News Home & Design Grow Vegetables 'Automagically' with HomeForest It's the simplest indoor vertical farm you'll ever see. By Katherine Martinko Katherine Martinko Twitter Senior Editor University of Toronto Katherine Martinko is an expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. Learn about our editorial process Updated May 27, 2021 06:23PM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process HomeForest installation. Mother Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive Do you ever wish that you could snap your fingers and have fresh vegetables ready to harvest at home? This fantasy of no-work gardening is impressively close to reality, thanks to the new HomeForest installation made by Belgium-based company Mother. HomeForest can be described as a "futuristic design tree" in which you plant seeds, watch them grow hydroponically, and then harvest at various stages of development. There are trays for sprouting and growing microgreens, as well as larger pots that allow plants to reach greater maturity. With the help of built-in plant lights, you can grow any type of plant, from basil and radish to arugula and peas. There are a few features that make HomeForest stand out. First and foremost is the ease of use. You only have to water it once per harvest when you fill the pots. Seeds are sprinkled onto the specially formulated MicroPod, the first-ever 3D structured grid that allows seeds to sprout without soil, hemp, or other growing mediums. After sprouting, the plants slide out easily and the MicroPod can be cleaned and reused endlessly. HomeForest is as beautiful as it is useful. Mother After a week, greens can be harvested from the MicroPod, but if you want to keep growing them, they must be transferred to a HydroPod pot. Here they can be eaten by week 4 as baby leaf versions or allowed to develop until week 8 as mature plants. Here's where you see the real cost savings: a pak choi costs less than 25 cents to grow from start to finish—far less than what you'd pay in a supermarket. The system is highly versatile. If you want to take a break from vegetables, you can put houseplants in the HydroPods. You can replant rooted plants (such as herbs bought at a grocery store) or take cuttings from a favorite plant and "plug them into a HydroPod." Repotting tall plants like peppers in outdoor pots after starting them in a HydroPod is also an option. Ann-Sofie Vandamme, the co-founder of Mother, explained, "HomeForest is designed to reach a public that is conscious about the food they consume but is not growing their own vegetables just yet. Often it is too labor-intensive, too difficult, or too expensive." Ann-Sofie Vandamme & Dries Bovijn, co-founders. Mother Mother was responsible for designing the MicroFarm, released in 2019 and covered here on Treehugger. While the MicroFarm is still available for purchase and attracts a different clientele, Vandamme described HomeForest to Treehugger as "a very improved version, a magical tree that allows you to harvest fresh produce inside, microgreens and full-grown crops." HomeForest's secret lies in its open frame that pulls energy from its surroundings, making use of a home's heat to germinate seeds. It proves that an effortless growing experience can actually be real. Mother describes it as "automagical," giving you more time to enjoy your plants, instead of tending to them. HomeForest can be purchased in several formats, including standalone, fixed-to-wall, or floating. Structures can be combined for a larger growing forest, if desired. The strong yet lightweight frame is built from 100% recycled anodized aluminum and contains no glue or paint. Learn more here.