Modular Gourmet garden can automate growing indoors or out
Back in 2015, French startup Véritable hit Kickstarter with a countertop Garden designed to automate growing of fresh micro-greens and herbs. Now the company has returned to the platform with a modular system that can be tweaked for indoor and outdoor use.
Automated growing solutions have appeared many times on our pages over the years, with most designs from startups looking for production funding on platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo – though established companies such as LG have also dipped their corporate toes in the indoor veggie plot.
The basic idea behind such projects is to offer ways to produce year-round fresh greens with minimum effort from the kitchen farmer, and without the need for some sort of outdoor garden space. And so it is with the Gourmet project from Lyon-based Véritable – with the company's modular approach suitable for setup in the kitchen or outdoors on the terrace or balcony.
The system features a stylish powder-coated aluminum trough with a grid up top for slotting in up to six pods, each home to a Lingot – a soil-free growing medium pre-sown with organic seeds at optimum depth and spacing, plus slow-release nutrients.
This does mean that users will be tied into the Véritable ecosystem for replacements (a subscription plan for regular refills will be available), unlike the Plantone system where growers could use regular potting soil. On the positive side, Véritable currently has more than 75 varieties of greens, fruits, vegetables and edible flowers in its catalog so users shouldn't be wanting for choice, and unseeded Lingots are available as an add-on for users wanting to plant out their own custom garden.
Automation is key to ease of use, with the user just keeping the 4.8-liter (1.26-gal) trough topped up with water to the level indicated on the gauge, and then letting the passive hydroponics system do its thing. If even that seems like too much work, Véritable does offer an autofill solution as an add-on.
Indoors, each growing tray is topped by an adjustable-height 25-W LED grow light that includes technology to automatically adjust intensity according to ambient light during the day. Users can opt for one countertop Gourmet, or can stack units for a growing family's needs.
The outdoor setup is similar, though the LED light bar is no longer needed. The system is completed by a companion mobile app that's not used for control, but can offer tips and guidance to get the best crops.
The Gourmet is currently raising production funds on Kickstarter, where pledges start at US$349 for a one-tier indoor setup with six Lingots included, or a one-tier outdoor version. Other configurations steadily rise to $729 for a three-tier outdoor stack or $999 to take three tiers indoors.
The usual crowdfunding cautions apply, but if all goes to plan with the already-funded campaign, shipping is estimated to start from March 2024. The video below has more.