Growing Up: 3 DIY Vertical Gardening Solutions
Vertical farming is a big deal, and as urban centers become more and more populous there’s a good chance we’ll finally start seeing some of those large-scale vertical farm projects being built. Until then, though, Inka Biospheric Systems has a few smaller-scale solutions for vertical gardening at home. These pre-made vertical gardens are perfect for people who have always wanted to grow their own food but are short on space.
The Inka Sun Curve
The Inka Sun Curve is the most elaborate of Inka’s vertical garden products. It’s a self-standing, closed-loop “micro-farm” that combines a vegetable/herb garden, fish farm, wind turbines and solar panels to provide produce, protein and fresh water. The fish tank at the bottom provides nutrients to the plants above, which in turn filter and clean the water for the fish. The solar panel at the top runs the pump for the fish tank, and the attached battery can also provide enough power for a cell phone or laptop. The whole system uses only about 10% of the water required for traditional farming. The vertical garden isn’t 100% closed-loop, though, since you still have to feed the fish. But for a garden that can provide such a large part of your diet, it seems a small think to ask.
The Inka Stretch Garden
For a slightly less complex (but still fabulously functional) vertical garden, Inka offers the Stretch Garden, meant to be installed on an existing wall or fence. It can be up to 30 feet high and there’s no limit to how long it can be, so in theory the entire exterior of your home could be covered in live, growing food. The hydroponic garden system can grow pretty much any type of plant except root vegetables, and a heat pad is available to extend the growing season. The company advises against greenhouse growing, but picture a greenhouse filled with rows of these wall gardens – an exceptional amount of fresh food could be grown in a fraction of the space required for traditional gardening methods.
The Inka Wall Garden
And finally, for those on a limited budget who want to experience vertical farming at home, the Inka Wall Garden lets you get started right away. It can be either free-standing or attached to an exterior wall. For $300, it may be one of the more expensive gardening solutions out there, but it does come with everything you need to start your hydroponic garden other than seedlings. And when compared to the price of fresh vegetables over a couple of growing seasons it should pay for itself quickly. Besides the food-growing capacity of the Wall Garden, it’s got a lot of outdoor decorating potential. Some of the applications are not only sustainable and eco-friendly, but absolutely gorgeous as well.