Grow your own food on your windowsill

modern-sprout

There’s a hydroponics supply store near my house, but I’ve never been in there because I always think of illegal substances when I think of in-home hydroponics systems.  These planter boxes from Modern Sprout take hydroponics out of the musty basements and put them on your windowsill.  They may look like simple wooden boxes, but they have a system for growing three plants per box without requiring any dirt.  You can grow vegetables, herbs, or even flowers in these boxes.  They are available in three finishes (weathered gray, chalkboard, glossy white, and reclaimed wood) and with a choice of plug-in power or solar power.  Modern Sprout started out life as a successfully-funded Kickstarter project, and they are now offering their planters to the general public on a pre-sale basis.  (Shipping is expected in mid-September.)  A plug-in box is $129 for weathered gray, chalkboard, or white; reclaimed wood is $159.  Solar boxes are $219 or $249 for the same finish choices.

Posted in: Home, Kitchen, News

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • CR September 10, 2013, 2:31 pm

    Reminds me of the movie “Soylant Green” (based on Harrison’s “Make room! Make room!”).

  • Neal September 11, 2013, 10:17 am

    No where does it say how big this box is. After going to the website it was not indicated the size. At $ 129 – $ 249 this is a very expensive way to get your veggies. One can buy a lot of organic veggies at the store for $ 249 and you don’t have to deal with the hassle.

  • meistervu September 11, 2013, 1:44 pm

    Neal is right. That is $180 (the average between $129 and $249) can buy you a lot of organic herbs and veggies. Economically it doesn’t make sense at all.

    I think it is a toy for most people, a fancy planter pot. No self respecting gardener would get caught with one.

  • Julie Strietelmeier September 11, 2013, 3:32 pm

    @meistervu Those pots are pricey, but I think growing your own stuff is actually a better way to go then buying organic. Sometimes “organic” isn’t really what you think at all unless it’s from a grower you really trust.

  • meistervu September 11, 2013, 5:28 pm

    @Julie I do grow a few things myself: baby lettuces, tomatoes, basil (in my pop-out window), sweet peas, strawberries, and I do buy organic vegetables whenever I can.

    But those boxes make me laugh. Seriously they are so small that one must be delusional or mostly carnivore to think that they are anywhere near the size to supply a meaningful amount of green to make a different physically. Yes, psychologically they may make a different to some city folks and they make good educational tool to kids to see how foods grown and entice them to eat more vegetables.

    Those boxes are fancy tiny planter pots, no more than that.

  • Julie Strietelmeier September 11, 2013, 5:59 pm

    @meistervu I wouldn’t spend my money on one either… unless I was Oprah rich or something ;) But they might spark someone to make their own versions of the planters.

  • Sarah September 12, 2013, 10:13 pm

    Sarah here from Modern Sprout. I appreciate the feedback and comments. Just want to clarify a few things, the specs for the planter are listed on our website — just click on the product (via the Add to Cart button) and then on the “specs” tab. We will make a note to add that info in a more prominent location. They are small (16″ x 5.5″ x 10.5″) because they were designed with urban dwellers in mind – for windowsills. As city folk, we are lucky if we have any outdoor space…which means conventional gardens are nothing more than a pipe dream. While the planter might be small, it has the potential to grow large plants. We have a tomato plant that started from seed in Feb and now towers over 7 feet tall, and has produced 150+ cherry tomatoes. A practiced gardener may not be impressed, but it’s a pretty large accomplishment for an urban gardener living in a small condo. Regarding the price, this product is made right here in the USA (this should be highlighted better on our site). We are proud of that, but it does add to the cost. I should also note that we are a small start-up, without the luxury of benefiting from economies of scale. If you explore the cost of other hydroponic kits you’ll find our all-in-one (and attractive) planter is pretty reasonably priced.

    Would a gardener like this product? We would argue yes. Why? It’s great for starting seeds indoors with little effort (thank you hydroponics) and in the fall it allows gardeners to take clippings from their gardens, propagate them, and continue to enjoy them throughout the winter. It’s also ideal for the home owner who wants a little green in their home but is too forgetful to give plants the TLC they need. Or think of the jetsetter — for small plants the reservoir doesn’t need to be refilled for weeks at a time.

    Our goal is to give people an intro to hydroponics, and something that enhances their home from a décor standpoint. The benefits of hydroponics without the eye sore — plastic buckets.

  • Neal September 13, 2013, 11:44 am

    I appreciate Sarah’s response, but it still doesn’t justify the price (even if it is Made In America) and what you get for it. I am an organic gardener and would not use this product because of the size to cost ratio and I haven’t even looked into what the growing medium (fertilizer) is. I would consider buying one if it were larger and cost less.

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