How to garden when you live in a city apartment

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For those who live in apartments or small spaces without much of a yard, growing home gardens for fresh produce is usually either extremely frustrating or utterly impossible. No longer, however, as a new startup is on the scene—the Nanofarm garden is available for purchase and takes up only a small area of counter top space! The Replantable Nanofarm, about the size of a standard mini-fridge, contains minimal pieces to assemble and an impressively simplified procedure to get plenty of home-grown, pesticide-free veggies onto even the busiest families’ dinner table.

How does it work?

The kit is essentially a hydroponics system comprised of a harvest light, grow cabinet, water tray and plant pad. The device is approximately 18-by-14-inches in size and uses “daytime-spectrum” LED lights (which, as their website explains, “cost only an additional dollar per month of electricity) in place of the sun for growing. The unit maintains an inner temperature of between 60 degrees and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and can be placed anywhere in the home with an electrical outlet nearby. Co-founder Ruwan Subasinghe explains that Nanofarm technology has streamlined the process for users to basically set up the system and then “forget about it” until harvest time. The gardener determines the number of weeks necessary to grow the vegetables, sets the dial, then presses the ‘start’ button. Later on when the time has passed, they see the ‘harvest’ button is lit up, and then have about two weeks to harvest their produce. Subasinghe describes the system as ideal even for people who have never gardened before.

What else is good?

The units are stackable as well, with some buyers purchasing up to four pieces to stack atop one another in their kitchen for several fresh veggie options. Bok choy, arugula, lettuce, radishes, herbs, microgreens and beets are a few of the choices available in the Plant Pads, which are soil-free, pre-seeded paper and fabric pads comprised of the plant’s nutrients. The grower places the Pads onto the water tray where they can suck up water as needed. The Plant Pads can be tossed out after use and replaced at around $5 each or as part of a subscription plan sold through the company. Another unique feature of the Replantable Nanofarm is the “smoked glass door” which prevents the bright grow light from flooding the room, as well as a quiet ventilation system that exchanges carbon dioxide for oxygen.

How can I get one?

August 22 marked the launch of the kickstarter campaign, and the Nanofarms can currently be purchased for $350 each with additional shipping fees as well as $25 for a set of five plant pads, comprised of 16–25 plants each, at their website.

Kristen lives in the Michiana area, where she enjoys lake-effect weather, apple orchards and occasional South Shore rides into Chicago. She can probably tell you more about apple cider vinegar than you'd ever want to know. You can reach her at:

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