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Urban gardening: growing vegetables in the basement at home? That's how it's done
Urban gardening: growing vegetables in the basement at home? That's how it's done

Video: Urban gardening: growing vegetables in the basement at home? That's how it's done

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Video: How To Grow Vegetables at Home | ALTIFARM 2023, January
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In winter hardly anything sprouts and sprouts in the home garden. So why not just grow the vegetables at home in the basement? It does not work? Go then! Two indoor farming projects in London and Berlin show that you don't even need soil for this.

Providing yourself with fruit and vegetables and growing it yourself is becoming popular again. The desire for your own allotment garden is unchecked and in large cities more and more urban gardening projects are springing up. But natural acreage is and will be scarce. For this and for everyone who has neither a plot nor a balcony, there are now innovative solutions for harvesting fresh, home-grown lettuce every day.

Salad from the bunker

There are also empty air raid shelters in London. The “Growing Underground” project in Clapham in the south of the Thames metropolis shows how this can be used. Where 8, 000 people were supposed to find shelter during the Second World War, basil, rocket and coriander sprout 33 meters below the streets of London without any sunlight in the UK's first underground farm. This is not necessary for growth, since plants only use certain parts of the natural light spectrum.

In the extensive tunnel system, the two founders Richard Ballard and Steven Dring put in place an ingenious irrigation system, installed tons of LED lamps and, thanks to the heavy doors, can create an optimal microclimate. At 22 degrees Celsius and 80 percent humidity, the plants thrive on a film of nutrient solution and water. The advantages of this modern arable farming are clear: unused, urban areas are used, the increasing food demand is served, and environmentally friendly and resource-efficient agriculture is cultivated. The so-called hydroponic cultivation also means that pesticides can be dispensed with because there are no pests.

The operators emphasize the environmental aspect in particular: The closed system with which the plants are supplied means that 70 percent less water is used than in conventional field management. Because the water circulates in a closed cycle and does not seep away. In addition: due to the short delivery routes, transport costs and pollutant emissions are extremely low in contrast to imported tomatoes from Morocco and potatoes from Egypt.

Tunnel in Pink
Tunnel in Pink

The former air-raid shelter in Clapham, London is the UK's first underground farm to shine in the pink light of LED lamps. Salad and herbs are grown on vertical levels

Photo: Zero Carbon Food ZCF

Freshly harvested in the supermarket

Berlin is almost a step further than in London. The "Infarm" modules, which look like a normal bookshelf, are already there in wholesale stores, only that herbs are harvested from the shelves. Advantage: The vegetables are grown directly in the supermarket. This eliminates the tedious, costly and environmentally damaging transportation. “The InStore farming concept shows how we can shape tomorrow's retail with innovations. We increase the benefit for our customers and at the same time conserve resources,”explains Axel Hluchy, CEO of METRO Cash & Carry Germany. You can only get fresher from your own garden.

Infarm-Gewächshaus im Metro-Großmarkt in Berlin
Infarm-Gewächshaus im Metro-Großmarkt in Berlin

Pilot project in a Berlin wholesale market. Such mini-farms could soon be everywhere in supermarkets. The customer harvests lettuce, radishes and herbs directly from the "field"

Photo: Infarm GmbH

The Infarm project supplies large cities

The supply of the Infarm greenhouses is similar to that of "Growing Underground" in London: water and nutrient substrate are supplied to the plants via hoses, special LED lamps that do not become too hot and consume little energy provide light, fans provide a good one Ventilation.

"Few people know that the wind is one of the most important factors in the growth of plants because it contributes to the firmness of grasses, " explains Infarm founder Erez Galonska in an interview with Die Zeit. Together with his brother Guy and his wife Osnat, they founded the startup in 2013 in Berlin. They still ran their first hydroponic farm in their apartment. In the meantime, around 40 employees are researching the vegetable fields of the future in their green test laboratory on a Kreuzberg factory floor.

The vision: That supermarkets can grow their vegetables in underground warehouses or the sales room. The project has already been exhibited in the Parisian museum "Palais de Tokyo", in the Berlin cult restaurant "Neni" the "Infarm" makers installed the first public vertical herb garden. The self-catering principle would also be conceivable for your own four walls. "Infarm" has already developed a microgarden box for the home and financed it with a crowdfunding campaign. German furniture and product designer Werner Aislinger has also developed suggestions for how "Infarm" could work in private households.

Infarm-Mitarbeiter im Gewächshaus
Infarm-Mitarbeiter im Gewächshaus

INFARM employees grow salads and herbs in vertical containers that do not grow on soil but on a nutrient solution

Photo: INFARM GmbH

Greenhouses for the living room

Greenhouses for the kitchen table (or for the basement) are already available, for example from Plantui, Oubo and Click and Grow. These are simply filled with water and nutrients - the rest works fully automatically. The colored LED light in the mini gardens not only provides the plants with light, but they also remind the gardener to refill water or nutrients and are also decorative. Herbs can be grown without much gardening knowledge, with little effort and in a small space, which can be harvested after just five to eight weeks.

Mini-Gewächshaus wird gegossen
Mini-Gewächshaus wird gegossen

With the mini greenhouses, growing herbs and lettuce in your own four walls is child's play

Photo: Plantui

Shop everything for your indoor garden here:

Zimmerpflanzen im Sense of Home Shop
Zimmerpflanzen im Sense of Home Shop

Photo: iStock / dropStock

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