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Q: Is it possible to use AdaptiGrow in all earthly conditions?
A: Yes. If the device is anchored down, wind will not be a problem in the case of tall plants or the use of an enclosure (see question on wind). In conditions of extreme cold and low light, performance will be limited unless connected to a power source.
If AdaptiGrow is exposed to the elements in areas of very high rainfall, it makes sense to use soil instead of the hydroponic approach (unless using enclosure), as heavy rain will wash nutrients out of the system after a few strong events.
Q: How much will AdaptiGrow cost?
A: We’re not entirely certain yet. The intention is for the planter to pay for itself within 1 year, depending on what you grow. We are expecting $400 – 430 AUD or $350 – 380 USD (based on AUD/USD exchange rate of .76) as an initial retail price, depending on final choice of materials. See below for what comes in the box.
Q: Does AdaptiGrow make noise?
A: Any noise AdaptiGrow makes is extremely quiet and infrequent. You can put the unit in your bedroom.
Q: What about wind?
A: If you are growing a tall plant that you feel may be able to knock over the unit if hit with enough wind, then the best option is to anchor the support struts to the ground by running string to three or four tent pegs or thick nails spread around the device. If using the enclosure, just run the string through the small hooks provided for that purpose. Simple.
Q: What comes in the box?
A: The AdaptiGrow package will include nutrient liquid to last a few months, growing medium and an evaporation cover. All you’ll need to do is pour the medium into the device, place the seed/plant on top, pour one or two full lids of nutrients as well as water into the pop-out funnel, select what you’re growing on the control panel and hit ‘grow.’ That’s it.
If you want a more hands-on approach, there’s plenty of scope to fiddle with software and inputs, for example if you want to squeeze out additional performance for a higher growing cost.
You’ll be able to switch to substrate-less growing if desired; an insert to enable this will be sold as an optional extra.
Support struts and other add-ons will be sold separately.
Q: What are the limits of temperature control?
A: This planter incorporates a sophisticated active heating system, as well as a passive cooling system. The limit of the heating system really depends on power availability, whilst the cooling action will reduce heat stress and root-killing temperatures experienced in traditional container production within hot environments.
Q: Will AdaptiGrow come in different colours?
A: Some lighter and darker shades will be available initially. The availability of different colours will depend on customer feedback in this regard. Perhaps we will manufacture one-time custom units, if there is a desire for this.
Q: Does AdaptiGrow have any of its own grow lights?
A: No, but it is likely this will be integrated into a future separate version of AdaptiGrow.
Q: Why do relatively few people currently grow some of their food at home, or in schools or retirement centres, etc…?
A: It takes too much effort to get an acceptable result and often people just don’t know how to get going. Also, food grown is more expensive than the food people can buy at the store; i.e. the cost of production for a given amount of produce is greater than the cost of the same amount of produce at the local store.
Q: How does agriculture place a strain on ecosystems?
A: It really depends of the amount of land dedicated to agriculture. It’s all about balance; if the majority of land in an ecosystem is changed over to an agricultural production system, then the ecosystem will loose balance. Water and nutrient cycling will change and water quality may change, food webs will be altered, habitats will change and the species mix will change.
This leads to problems such as:
> reduction in water quality
> reduction in the amount of water available to an ecosystem, e.g. river system/riparian system
> periodic flooding as a result of reduced water uptake capacity of the agricultural zone; instability of river banks due to the loss of deep roots. These factors can lead to the silting of river systems.
> the loss of species which we might like to have around
Q: Why is agricultural efficiency important?
A: There more efficient an agricultural system is, the more productive it will be, meaning, essentially, that you get more produce of the same quality for each dollar invested in the system.
This is crucial to solving current and future food shortages. If you need less resources today to produce the same product you produced yesterday, then you can produce more today than you did yesterday and meet any additional demand. You can also reduce the price of your produce and thus make it accessible to more people.
Improving agricultural efficiency is thus at the core of agricultural sustainability.
Q: What is hydroponics?
A: Hydroponics is the growth of plants without soil. This may occur via an inert substrate or just in water. All essential plant nutrients and any additional nutrients important for humans are part of the water solution, which is absorbed by the plant.
Of course this process is no different from plants growing in soil, where water releases the nutrients held in the soil before being absorbed. In the case of hydroponics the nutrients have already been added to the water before it is introduced to the plant.
One downside of substrate-less (water only) hydroponics is that it is more energy intensive than hydroponics utilising an inert substrate, as constant pumping action is required in order to aerate the liquid solution.
Q: How water efficient is hydroponics?
A: Traditional hydroponics uses about 70% less water than field agriculture on average. This is because hydroponics generally utilises semi closed loop systems; i.e. water is cycled and recycled. In so far as evaporation can be minimised, water loss can be further reduced. Thus the more compact and efficient the system is, the less water it will use, increasing the length between new water inputs being required.
The less irrigation water is required for crops, the more water will be available for all other functions in the ecosystem. There is a fundamental correlation between water availability/distribution and ecosystem health.
Always remember, we are very interested in your tips and suggestions.