A new kind of watering device promises to "grow more food in any climate, anywhere," whether used in gardens, farms, or containers.
When it comes to new garden and farming technology, I'm always a bit more skeptical of higher-tech and more complex devices, mostly because the more potential weak links there are in any given system, and the higher the price, the more likely they are to require additional money and troubleshooting down the road, and the more likely they are to be gathering dust instead of growing food.
That's not to say that I think all high-tech gardening innovations are to be avoided, as some systems may have the potential to really change the game, especially those that can produce higher yields in smaller spaces year-round, such as hydroponic or aquaponic shipping container farms in urban areas, but rather that sometimes, it's the small and simple things that can make a big difference, such as precision watering or improved plant and soil health.
One new product entering the garden market this year intends to make an impact on both the yields and the amount of water used to produce those yields, whether you're growing in containers, in a backyard garden, or on a small farm. Little Crop Circles is the name of the devices, and the inventor claims that by using them, it's possible to grow more food in less space with less water, especially when combined with a proprietary trellising system.
The product, which is currently in a crowdfunding phase with an Indiegogo campaign that seeks to raise $50,000 to cover the costs of tooling and manufacturing, is decidedly simple in nature, but could be an effective tool for saving time, boosting yields, and reducing water consumption in the garden. The Little Crop Circles essentially allows for more precision watering, and a more thorough soaking, for plant roots, without the inefficiencies or potentially harmful effects of overhead watering, while also allowing for denser plantings and higher yields.
According to the Little Crop Circles campaign page, "Instead of spraying water up it sprays a curtain of water down 360 degrees around the irrigator. From there it flows evenly to the outer edge of the Little Crop Circle™ to the plants. Water use is extremely efficient because it flows right to the top of each plant root - right where they need it and not everywhere else."
The claim is also made that a single 30-second burst of water per day from the Little Crop Circles is sufficient to grow "50 or more plants growing in the circle," which is said to be "just a fraction of the water needed for a small garden plot" using conventional irrigation. On the larger scale, the company promises that a single acre of crops planted with the larger Little Crop Circles devices can match the production of a 5-acre farm, which may allow small farmers to be more competitive and more profitable.
Having not tried this product for myself, I can't verify whether or not the Little Crop Circles devices actually perform better than other irrigation methods, and because plant growth rates and yields are highly variable due to different soil quality and weather conditions, as well as the skill and knowledge of the gardener, it's highly possible that some gardeners will see skyrocketing yields with this device, and others will still be struggling to produce enough veggies for a single salad. However, if you're looking for a way to make your container garden or backyard plot more productive, it may well be worth looking into, especially if your space is limited and your time is at a premium. Find out more at Little Crop Circles or Farm One Acre.