Garden Inspiration for New York City Sustainable Living
My Danish friend, Jette Frölich, is a designer who has done some beautiful work in her garden. Seeing the photos on her website (please check them out) got me thinking about how important it is to surround ourselves with nature and greenery whenever possible, even when we don’t have a large backyard to do the planting. Given that outdoor greenspace is limited in the city, the best way to enjoy the beauty of nature is to bring plant life into your home. While a few years ago we may have been constrained to a few potted plants or herbs in mason jars, hydroponic grow systems make it easier than ever to grow a garden in your apartment. Hydroponics involves using a nutrient rich solution to suspend roots in water. There are many different systems available today, all of which are designed to grow plants in a small space.
For example, Windowfarms are a modular growing system made to go in your windows. This Brooklyn-based enterprise understands the space constraints of city living, so Windowfarms columns are only about 6” wide. They also offer subscription services so you can rotate your produce based on what’s in season. Windowfarms start at $179.95 and subscription boxes start at $29.99.
AquaFarm is an even more compact solution, and consists of a closed-loop ecosystem. The plants that grow on the top tray keep the water clean, and the fish in the tank provide food for the plants. This 12”-by-8” system is perfect for growing basil, mint, spinach, baby greens, and other edible or decorative plants. At $60, The AquaFarm is an affordable way to experiment with growing plants in your home.
If you’re looking for a high-tech solution, the Click and Grow Smart Herb Garden uses automatically-controlled technology to balance oxygen, water, and nutrition levels. Each Smart Herb Garden comes with cartridges for basil, thyme, and lemon balm, but refills are also available for mini tomato, chili pepper, salad rocket, dwarf basil, rosemary and stevia. Smart Herb Gardens start at $99.95 and will fit on most countertops, tables, and windowsills.
For those who have some outdoor space available, Emily’s Garden System from Hydrofarm consists of 6 planters in a 6″H x 16″W x 24″L garden. You can use Hydrofarms’ proprietary growing media, or customize and add your own. With this system, you can grow produce like strawberries, squash, zucchini, bell peppers, cucumber, and much more. You can also switch and rotate plants as you please, since the 6 planters are separate from each other. Emily’s Garden System costs $99.95 and comes with a seed starter pack.
The AeroFlo system from General Hydroponics will allow you to grow flowers, fruits, and vegetables up to 3 or 4 feet tall. With four different models to choose from, the AeroFlo will fit on almost any rooftop or terrace. The AeroFlo 18, at 5’4L x 23”W x 22”H, is the most compact model and is perfect for growing produce such as strawberries, greens, thyme, basil and many varieties of lettuce. The system is $429.
With the latest hydroponic grow systems, it’s possible to grow a garden in even the smallest of spaces at a variety of price points. While your plants will still need some love and attention, these hydroponic systems will make growing a garden possible for novices and experts alike.