If you'd like to get started growing some of your own food, but you don't have a lot of room or a lot of time, these wicking beds might help you quickly sprout a garden.
I've been jazzed to see quite a few new urban garden products and companies get launched recently, ranging from DIY and open source designs to the fully loaded plug-n-play indoor gardening systems, even though I'm not the target market for them. I have plenty of room in my large outdoor garden, a long growing season, and the time to care for everything, so a fully automated gardening system just isn't my cup of compost tea.
However, I still love the ideas and designs for urban and indoor gardening that are hitting the market right now, and part of that is because I think we should all be able to grow (or hunt or gather) at least some of our food, and these products can help make that happen for more people. The other part is that almost every week, some high-tech gizmo gets released that shows us that we're living in the future, at least when it comes to materials, design, and production capabilities, and I love to see some of that ingenuity applied to growing food, no matter if it's a better iteration of an old design or a whole new concept.
One new urban gardening product that recently caught my eye is the Noocity GrowBed, which is basically a modular wicking bed, except that it's made from lightweight materials (not old pallets), it can be flat-packed for shipping, requires no tools for assembly, and it's designed to be able to be joined with other units to get the most growing area in a limited space.
Because a wicking bed is self-watering, these garden beds can maintain optimal moisture levels in the soil automatically and could go for up to 3 weeks without watering (although I've never met a gardener yet who can go more than a day without looking at their garden, so unless you leave town, that's a bit of a stretch).
Noocity is billing these as "the world's ultimate urban gardening system." I don't know about that, but if you can get past the superlatives, their design might be worth a closer look:
The Noocity Growbed also offers an option for a "self-fertilizing" bed, which appears to work like a keyhole garden with a worm composting tower for food scraps in the middle, but I'm a little more skeptical about that feature, just based on my own experiences with worm composting on a small scale - it can be done, but it's not nearly as simple as chucking in some veggie peels and forgetting about it. I'm not saying it won't work, because I've seen keyhole gardens with compost towers in them that do work, but those were all in the ground, not in a closed-loop system like the growbeds here are.
If you're still curious about what the Noocity GrowBeds might be able to do for you, check out their website, or if you're sold already, you can pledge €130 or more to the crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, and you'll get one of the first units sometime in May of this year.