While the majority of us associate IKEA with flat pack furniture and café food, it appears this furniture retailer is branching out into some weird, but truly wonderful, gadgets. Earlier this year, IKEA made headlines when it began selling solar panels in its UK stores.
The latest addition to IKEA’s gadget line: Indoor hydroponic gardens. IKEA’s indoor hydroponic gardens – ranging from one to three tier cultivation units – allowing you to grow vegetables in your very own kitchen without soil.
In the past, hydroponics were largely used in to primary industries, large-scale produce farming and large-scale marijuana farming. However, with the release of a number of small-scale units that can easily fit in your kitchen, hydroponic gardens and quickly becoming popular in the home.
Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants in a soilless medium. In the case of IKEA – and many other marketed indoor hydroponic gardens – the system comprises a basic growing tray and cultivation unit that closely resembles a greenhouse.
Seeds are then placed onto little, nutrient-rich starter plugs, which are soaked in water and left in the growing tray. Provided the seeds are given enough water and food to germinate, the plants will start to develop roots and leaves. As soon at the plants begin to grow their true leaves, the plants are transferred into the cultivation unit, which features tiny plastic baskets suspended in another tray of nutrient-rich water.
Helena Karlén, a lecturer at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and one of the scientists that worked with IKEA to create the hydroponic system, reveals the challenge was “to make growing plants in a hydroponic system simple, so that anyone could succeed.”
“We were also very interested, not only that they grow, but also the taste… they should taste good, very good actually,” she added.
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