Zero-gravity gardening takes urban veggies for a spin

For many, keeping track of all the things that aren’t safe to eat becomes a costly and time-consuming chore, so they choose to grow some of their own food. 

Gardening is rewarding and good for your health, not to mention the veggies just taste better if you’re there throughout the growing process.

Unfortunately, more people live in cities than ever before in human history, and while cities are good for lots of things, they don’t typically offer lots of open, fertile land. 

So would-be urban farmers have found some very creative ways to create gardening space out of nothing. But no rooftop farm or vertical garden recreates the zero-gravity environment of a space ship the way the Green Wheel does.

Typical hydroponic growing systems replace soil with water. Using a system of pumps and containers hydroponic systems keep plant roots supplied with a constant source of nutrient-rich water. The Green Wheel gardening concept by Italian design firm DesignLibero quite literally turns the traditional hydroponic system on its head.

The device’s outer case is stationary, hiding an engine that rotates an inner ring, similar to a front loading washing machine. Inside, a water reservoir and a pump provide automatic irrigation to vase-like containers full of coco fiber, which would be located in the perforated inner wheel. 

According to Gizmag, full-spectrum lighting is provided by a tube-shaped LED fixture, suspended in the middle of the ring.

Because the designers anticipate that the Green Wheel will be most attractive to urban apartment dwellers who are short on both space and time, it will come complete with a simple control interface that can be managed through a smartphone or tablet application. 

Although it’s not available to the public just yet, the designers claim they have every intention of developing it commercially.

* Beth Buczynski, EarthTechling