Vertical vermiponics: research project combines worms with hydroponics

Ken Rinaldo
© Ken Rinaldo

The practices of hydroponics, aquaponics and windowfarming (which allows urban folks to grow food vertically using their home windows) and vermicomposting (creating compost with worms) have become familiar ideas to many green-minded people for some time now. But what about adding worms to the windowfarming equation? Professor Ken Rinaldo, director of the art and technology department at Ohio State University's School of Architecture, has combined aspects of these practices in an experimental research project called Cascading Gardens.

Seen over at Inhabitat, the project employs what is called vermiponics, where worm waste is used to fertilize veggies. We've seen a few examples of this previously, but it's intriguing to see an instance where the power of worm waste is directly integrated in such a way, resulting in a smaller growing footprint.

Ken Rinaldo© Ken Rinaldo
Suspended in specially-developed grow bags arranged in vertical rows, red wriggler worms are the crux of the system, adding rich nutrients to the process. As can be seen in this Russian TV news report, it appears that the grow bags are made out of felt, and the system can be used for indoors or out, and in wet or dry climates.

Besides its recent launch at Ohio State, a permanent version of Cascading Garden (with electronically-controlled irrigation) was recently installed at a sustainable agriculture conference in Pervouralsk, Russia. For more info, check out Ohio State University, or this DIY version (video below).

Vertical vermiponics: research project combines worms with hydroponics
Most of us are familiar are vermicomposting: this experimental project reaps the benefits of both hydroponics and using worm-produced nutrients.

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