Grove: Kitchen Garden Indoors
November 28, 2014
It’s a lovely idea, growing fresh food right there in the kitchen, but for most people the concept looses their interest unless the indoor garden’s design is aesthetically pleasing. Cobbling something together with totes, Ikea stuff, and garbage cans is great when you have a basement or closet to hide it in. And while we have numerous options for a little fresh herb garden on the counter, or under it, there isn’t much selection in systems that can provide you with a steady supply of fresh lettuce and tomatoes worthy of becoming a kitchen asset. Grove decided it was time to solve that problem.
Last week they announced their ‘early adopters’ program launch. A news item that probably made a lot of wannabe indoor salad gardeners take notice, especially with this gorgeous modern kitchen and matching garden cabinet that gives you a first peek at what the Grove is. Didn’t hear about it? Perhaps you’re not from the Boston area, because it’s only available to people there. Hmm – why would that be? That’s something we’d like to know the answer to here at Garden Culture. We would have called to inquire, but there is no phone number to contact them at. However, if you’re truly interested, and a long ways from the epicenter of the State of Massachusetts, they’d be delighted to know about it so they can investigate launching a Grove Lab wherever you are.
There is room to question the balance of fish to plants here, because based on the Garden Culture team’s knowledge of aquaponic growing – there aren’t enough fish in the aquarium to support all the plants shown in this indoor garden. While pondering that thought, the next question was – will there be 3 tanks to handle proper waste filtration? Good question. Like most other start ups in the indoor gardening realm, the specs available only skim the surface. However, it is clear that any number of types of equipment could be hidden away behind the solid panels at the bottom of these units. Yes, units, it seems that there will be a range of different cabinet layouts that you can easily hook together to create the indoor kitchen garden of your dreams.
We also question the ability of LEDs to support efficient fruiting of plants like tomatoes and peppers. While they are awesome at energy conservation, an LED fixture that can conceivably provide the light power necessary to deliver a robust tomato laden with fruits run several thousand dollars for the light alone. Like you need a loan to buy one without research funding, and the retail price of the Grove indoor garden units is said to be only $2500 each, so we know that they aren’t using several LED fixtures known to fuel such abundant fruiting growth. Which brand will accomplish this? Heliospectra, and don’t rush off to locate their website for a price check. You have to inquire, as does NASA, but word on the street is that each unit will run you about $7500 USD.
Raising the attraction factor is it’s user interface operating system powered by sensors in the units that deliver information to any connected device. Pre-designed programming makes anything difficult easier to reign victorious with, and certainly appeals to the young adult today. While it will still be challenging, they are already using a similar system to power agricultural industry greenhouses in the Arab Emirates, which is awesome. If any region of the world needs this kind of technology to become more self-sustaining it is countries in such an arid climate that currently 90% of the food is imported. It may be the same system, but it will have been reconfigured to control this miniature indoor garden now collecting like-minded folks around Boston to take part in the all-important stage of new appliance development.
Of course, the team at Grove may have all these things we have questioned covered. It’s hard to tell from the available information, and we have no way of knowing for sure since they are only in the early adopters stage of product development. We would loved to talked to them about it, but had no way of telephoning to inquire. No problem, time will give us more insight into what the sleek looking system has to offer, and how well it does perform.
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