Hydroponics go beyond weed for these indoor home gardens

grow fruits veggies fish poo powered aquaponic indoor garden grove
A fair portion of the country is covered in snow, and the idea of harvesting fresh-from-the-garden vegetables is but a shadow of a unicorn’s dream. Grove Labs wants to make that dream a year-round reality with its hydroponic garden.

If the term “hydroponic” brings to mind grow lights and Mary Louise Parker, it’s because the soil-free system is often used to grow weed. “We owe a lot of the knowledge base to the marijuana growing industry,” Grove creator Gabe Blanchet tells The Verge. “We’ve taken that knowledge and put it into something that makes sense for growing fruits and vegetables.”

Blanchet and co-creator Jamie Byron met at MIT. Their aquaponic garden was the hit of their frat, and the roommates decided to prototype an indoor garden anyone could use to grow tomatoes, chard, peppers, herbs, and the official green of Portland, kale*. A couple years and $2 million in funding later, Grove is starting an early adopter program for their gardens in Boston.

Grove Indoor Garden Fish

Just over six feet tall, the system is a cabinet with boxes. Four of them hold plants, with LED lights that connect to the Grove OS, allowing users to control the lighting schedule, as well as monitor the temperature, humidity, and water level. The fifth box is home to a fish aquarium, “the heart of your Grove.” Mimicking an ecosystem, bacteria feeds on fish waste (try not to think about), producing fertilizer for the plants, which in turn clean the fish’s water. Ah, the circle of life; it moves us all.

A monthly subscription box, which is optional and costs $25 a month, provides early adopters with their seed varieties; no need to visit a garden store. Right now, only Boston residents are eligible for the program, though those outside the area who are eager to join can suggest a city for Grove’s next launch. Reserving a spot requires a $350 deposit, with pickup and delivery starting in February 2015.

Because it’s in the prototype stage, the Grove team is really hoping for lots of feedback from early adopters. They ask users to interact with their Grove at least every other day and be willing to participate in interviews and surveys.

Once the two-tower system is perfected, the Grove team expects it to cost over $2,400. That’s a substantial investment, and it comes with the responsibility to not even keep plants alive, but fish, too. In contrast, a recently launched Indiegogo for smart garden Plantui Plantation is offering an early bird rate of $250, though the expected retail price will rise to $730 later.

Basically, it pays to get in early, when the cost of these systems is about half a year’s worth of home-delivered CSA produce boxes.

*It’s not really official.

Gaming

Has it really been 17 years? The past, present, and future of the Xbox

From "DirectX Box" to "720," it's been a long, strange trip for Microsoft's Xbox gaming console. Here is what happened, from its odd beginnings to the rumored Scarlett console with streaming.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to 'Roma'

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Mobile

From folding phones to 5G -- here's everything we saw at Galaxy Unpacked

Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event treated us to a real parade of technological excellence, from folding phones to new fitness wearables. Here's everything we saw at Galaxy Unpacked on February 20.
Smart Home

Leviton’s Wi-Fi Load Center and Smart Circuit Breakers give your home a brain

Is your home ready for a brain transplant? Adding individual smart plugs is quick, easy, and inexpensive, but the benefits are limited to one plug at a time. Leviton's Load Center and Smart Circuit Breakers can give your home a brain.
Smart Home

Stainless steel is so last year. In 2019, it’s all about colorful appliances

For the past couple of decades, the color of choice for appliances has been stainless steel. Now, makers are introducing ovens, fridges, and dishwashers in vibrant hues to give customers a more customized, refined look in the kitchen.
Smart Home

GE Appliances shows off wall oven with built-in air fryer, food dehydrator

GE Appliances is taking the air fryer trend to its logical conclusion and adding one to a wall oven. The company's new oven, on display at this year's Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, also includes a food dehydrator.
Smart Home

Google Home vs. Amazon Echo: Which one is better for you?

What happens when you compare the Google Home vs the Amazon Echo? Both smart speakers have good qualities, but what happens when you compare they're features side-by-side? We think one of these smart gadgets wins over the other.
Smart Home

OK Google, what else can you do? The best tips and tricks for Google Home

The Home functions in a similar fashion to its main competitor, the Amazon Echo, but has the added benefit of select Google services. Here are few tips to help you make the most of the newfangled device.
Home Theater

Reasons not to mount a TV over your fireplace (and other helpful tips)

Mounting a TV above your fireplace may be popular and it might even seem appealing, but we have some concerns. We've got a list of reasons why placing your digital picture machine over a fire should be avoided, if at all possible.
Smart Home

Colored fridges are back, baby! GE’s new appliances revive the 1950s trend

GE Appliances is coloring us surprised at KBIS 2019 by introducing new hues for its signature Cafe line of smart home appliances including four new hues launching this fall to complement its black and white options.
Smart Home

Amazon Echo Dot vs. Echo Dot Kids Edition: What’s the difference?

The Echo Dot Kids Edition combines a free year subscription to FreeTime Unlimited with a two-year, worry-free warranty. But is the Kids Edition really all that much different than the regular Echo Dot?
Product Review

Miele's TWI180 dryer has one job, but struggles to get it done

Miele’s Heat-Pump Dryer is a compact machine that steams your clothes by recycling the water collected during the drying process. But how well does this technique work for getting clothes dry?