Rotofarm gets home growers in a slow spin
Growing your own veggies doesn't necessarily mean getting your hands dirty. We've seen a number of indoor gardening devices over the years, the most recent being from LG. Melbourne biotech startup Bace has launched its take on year-round growing with the Rotofarm.
The Rotofarm concept actually appeared online last year, with plans to take the project to Kickstarter announced in Dezeen. But Bace has opted to launch on Indiegogo to fund production instead.
The device has the look of a large table lamp merged with a Dyson blade-free fan, and is said to cram over 5 ft (1.58 m) of growing surface into its circular frame.
Like the similar-looking OGarden Smart, pre-seeded pods are slotted into the underside of the housing. The use fills the tank with water and plant feed, plugs the Rotofarm into the mains and the housing slowly rotates around a built-in boosted spectrum LED lighting tube – completing a full circle every hour. Available seed pods include lettuce, kale, wheatgrass, mint, chives, edible flowers and more.
Indoor growers can monitor and control the setup via an app running on a smartphone, where they can set faux sunrise and sunset times, view water and nutrient levels and order more supplies (though users can also opt to pay a monthly subscription for seed pods and nutrient concentrate optimized for use with the system). And if you're a little bothered by that LED shining bright, there's an optional acrylic cover which tone things down for comfort.
Bace reports that the system uses 95 percent less water than if the crops were grown in soil, and reckons that kitchen growers need only spend around 5 minutes per week tending to their year-round crops of veggies, herbs and microgreens, the device takes care of everything else automatically.
The Rotofarm project has been successfully funded on Indiegogo with 22 days remaining on the clock, as of writing. Pledges start at AUD 742 (about US$440) and, if all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in October. The video below has more.