Did you say a WALL of plants?
June , 2009
Why yes, it really was a wall of plants! This was probably the coolest thing I saw at Maker Faire this year. The system consists of a close to vertical wall covered with a polymer mesh that is maybe 1/2 inch thick. Holes are cut in this mesh and plants grow with their roots under the mesh and the rest of the plant above it. Water trickles down the face of the wall, watering the roots. Then this water falls into a fish pond filled with fish, and is then pumped up to the top of the wall again. The fish waste nourishes the plants, and the plants filter the water to clean it for the fish. Also above the plant section on the wall there are some solar panels, which power the water pump.
A picture of the setup at Maker Faire is here.
I was dubious when I saw things like squash plants and tomato plants, wondering what would happen when the fruit got ripe and heavy. But I was assured by the representative there that the system could handle it. In some cases they might add some stakes or structures to support the plants, but then again in a regular dirt garden one often does this too. I’m thinking that watermelons would still be difficult, however. Also they have not had success growing root vegetables with this system. Still, those restrictions leave a lot that can be grown this way.
This system is interesting because it actually uses less water than the traditional method of growing plants in dirt. It also uses less space, and is therefore ideal for urban settings where one may not have room for a traditional garden. In addition to all of that, it is beautiful! Check out the company’s website for pictures of various places this system has been installed.
Added note: WordPress found this article on Aquaponics to be related. Interesting!