In recent years, indoor gardening has become more accessible and easier to cultivate, even if you lack a green thumb. Smart designers are finding clever and useful new ways to bring gardening indoors. Unlike most other indoor gardens, however, the Grove Ecosystem–the world’s first intelligent, in-home garden–uses fish to sprout many kinds of organic vegetables, herbs, and small fruits. Better yet, it pairs with an app to monitor and control your garden from your phone. Conceived of and developed at MIT, it is the size of a bookshelf with the power to grow a plethora of fresh food all year long–as much as a salad a day.
A process called aquaponics is behind the success of the Grove Ecosystem. An aquarium sits below the garden, and its fish digest their food to produce ammonia-rich waste. Beneficial microbes convert the ammonia to nitrates (organic plant fertilizer), which simultaneously supplies the plants with nutrients and the fish with clean water.
Thanks to the Grove OS, you needn’t be an expert to use the system. All of the required tools and training are wrapped up in your phone. With it, you can track plant growth and diagnose problems. It features push notifications to tell you what your system needs, and a Grove “almanac” includes hacks and DIY projects to help you get the most out of your garden. There’s even a vacation mode that sets your lights to low energy and conserves water, making it safe to leave the Grove unattended for over a week.
After months of prototype testing with a group of 50 Early Adopters, the indoor garden is now running a campaign on Kickstarter, where one of the many perks of funding it is getting your very own Grove Ecosystem.