I've suffered from green thumb for almost a decade now. Gardening in various forms has been important and effective counterbalance for hectic work life. I wanted to make My master thesis from this field.
I've been interested in hydroponic and aeroponic growing techniques for long time. They are great advances from soil based gardening and are really helpful in indoor gardens where space is a scarce resource. I had a brilliant opportunity to apply My previous know-how from this field in a project briefed by Tregren. They wanted a vertical hydroponic system that would be scalable, easy to maintain and produces staggering growing results.
Vertie project focused on finding appropriate product architecture and functional division between components. In the current marketplace there were very few vertical systems that would work in normal household setting. Handful of working greenhouse solutions existed but they needed some serious "domestication." Balancing waterproofness, modularity and aesthetic matters was a very challenging puzzle indeed. In lack of predecessor designs, I had to do lot more from scratch than in normal incremental design projects.
Vertie consists of a few different modules: plant holder, water storage, water distribution and lighting being the main ones. Water is pumped into a distribution module which spreads it into a thin water stream. Gravity then pulls water back down through numerous angled growth modules which hold plant pots in place. Plant pots are watered from below which eventually attracts roots to follow the stream.
Lighting is provided by LED lamps which have two pivot points. Changing light direction and intensity can guide the plants to grow in desired way. Vertie can be also used without lamps for example in balconies and well lit spaces.
Plant pots are held in place with proprietary spike mechanism. It utilizes the holes which are in the bottom of every single salad and herb pot available in supermarkets. This method allows using plant pots ranging from tiny 40mm salad pot up to a massive 160mm pots used with decorative greens.
Extensive prototyping and testing was conducted to validate watering method and growth results. The shown protoype pictures are from a test period arranged in garden department of Stockmann general store. Even this relatively early version ran smoothly for over a year with minimal maintenance.
Vertie is protected with international patents and will be also available as a freestanding version. The product is currently going through design finalization and production planning stages.