Solutions for Self-Reliance

IKEA Wants To Help You Grow Food Indoors With Hydroponics

Indoor Hydroponics Gardening - Soon In Millions of Homes?

This May, IKEA is introducing an indoor hydroponics gardening kit called KRYDDA/VÄXER (rough translation: SPICES/GROWS) that will help you grow lettuce and spices year round

This kit certainly won’t save you from starvation in a famine, for that you need potatoes and such, but if you eat a lot of store-bought lettuce and herbs right now you can probably save quite a lot of money growing your own.

Here’s the pitch from IKEA:

From tasty lemon basil to crispy red romaine lettuce – KRYDDA/VÄXER series makes it easy to grow your own indoor garden all year round. You don’t need soil, sunlight or even a spot outside! How does it work? Just keep an eye on the water level and that’s it.

As mentioned this is a hydroponics system, with added grow lights to enable the plants to grow year round. Hydroponics simply means growing plants in water without soil. Growing plants involves just the right mix of light, climate, nutrients, and water.

This might come as a surprise, but a lot of the vegetables you buy in the store today are grown this way. For an example, check out this hydroponics farm (video tour) that grows 350 varieties of vegetables using hydroponics.

Helena Karlén, Swedish university of agricultural sciences

“The challenge was to make growing plants in a hydroponic system simple, so that anyone could succeed …”Helena Karlén, Swedish university of agricultural sciences

The system allows customers to sprout and grow plants without any soil, and it does have quite a few components. It’s not as simple as popping a seed into the ground. Here are the basic steps involved:

  1. You start by sprouting the seeds using absorbent foam plugs that come with the system, which keeps the seeds moist without over-watering.
  2. Once the seeds have germinated, you transfer the baby plant with the entire foam plug into its own pot and fill it with water-absorbing pumice stones.
  3. These pots fit into a growing tray equipped with a solar lamp that provides year-round nourishment for the plants even in rooms that don’t get any direct sunlight. Or, you could always place the tray in a window that get a good amount of sunlight.
  4. Now you wait and let mother nature do the rest. To help you keep the water level at the optimum level the growing tray is even equipped with a built-in water sensor.

The new hydroponics system sure is a departure from bookshelves and tables, but it’s in keeping with the company’s trend toward sustainability. As Inhabitat notes, “IKEA’s head of sustainability famously proclaimed earlier this year that the Western world had hit “peak home furnishings” and spoke about helping customers live more eco-friendly lives.”

Will we see IKEA expand into more areas of home scale self-reliance in the future? Solar panels? Vertical gardening containers?

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