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Hydroponic GrowGrow is Your 3D Printed Solution to Plant-Growing Woes

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[Image: Green Roof Growers]

My apartment is full of plants, and I keep adding more in an effort to bring the outdoors inside my home, in effect. I love having them, but they can be a right pain to take care of sometimes, because all of them need to be watered at different times, in different amounts. I have one plant that wilts if it’s not watered every other day, while another melodramatically collapsed and died, falling right out of its pot because I watered it more than once in a month.

There’s also the issue of water running through the bottom of the pot and, quite frequently, overflowing the saucer meant to contain it. That’s why I like the idea of sub-irrigated planters (SIPs), which are essentially plastic bottles with a reservoir of water in the bottom and a plant at the top. The bottle is cut in half, and the neck is lined with fabric that wicks moisture up into the soil from the water at the bottom, giving the plant the amount of water and oxygen it needs.

bf74ccb36f4788807f91deb3f393d1d0_originalLondon startup fiilo is all about sub-irrigated planters. The company was launched last year as a retailer of minimalist, environmentally friendly “lifestyle products” – in particular, planters, designed with geometric shapes and 3D printed in biodegradable PLA. Now fiilo is back with a new plant-oriented Kickstarter campaign. GrowGrow takes the SIP concept and makes it smoother, easier and more stylish.

The idea came to the fiilo team after they found that typical plastic bottle sub-irrigated planters tended to have sharp edges after being cut in half. GrowGrow is their 3D printed, smooth-edged alternative: a hydroponic capsule that screws into any standard-size plastic bottle with no need for slicing. The capsule, which is printed with a cool geometric design redolent of fiilo’s other products, contains a grow medium in which to plant seeds. Fill a bottle with water, pop the capsule into the top of it, then sit back and wait for your plants to grow.

The system is ideal for growing herbs inside the home, according to fiilo. The capsule may be small, but the nature of the system allows plants to grow with less space than they would need in a conventional planter. The fiilo team is still trying to come up with an ideal growing medium; right now they’re working with coconut coir, the fibrous byproduct of harvested coconut husks.

a49864b7632ac1c9bcf6fb1f134c48e7_originalThe Kickstarter campaign is attempting to raise $3,500 by September 30. Rewards started at an early bird contribution of $7, which will get you one GrowGrow capsule plus a 2.2oz packet of coconut coir. The early bird pledge level is sold out, but if you missed it, it’s no big deal – $9 will get you the reward. For $25 (the $20 early bird is, again, sold out), you can get a pack of three, and for contributions between $30 and $63 you’ll also receive a selection of fiilo’s 3D printed planters. For $300, you can start your own greenhouse with 50 GrowGrows, and for $1,000 you’ll also get 10 each of all six planter varieties, plus the opportunity to be involved in designing and testing future products.

All rewards should be shipped by the end of November, for pre-Christmas delivery. In keeping with fiilo’s mission of environmental sustainability, everything will be shipped in recycled packaging materials. Take a look at the Kickstarter video below, and discuss further in the 3D Printed Grow Grow forum over at 3DPB.com.

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