Mini NASA allotment targets “space” savers

If you are a long way down the waiting list to get a local allotment from your council, then NASA have designed one for astronauts that may be just the answer. It uses no water or soil, just requires a power supply as reported by the Daily Mail:

The Power Plant Growing Machine was designed by the American space agency’s scientists to help astronauts get their five-a-day while on missions.

WHAT IS IT?
Using a growing technique called aeroponics it uses hundreds of tiny jets to constantly spray nutrients on to the roots of plants, a system already used on a large scale by comerical growers ad which leads to far quicker growth than normal.

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The Power Plant Growing Machine comes in two sizes, with the smaller one (6in tall, 8in long and 2in wide) priced at £34 and designed to grow fruit, herbs and flowers as pictured above.
A larger plant tub-shaped model, available for £60, is more suitable for larger vegetables such as potatoes.

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?
Suppliers Oakthrift claims it makes a bigger and stronger crop than if the plants were grown outside and that the gadget can produce a crop far quicker than if grown outdoors.
Anthony Freedman, the company’s sales director, said: ‘The crop will begin to sprout within around five days. Traditionally it would take around 120 days to grow a seedling plant, but with the Power Plant, on average, it will take around 90 days.
‘In the summer months when there is more light then you can expect your herbs and fruit to grow even faster in around 60 days.
‘It’s fantastic – you can grow all your herbs in it, fresh fruit, such as raspberries, blackberries and tasty cherry tomatoes, and flowers too, so long as they’re from seeds.’

WHERE CAN I BUY ONE?
The smaller Power Plant has been available in stores in the U.S. for the past year and has sold ‘several thousand’ units, according to Mr Freedman.
Customers in the UK can at present only buy it online.http://www.oakthrift.com/index.php?page=Home%20%26%20Garden&sub_page=Power%20Plant

IS IT ANY GOOD?
Guy Barter, head of horticultural advice at the Royal Horticultural Society, said: ‘Some people don’t like the thought of dirt and insects in the home. This could be a way of overcoming that.
‘The benefit of the system is that the plant is not exposed to the stresses of outside conditions, which makes it more efficient.’

HOW DOES IT WORK?
The internal microjet system within the Power Plant supplies super-oxygenated, nutrient rich water to the crops.The seeds are planted in a sponge which sits across the top of the device which is plugged into the mains. The power is what drives the jets.Domes are placed over the seedlings to protect them an encourage their growth. Once they begin to sprout they are removed.
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THE DRAWBACK?
‘If you’re feeding something on a nutrient solution it wouldn’t be organic, but it would still be completely wholesome,’ said Mr Barter.

Not sure if this can replace the satisfaction from harvesting your first crop of home grown veg from the allotment or garden? Good news for those with no outside space or small window sills – and possibly, a “taste” of things to come?

E-mail your thoughts to [email protected]?

This post was written by:

- who has written 866 posts on My Climate Change Garden.

I am not an experienced gardener - more of an enthusiastic amateur who learns by trial and error and is keen to "manage" the effects of the weather on my garden. Writing this blog is my passion and I hope that it will continue to grow, allowing global gardeners to communicate about the effects of climate change on our plants and the future of our gardens.

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