Project Everest

Plants Growing in Water (2.0)

I have been engaging with random, hipster agricultural ideas on Kick Start. One of their ideas is the World's Smallest Garden. You get sent a bottle, a plastic tube with a "special smart soil" (with the nutrients and seeds contained) and then all you have to do is fill it with water. It uses a capillary action to lift water up to the seed. As the seedling sprouts, it sends roots down into the bottle which allows the plant to water itself. Young plants can survive for up to a month using the initial water in the bottle. As the plants mature their water usage will increase.

As per Lisa's idea to mitigate flooding by using crops that are used to water-logged soil, maybe we could look into creating a larger scale capsule with the "smart soil" that would allow the growing of a larger variety of crops than the typical watercress and other plants that thrive in the soaked environment.

Of course, more testing of this would be required and I have a few of these small "World's Smallest Garden" prototypes coming through.

The possibilities around this are fantastic, as it means growing in a bucket in the backyard, in a spare water bottle found on the side of the street or in your flooded farmland during the wet season (which is a massive issue in parts of Africa).

Thoughts, feedback and ideas on how we could move this forward would be massively appreciated and I definitely think this is an experiment we could cost-effectively and easily execute in Australia or in-country.

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Zoe Paisley Jul 27, 2017

This is an awesome idea and would be great if we could combine it with the current field development plans. If we could use the tested soil combinations in the soil beds i.e. the perfect combination of soil, red soil, biochar etc for each country (with the correct porosity and stability) then we can put this in the top of the bottle. Even if this wouldn't work at a large scale, we can use this as an easy method of growing seedlings before we plant them in the beds. This is why I love ag and hydroponics! There's so many options for hydroponics which would be amazing to explore and if we use this method, we could combine it with a recycling program to further enhance our impact in country! Such a great opportunity to explore.

Lisa Paisley Jul 30, 2017

Keen to test it because it should ease management AND recycles materials that will be lying around on the farm.
My thing is making it scaleability... How labour intensive is it to set up one bottle? Can we re-use the bottles or do we have to start from scratch every time. How does this compare to normal seedling development - i.e. potting the seeds V's growing them in bottles. Which would be easier to implement? Could we increase production by having a larger body of water like a bath tub so we can squeeze more seedlings in 'one unit'? Or could we have a plant in a bottle filled with soil, then have these floating in water? But this leads into general hydroponics/aquaponics.
So lots of questions that I'm sure we can answer once we try doing it. So totally keen to start doing this kind of thing and see what we can come up with.

Lisa Paisley Jul 30, 2017

Here are some pictures of what I was thinking, mainly just a larger version of it all- so once the seedlings are established we could use this kind of set up.