Growing some of your own food is an admirable goal, and one that is also fraught with challenges, from finding the space to plant and the time to maintain a garden, to gaining the skills necessary to go from seed to fruit. But one startup is working toward making some of those challenges easier to overcome, by building an easier, more accessible way to bring automation and optimization to hydroponic growing.
Growing hydroponically has the potential to be both more efficient and more productive than traditional soil-based gardening, and it can fit right in to the urban lifestyle, but it can also seem quite mysterious to those of us who are used to just planting our seeds in the ground and letting nature take care of the delivering the nutrients to the plants.
However, if Sustainable Microfarms (SMF) has anything to do with it, future hydroponics systems could be a whole lot simpler, thanks to their automated growing solutions.
"We are focused on creating a de-centralized urban culture by developing and using new technology for residential and industrial purpose self-sustaining gardens." - SMF
At the heart of the SMF system is their Genesis Dosing Controller, which is the control center for a hydroponics system, capable of monitoring the plants and ensuring they are getting the optimum levels of water and nutrients throughout their growing cycle. The Genesis unit constantly measures the pH, temperature, and electrical conductivity of the growing medium, and uses that data to determine the best times and rates for feeding the plants for healthy growth.
The SMF system then uses their Numbers Pumpbox, which controls and delivers up to four different nutrient or pH blends to the hydroponics system using "complex feed algorithms and recipes", enabling an easier and more precise method of feeding the plants.
According to their press release, SMF will be launching a Kickstarter campaign, but as of today there was no additional information about when that will actually begin. More info can be found on their website, and those interested in the products can sign up to be notified when they will be available for pre-order.