Published on August 31st, 2011 | by Breath on the Wind0
An Aeroponic Green Thumb: Click and Grow
If the complexity of your life has not admitted the capacity to grow a plant, and you long to, then Click and Grow aeroponics can be your secret green thumb. These special flowerpots are equipped with sensors, microprocessors and software that provide food and water. You’ll just need to provide “a spot with good light conditions, but away from direct mid-day sunlight.” The name “Click and Grow” seems to be a hold-over from prototypes of this system where the pot had a USB connection and the software was transferred from your computer.
This system requires 4 AA batteries to operate a small pump and the essential electronics. Each plant has ideal growing conditions. The Click and Grow cartridge contains the seeds, nutrients and now the software needed for the specific plant.
Aeroponics is different from hydroponics, where the roots are suspended in a mineral solution (and completely different from aquaponics). Hydroponics tends to a more humid environment, has more possibility of disease, and does not require as elaborate a kit. Aeroponics use small containers that hold seeds, usually in sponges. These are, in turn, held in a closed container with only enough opening to allow the plant to grow above. Water containing nutrients is pumped over the sponges and later roots that hang in the air. Some systems will use a mist or bubbles, but each is timed to keep the roots moist without decay. The plant grows above, held by the sponge and the former seed cartridge. Commercial systems are used where soil is not available, water is limited, and greater yields than hydroponics are wanted.
A seed starter system is possible with aeroponics, but is not suggested with the Click and Grow system. The full-grown plants are not easily transplanted to another medium. Similarly, if your home doesn’t have sufficient sunlight, other more costly systems with artificial lighting are going to be more suited to your circumstances.
My thumb may show a little green around the edges. I have experimented with using compost to heat my greenhouse during the winter, but it is the energy and mechanics of green culture rather than the proximity of plants that fascinates. To the “plant-whisperers” among us, the suggestion of growing green without attention may be a bit of a shocker. It is a big world, thuogh, and for those just starting their appreciation and connection with plants. the Click and Grow system may be a very good beginning.