Round & Round: OGarden Orbits Plants Around the Light to Grow 80 at a Time

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©. OGarden

This indoor grow unit claims to enable users to harvest up to 2 to 4 vegetables daily, year-round, with just 5 minutes of maintenance per day.

When it comes to growing produce indoors at home, there are quite a few readymade hardware options and configurations on the market already, ranging from the uber-simple Urban Leaf to the high-tech FarmBot and 'farm in a box' setups. This latest entry into the indoor grow unit is somewhere in the middle, being small enough to fit into a corner of a room, yet automated enough to grow some 80 plants at once with minimal maintenance. And as a plus, the plants spend a bit of time upside down as well.

OGarden is like a Ferris wheel for veggies, with a 125W CFL grow light at the center and the plant tubes rotating slowly around it, while the watering is all taken care of automatically, and there's even a space for sprouting seeds and growing seedlings to get the unit started and keep it full. Originally launched as a Kickstarter project in October of 2016, the team garnered some €80,808 (~US$92,787) from backers to bring the idea to the market. The company has now made the OGarden 2.0 available to order online, as well as the other materials (seeds, peat pellets, fertilizer, etc.) necessary to keep the unit producing a constant harvest of fresh produce.

Here's the video pitch:

There are 20 plant tubes mounted on the wheel, each with space for 4 plant pots, so a full unit will have up to 80 plants growing at a time, with the aim being to produce a near-constant harvest of greens, herbs, and veggies, about "2 to 4 vegetables a day, for just 5 min. of maintenance per day." The seeds are initially sprouted in peat pellets in the cabinet below the wheel, and then are transplanted to the plant tubes when they are a few weeks old, where they grow until harvest. The watering and lighting schedule are automated, and fertilization is done through the watering system.

OGarden grow unit

© OGarden

"People in this working world are unable to spare the time and money required to purchase healthier food options. This is where the OGarden comes into play. The OGarden is the all-in-one solution to growing healthy and organic foods affordably. For a fraction of the cost of buying leafy vegetables, it will now be possible to harvest your own salads and herbs, grown with organic substances, on a certified organic device, directly at home, year round, and for only 20 cents per vegetable." - OGarden

The OGarden uses a 125W CFL bulb for the light source, which has a useful life of about two years or so, after which a replacement will be needed, and the unit as a whole draws about 160W when both lights (main and seedling) are on. The unit measures 35.5" wide by 59.8" high by 16.5" deep (90 cm x 152 cm x 42 cm), and weighs 75 pounds (35 kg) empty, and up to 240+ pounds (110 kg) when completely full.

From appearances, and the variety of seed sold for use in the OGarden, this unit is suited for quick-growing and short-statured varieties of veggies (30 to 40 days to harvest), and not full-sized garden vegetables, but it could be an effective method of producing a continuous stream of fresh greens at home. Although the company sells the peat pellets, the growing substrate (soil, coconut fiber, mycorrhiza), the Quebec-made seaweed fertilizer, and replacement light bulbs, those supplies can be sourced elsewhere if desired.

The OGarden costs $1,397, which includes the accessories needed to operate it, and a big starter pack of seeds, peat pellets, fertilizer, and growing substrate. According to the company, with this unit, "your vegetables will be 10 times cheaper than in grocery stores," and it could save users "up to €150 a month" (~$172). More info is available at the website.