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.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

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 November, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to ‘Dracula’

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 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

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.
Emerging Tech

Stronger than steel, thinner than paper, graphene could be the future of tech

Since its discovery, graphene has set the research world on fire. What exactly is it, though, and what could it mean for the future of tech? Here's everything you need to know about what could be the next supermaterial to take center stage.
News

Xfinity indoor/outdoor camera zooms in on Grinch’s faces and license plates

Comcast's Xfinity Home security cameras can help the police catch Grinches who steal delivery packages from your home. The cameras use artificial intelligence to analyze moving objects and zoom in on faces at your door and license plates.
Smart Home

Airbnb hosts are offering free rooms to those displaced by California wildfires

Several thousand Airbnb hosts in California are opening their homes to help those displaced by the devastating wildfires in the state. Free accommodation is being offered to those affected through November 29.
Deals

Shop early Black Friday deals on Philips Hue products from Amazon, today only

Avoid the Black Friday hassle and shop great online deals. Amazon is offering huge discounts on refurbished Philips Hue smart lighting products to help light your home. For today only, you can grab a range of smart home tech from Amazon.
Smart Home

Here's our comparison of the Lenovo Smart Display and the JBL Link View

Looking for the right smart display? We're comparing the Lenovo Smart Display vs. JBL Link View, two excellent smart displays that are made for different audiences. Here's what you need to know about both displays and what they do.
Deals

All the Best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Deals

The Best Black Friday Deals from Best Buy in 2018

We've been hard at work assembling all the best Black Friday deals Best Buy offers in 2018 and putting them in one place to save you time and money this holiday season. From laptops to TVs, game consoles to smart speakers and much more…
Smart Home

New wireless power kit puts a charge into your smart speakers via infrared light

Wireless power technology is coming fast, and Wi-Charge is leading the innovative trend with a new wireless power kit that can transform Amazon and Google smart speakers into fully functional, wire-free devices.
Smart Home

Save Smart: The Best Black Friday Smart Home Deals

The number of Black Friday sales can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best bang-for-your-buck deals you'll find this year on the most popular smart home products on the market.
News

Amazon’s new trade-in and recycling programs gives your gizmos a ‘second chance’

Amazon is generating a new level of sustainability into its platform with Amazon Second Chance, a new portal that encourages consumers to trade in and recycle their old electronic devices.
Smart Home

Amazon rejoins the fight against HIV/AIDS with a (Red) second-gen Echo

Now you can rock out to U2 and give to a good cause by buying Amazon's red Echo, a limited edition of the smart speaker that also donates money to the humanitarian organization Project (Red), founded by Bono.