ELIOOO. Grow Your Food. Or How to Go to IKEA® and Build a Device to Grow [Stuff] in Your Apartment.
There was a time when for the general public the term “hydroponics” was only associated with one thing, and if you don’t know what that is then this article is about home gardening. Now, with the rise of the urban garden and new sensibilities about health and well-being, more people are discovering creative ways to build their own eco-systems right at home to feed themselves and their families, while keeping cash in their pockets. Here are some ideas from Swiss designer Antonio Scarponi, who is also the founder of Conceptual Devices.
We took a look at the idea behind his recently crowdfunded DIY Manual titled ELIOOO which provides a vast array of very easy to follow instructions to build hydroponic gardening units made completely of IKEA components. These units can be used to grow plants, herbs or vegetables in apartments, homes or offices and are especially cost efficient in that they do not use expensive components and do not rely on electricity but rather sunlight, unlike some other hydroponic systems that raise your utilities bill (and visibility by the authorities, in ‘certain cases’). Also, the technique utilizes only 10% of the water needed with traditional agriculture, allowing for higher production in smaller spaces. Plants get nourishment directly from a nutrient solution mixed into the water. Consequently, the risk of pests present in the soil is avoided and plants receive the exact nourishment needed for optimal growth. The end result is a highly efficient way to approach sustainability without getting dirty. This book can be pre-ordered here.
Here is a video that outlines ELIOOO and some other samples from the book:
ELIOOO #4: Is a non-circulating hydroponic device able to host up to four pots. It is ideal for growing aromatic herbs on your kitchen counter, window, or table so that you can grow your favorite fresh herbs next to where they will be used. This system avoids the use of electricity to oxygenate water.
ELIOOO #8: Is a non-circulating hydroponic device able to host up to eight pots. It is ideal for aromatic herbs and leaf vegetables. ELIOOO #8 is designed to cultivate larger kitchen herbs and to allow easy indoor vertical farming. This module can be freely hung on the wall and, if replicated, it generates a suspended indoor “green wall” at a very affordable price. This system avoids the use of electricity to oxygenate water.
ELIOOO #15: Is a circulating hydroponic device able to host up to fifteen pots. ELIOOO #15 is ideal for aromatic herbs and leaf vegetables. It consists of two ELIOOO #8, interconnected with a small water pump, for those who prefer the traditional circulating hydroponic systems. Nutrients will be distributed with a micro dripping system. This system requires the use of electricity.
ELIOOO #30: Is a circulating hydroponic device able to host up to thirty pots. It is ideal for aromatic herbs and leaf vegetables of all sorts. The system consists of three grow trays connected at a distance of 45 cm from each other. They are suspended with two wall uprights and brackets above a 25 liter reservoir that is covered with a seven pot grow tray. The overall dimensions of the installation are 45 x 160 x 29,7 cm.
ELIOOO #30 is ideal for larger vertical indoor farming installations that can be combined with a fully domestic environment, or even integrated with kitchen furniture. The modularity of the system can be combined to generate production columns. This system requires the use of electricity.
ELIOOO #30 Mob.: Is a circulating hydroponic device able to host up to 30 pots. It is Ideal for aromatic herbs and leaf vegetables of all sorts with the possibility to use the reservoir on the bottom to grow tomatoes, eggplants, or cucumbers. The overall dimensions are 50 x 50 x 160 cm.
The system consists of three trays vertically connected at a distance of max 45 cm from each other. These are suspended with two wall uprights and brackets above a 25 liter reservoir covered with a max seven pots grow tray. The system is attached to two boards fixed in an “L” configuration, and provided with heavy duty wheels. This allows the system to move easily to reach perfect indoor or outdoor exposure. ELIOO #30 introduces the concept of mobile farming for perfect tuning. This system requires the use of electricity. It can, however, be operated with a pump connected to a photovoltaic panel available in most hardware stores.
ELIOOO DESK: Is a non-circulating hydroponic desk device able to host up to eight pots. It is ideal for growing aromatic herbs and leaf vegetables in your workplace. The desk is made with the combination of large reservoirs that suspend the table top, which is designed to have ELIOOO #8 plugged into it. The bottom of one reservoir can be used to store little gardening tools. This system avoids the use of electricity to oxygenate water.
Taking a glance into the future, Scarponi has also developed Malthus (named after British scholar Robert Malthus who popularized the economics theory of rent) which is an in-home aquaponics unit designed on some real next level conceptualization as it is boasted to provide ‘a Meal a Day”, or rather a portion of fish and a side salad. Aquaponics farming is a technique that combines the cultivation of fish with the growing of vegetables. The fish provides rich fertilizer for the plants and in return, the plants clean the water from the tank. The fish and the plants co-exist in a symbiotic relationship. Scarponi claims that Malthus will soon become the next ‘appliance for the kitchen for the future’ and that may very well be. We’ll just have to get over looking our dinner in the eye, because in a world of declining natural resources ideas like these might just be more necessary than we think.