The MicroGreen Grower (aka the "GreenMachine") Would you love to have a continuous supply of fresh organic greens for your sandwiches and salads? Do you you want fast and dependable results at a super low cost?
We've played with many of the indoor gardening products, and they just didn't work very well. Some look pretty cool, but take a lot of fiddling with to setup. Some need pumps and power, and have reservoirs and tubing that breed unsighly algae.
And at around $200 for just 4 little growing cups - they just didn't seem like a great value...
We took a different approach - we wanted to develop an indoor gardening product that grows a Big Bunch of organic veggies - and it has to be Fast, Fresh, Affordable, and not require DIRT!
Microgreens turned out to be the perfect solution. With lots of tasty varieties like arugula, buckwheat, amaranth, and basil - and a 7-10 day growing cycle - there's something for everyone...
We live in a condo and space is really at a
premium, so we decided to grow
up - and utilize the natural light from our windows...
We tried dozens of different designs culminating in the MicroGreen Grower - a
vertical window gardening system for Microgreens.
The MicroGreen Grower has a very simple design, but that's what
makes it work so well, reliably, and cost-effectively. It consists of growing trays that ride in little slings we call "Sliders"
which move up and down a pair of Suspenders"
The trays are made in the USA from white styrene which is durable, reusable, and recyclable. Inside the tray your greens grow on a perforated platform that allows excess water to pass through into the reservoir below (note: this is a photo of a real prototype tray; not a render).
We didn't want the mess that comes along with dirt, and we found that we could eliminate it by
growing on unbleached paper towels. Sounds strange but works great!
A bit of the towel is
folded over the edge of the perforated base so it hangs into the reservoir. That way it continuously wicks
water up to your microgreens, making it self-watering too...
The reservoir holds enough water to last for a few days - so you only need to water your greens a
couple times during their entire growing cycle.
You can usually start harvesting in 7-10 days - a few at a time, or by the tray full. Plant a new tray every few days and you can have a continuous supply of nutritious and zesty microgreens!
After harvesting, you simply roll up the paper towel and drop it in your
compost bin - fast, easy, no mess! Trays can be quickly washed and replanted right away...
FAQ Q: Do we need lights or strong sunlight? A: We're in cloudy seattle and have very low light in our windows - the microgreens we've
tested have all done very well without supplemental light. Some varieties will probably like more light and so we designed the tray to accommodate the inexpensive water-proof LED light bars - we anticipate
selling these at windowfarmers.com, or at least providing information about where you can buy them.
Q: Are you going to sell additional trays to expand my system? A: We sure are - when the project funds we'll offer them at windowfarmers.com along with extra seeds
Q: How strong is the hanging system? A: It's very strong; we're using reinforced dacron cordage rated at 50 pounds for the suspenders, and
20 pounds for the sliders
A tray with fully grown microgreens and water is only about 1 pound so it will hold a lot of them
Q: How do you hang the system? A: We provide a nice brushed metal wall mount as one option, but you need to use your judgement based on your inspection of the wall where it will be mounted.
Q: Why are we kickstarting this project? A: It's easy to fall in love with our own creations so we want to assess interest in the concept, and obtain enough pre-orders to justify the investment in the molds and tooling needed to produce a quality product. And, to meet our aggressive price target, we need to take advantage of quantity component pricing.
Q. What's your plan and timing? A: We're design complete, and running our Kickstarter campaign for approximately 3 weeks; We've identified our component suppliers and our California-based tray vendor is ready to jump
on our order. We anticipate being able to ship the first 25 or so systems in time for the holidays. But there is some risk in this timetable as discussed below. If you really, really, really, need it for the holidays let us know and we'll prioritize. That said - it's more important to get it "right" than just "fast" - so we hope you'll understand.
Risks and challenges
We're product designers and developers in our day jobs, so we know what it takes to deliver.
We've lived with this product through many iterations, and settled on a proven and production-ready design. Our garages are chock-full of prototypes, and so we've already made a lot of the mistakes that can crop up ;-)
We have identified qualified vendors and budgeted for custom parts and components as well as labor, packaging, and shipping costs.
Of course we're getting close to the year-end and so if another customer goes to our vendor with a big order, it might delay shipment of our parts.
Also, if our campaign succeeds beyond our wildest dreams - we won't be able to ship every order in time for the holidays.
We'll of course be monitoring our campaign daily and, if it looks like we're going to fund, we'll move ahead with some component ordering in advance of the need.