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Grow Your Own

This high-tech garden could make home farming a truly viable concept.

There’s no denying the satisfaction of whipping up a meal with produce you’ve grown – that is, if the tediousness of tending vegetables doesn’t get in the way of enjoying them. To this end, a South Korean design company has developed Nano Garden, a high-tech appliance that takes the guesswork out of home farming.

Created in collaboration with carmaker Hyundai, Nano Garden is a timely response to our desire for greener living, with all the conveniences of urban life. “People want to have an indoor garden that makes efficient use of space and, yet, is also convenient to grow plants in,” says Park Seul Ki, a member of the design team from Hyundai.

Sporting a sleek refrigerator frame, Nano Garden features neat, metal shelving that allows you to grow vegetables such as lettuce, herbs and onions, while taking up only a quarter of the space needed by a typical indoor garden. It works via hydroponics, thus eliminating the messy process of tending to soil plots. “Nano Garden can also use recycled water if the proper equipment is installed,” explains Park.

Yet the appliance’s most impressive, and high-tech, feature is its ability to control the garden’s environment.

Users can control plant growth by adjusting the amount of light and water, as well as nutrient supply. The system sends an alert if you’re overwatering or oversunning the plants, or if they require more nutrients – so you’ll know when to replace the hydroponic fertiliser, or to adjust the LED lighting that stimulates plant growth.

While Nano Garden isn’t yet available on the market, Hyundai is exploring the possibility of producing its prototype in larger quantities.

We think it’s certainly promising as a sustainable gardening technology. After all, knowing what’s on your plate, from seed to soil, sounds like a pretty good idea to stomach.