Dirt Free Indoor Garden Grows A Year Of Weekly Salads

Dirt Free Indoor Garden Grows A Year Of Weekly Salads

A new device can produce enough food to make one salad per week for an entire year—and do it inside an apartment.

“The pumps are always going,” says Dominique Schaefer Pipps, who worked on the “produce cultivation machine” with a team of senior mechanical engineers at Rice University’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen. “The water never stops moving, keeping the plants alive.”

Sprouting from tiers of PVC pipes are lettuce, garlic, and other vegetables, grown hydroponically—that is, without soil—and kept fresh by a pump circulating 55 gallons of water.

“The emphasis of the project is on using as few resources as possible, using little energy, and wasting nothing,” says Sanjiv Gopalkrishnan.

A “zero-resource house” at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden commissioned the project. The original prototype came together last November after two months of brainstorming. It’s a much bulkier, space-consuming model and went outdoors where it is overgrown with sprawling tomato plants, broccoli, and Swiss chard.

“We wanted to minimize power consumption and environmental impact, but maximize nutritional content and yield,” says George Dawson. “The machine should coexist with humans in a rather small living environment. Noises, lights, and smells shouldn’t interfere with the sleep cycle or life in general, and basic maintenance should be kept simple.”

The device uses about 900 watts—or as much power as a microwave or medium window air conditioner—and runs off one outlet even after replacing fluorescent lights with LED growing lights to improve the health of plants farther away from the fixtures.

The new prototype stands eight feet tall. The biggest change is it now uses square rather than round plastic pipes, which have a larger internal surface area and move more water. Pegs and friction hold the frame together without glue or nails. The entire device weighs around 70 pounds.

“That makes transporting it easy. We have to get it to Sweden. This is like Ikea for toddlers, with really big parts,” says Jared Broadman.

The team will install sensors to automatically monitor pH levels, nutrients, temperature, and other factors before the device’s installation in Sweden. The current setup uses one reservoir but the students expect a multiple-reservoir system, each with varying levels of nutrients, could permit fine-tuning the nutrient requirements of various plants.

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration

They demonstrated their work at the George R. Brown School of Engineering Design Showcase.

Source: Rice University

Related Books


More Articles By This Author

follow InnerSelf on

facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconinstagram iconpintrest iconrss icon

 Get The Latest By Email

Weekly Magazine Daily Inspiration




spreading disease at home 11 26
Why Our Homes Became COVID Hotspots
by Becky Tunstall
While staying home protected many of us from catching COVID at work, at school, at the shops or…
christmas traditions explained 11 30
How Christmas Became an American Holiday Tradition
by Thomas Adam
Each season, the celebration of Christmas has religious leaders and conservatives publicly…
a man and woman in a kayak
Being in the Flow of Your Soul Mission and Life Purpose
by Kathryn Hudson
When our choices distance us from our soul mission, something inside us suffers. There is no logic…
essential oil and flowers
Using Essential Oils and Optimizing Our Body-Mind-Spirit
by Heather Dawn Godfrey, PGCE, BSc
Essential oils have a multitude of uses, from ethereal and cosmetic to psycho-emotional and…
grieving for pet 11 26
How to Help Grieve the Loss of a Beloved Family Pet
by Melissa Starling
It’s been three weeks since my partner and I lost our beloved 14.5-year-old dog, Kivi Tarro. It’s…
two climbers, with one giving the other a helping hand
Why Doing Good Deeds Is Good For You
by Michael Glauser
What happens to the doers of good deeds? Numerous studies confirm that those who regularly engage…
How Culture Informs The Emotions You Feel To Music
How Culture Informs The Emotions You Feel To Music
by George Athanasopoulos and Imre Lahdelma
I have conducted research in locations like Papua New Guinea, Japan and Greece. The truth is…
how to kow if something true 11 30
3 Questions to Ask Whether Something Is True
by Bob Britten
Truth can be tricky to determine. Every message you read, see or hear comes from somewhere and was…

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com | InnerSelf Market
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.