Fresh out of the box indoor gardening news… A new smart garden crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter yesterday. The Oasis Mini by Aeroasis is somewhat unique in the hydroponic gardening appliance space.
In 2015, Thomas Wollenberger was growing his own in the community garden across campus from his dorm at the University of Florida. But the heat and bugs became made it less than enjoyable. Especially the insects. His crops had pest issues. Indoor gardening captured his attention. Fresh, home grown produce without all the uncontrollable problems. What he learned as he discovered indoor growing paved the way to the founding of Aeroasis, and the research and development that resulted in the Oasis Mini Smart Garden.
You can’t fit a grow tent into a college dorm room. It just ain’t happening. He fashioned his own compact grow box that did fit in the available space. It looks like he used whiteboard for the first round, but soon improved the construction with something more durable. But as any seasoned hydroponic gardener knows, you need a germination chamber, a veg chamber, and a flowering or finish chamber. Because the needs of the different plant growth stages are, well – different – all the way around.
The Oasis Mini Smart Garden has all three chambers in a cabinet about the size of a TV stand. Each growing stage chamber has its own door, allowing the gardener to work in one area without interrupting the climate of another. A great idea not seen in any other smart garden appliance. Like the seasons outdoors, seeds sprout best in cooler weather of the early part of the growing months, and the sunlight is a different color too. They also need a lot less space than they will after a few weeks’ growth.
Another reason for having separate chambers for different aged plants is allowing greater nutrient control. Definitely smart engineering, because the larger plants get, the more nutrients they use. And sometimes at different rates. It’s never a good idea to have seedlings, saplings, and maturing plants all feeding off the same solution tank. That’s like expecting a 9-month old child to eat a T bone steak for dinner.
In the vegetative stage, plants need more head room as they start building the underlying architecture to support more mature growth. Thomas designed that into the Oasis Mini on top of the germination chamber. And because the chambers are all directly next to each other, transplanting is fast and easy.The flowering/finishing chamber gives your plants a lot more room to grow up and out. However, users shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that this is a compact indoor garden system. Using the total dimensions to get a rough size of the finishing chamber, I come up with a plant growth space of about 22 inches wide by 18 inches tall. The light, nutrient tank, and root space occupy the rest of the chamber. Plenty of room for many herbs, greens, and lettuces, but what if you want to grow fruiting plants? You could just use 2 of the available 6 growing sites to give them more elbow room. But the chamber walls are so close to all of them.
Should Aeroasis be reading this post, I’ve got a suggestion to make. Consider adding a second lid for the finishing chamber with only 2 grow sites to give gardeners more crop versatility. Locating them farther away from the sidewalls and centered between the front and back walls would make a table more appropriate for growing small tomato or pepper plants. A simple, but exciting tweak. Then the indoor gardener can use the vegetative chamber for fast growing lettuces and have a home salad garden 😉
All details available at the time this post was written state that this is a hydroponic system. However, there are several very different hydroponic techniques. At a glance, it looks like it would be a deep water culture system. Yet, with the company name of Aeroasis, I suspect it’s an aeroponic system, like Aerogarden, but far more sophisticated. And with a lot more thought put into the increased cropping space.
Being a smart garden, the Oasis Mini is fully automated, including pH regulation and climate control. It’s the first of its kind in the consumer hydroponic appliance arena with those 3 separate chambers. It’s easy to set up, and low maintenance too. And like the Grobo we covered recently, the chamber doors go from transparent to opaque at a touch. The unit is 36 inches wide and high by 18 inches deep with a wood top and clean white cabinet.
During the later stages of his R&D, Thomas attracted the attention of some investors, landing enough seed funding to put together his company team, and get the working prototype done. And as you can see, it is working quite nicely. Now for the early birds to help Aeroasis finish off the final stage of new product launch…
Want to snatch one up from the first batch at a savings? For more details and pricing, head on over to Kickstarter. You’ll be part of the final testing group this summer. You might want to bookmark the Aeroasis website and like their Facebook page. That’s probably the first spot to glimpse the coming soon announcement for a larger Aeroasis model. Larger? Notice that their initial system is not just the Aeroasis or Oasis, but the Oasis MINI… they’ve got big plans for the future. Rumor has it they’re hosting a Future Farmers event prior to the Kickstarter launch. Farmers, my friend, need a lot more growing space than this seedling sized hydroponic gardening appliance.
Images courtesy of Aeroasis.