIY? Check out this solar-powered aquaponic setup for apartments.

Tags: Gardening | Small Spaces

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