The biggest reason for a new gardener to kill plants is water – too much or too little. That’s exactly what led to this new hydroponic planter design. Rasmus Tretow got totally fed up with killing plants.
Lots of new urban gardeners try to grow herbs and veggies in repurposed waste: tin cans, clamshell packaging, modified Coke bottles, etc. Recycling is wonderful, but plants have distinct needs. They’re not programmed to do well with less. None of that reused stuff was designed with them in mind. The situation leaves your plants wide open to lots of issues.
Even with a real plant container, it’s common to have growing problems, starting with soil-borne diseases and bugs. Then there’s poor drainage, slow growth, and roots starving for oxygen. Soilless growing cuts soil-borne diseases totally out of the picture. Expanded clay pebbles don’t come out of the bag harboring insect eggs or disease pathogens. And will never develop the problem of collapsed oxygen paths for your plant’s roots.
Obviously, an automated hydroponic setup protects against over-watering and under-watering. No more brown thumb from being so busy you totally forget you have plants for days on end. An industrial designer himself, Rasmus teamed up with Johannes Roselius, a development engineer from his home city of Stockholm. Two years later, Botanium has a full staff, and a product ready for a production funding.
The finished design is definitely beautiful. A lot classier than a Dutch bucket setup hacked together from Home Depot buckets or empty coffee canisters… which will never qualify as a decor asset. Sleek looking Botanium will never make you feel like hiding it. In fact, it’s just as well suited for growing orchids and flowering plants as it is food and flavors.
This hydroponic planter is free of hoses and tubing protrusions. The plumbing is hidden inside the case. And the base doubles as the nutrient reservoir. So, like stacking washers and dryers, everything sits in a very small footprint. It stands 9.83 inches tall and measures 5.38 inches wide at the base (136mm x 250mm). Perfect for any residence where floor and counter space are at a premium.
The pump that delivers automatic irrigation to your herb or vegetable plant sits in the bottom of the reservoir. It gives whatever you’re growing the right amount of water every 8 hours – 3 times a day, all week long, no matter where you are, or what you’re in the middle of accomplishing. All the nutrient solution not absorbed by your plant drains back into the reservoir, instead of evaporating as it does in traditional container growing. This is why hydroponics conserves so much fresh water.
The kit includes LECA (expanded clay pellet) growth medium, an 8-month supply of nutrients, and chili pepper seeds. The system uses very little electricity. It comes with the right power plug for your country, and is not designed for outdoor use.
From what I’ve seen of it, the Botanium hydroponic planter looks like it could be a nice little system, though reservoir aeration doesn’t appear covered in the mechanical design. It isn’t equipped for a WiFi connection, and doesn’t have a mobile app for monitoring your plant on the go. But that’s not a deal killer for everyone who’s interested in a faster, easier way to grow plants indoors. Every bell and whistle on the market isn’t always necessary to enjoy fresh mint for your Mojito on demand or to grow your own chilies in the kitchen.
For the person who wants a compact, uncomplicated entry to hydroponic growing this might be a great starter setup. Especially with the expected retail price of only $79 USD. But you’ll have to wait a while, the market launch is still a few months away.
The Kickstarter campaign for the Botanium hydroponic container has been super successful. They reached the funding goal early and went into the first stretch goal – a choice of colors. Now the system comes in white, ash gray, and green. They’ve outdone that goal too. The campaign ends sometime today, February 17th. Their schedule says those who pledged funds will receive their Early Bird models in Q3 (summer). So, if all goes well, anyone who missed the campaign should be able to buy one at retail in the fall of 2017.
All images courtesy of Botanium.