This project's funding goal was not reached on August 1, 2011.
About this project
Growing plants vertically is an economical way to produce a large quantity of food in a limited amount of space. These towers are designed for the hydroponic and aquaponic growers that want to grow plants such as strawberries or lettuce.
Lettuce seedlings in early prototype
Made from a UV protected ABS plastic, the towers will sustain years of use and direct sunlight. Since the upper container fits inside a lower container, the water will drip down without leaking out of the system (similar to stacking cups on top of each other). In the event that a section does become root bound, the water would drip over the edge, cling to the side, and get recaptured by the lower container.
Hand-formed prototype - Final product will NOT be lime green!
The modular design allows the product to be used by a home consumer where vertical space is limited above a nutrient reservoir. It can also be used in inside a greenhouse or hung from a support structure such as a porch roof. As the user’s system grows, additional containers or towers can be easily added.
When used for a larger commercial grower, the towers can be freestanding by using brackets to interconnect each unit, eliminating the need for costly overhead support structures or supporting poles.
Top view diagram of a tower array
Each section can be filled with Expanded Shale or Hydroton. This type of growing media can retain water and nutrients for extended periods of time. Water only needs to be applied for a short amount of time, approximately every hour during the day, reducing the cost of running a pumping system continuously.
Final prototype with 1st year strawberries
It has taken over three years to design and test a cost effective unit that is simple to install and maintain. The original design was a thinner, taller tower with a single pocket at each level. The towers were tall and was difficult to transplant plants, which sometimes became root bound. The second generation is a slightly wider tower that allows for 3 plants per level. The positioning of each pocket allows for high density planting, but also allows for a lot of space between each pocket to maximize airflow and light. This helps to reduce disease and pests by keeping the plants drier. Since each level can be exposed when a tower is dismantled, removal of old plants and restocking is much easier.
Original single-pocket prototypes
What will the pledges go toward?
All the engineering design work and diagrams are complete. Your pledges will be used for manufacturing a mold for the plastic plant container and a die for the metal brackets. The remaining funding will be used for the first sample run and the final production run.
When will you start shipping?
When the funding goal has been reached, I am estimating it will take 2-3 months to finish the molds, source various pieces, and finish the packaging. We already have few customers that resell our Expanded Shale product and they are eager to start selling these towers!
One last thing:
I truly appreciate the fact that you have taken the time to view this project and I am very grateful for your pledge. Producing a product like this has been a goal of mine for a long time and with your support, it will become a reality in the near future!
Strawberries in a growing tower
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
- (45 days)