New Stylish and Simple Hydroponic Windowsill Planter
April 10, 2013 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
Modern Sprout is a simple new compact, self-sustaining, and stylish hydroponic windowsill planter system launching today on Kickstarter by Sarah Burrows and Nick Behr, a Chicago couple whose passion for food, cooking, and interest in where their food comes from was the catalyst for its creation.
Modern Sprout’s hidden micro-hydroponics system automatically waters and feeds your plants, making it perfect for space-deprived urban dwellers, novices, absent-minded gardeners, and armchair agrarians who want to grow their own herbs and veggies hassel free year-round.
Looking for (Hydroponic) Love in All the Wrong Places
Nick, a native Iowan with a family history of farming, has an inherent love for all things outdoors, including gardening. After Sarah convinced her husband to move to her hometown of Chicago, they got married and moved into a charming apartment. Apart from a small patio that didn’t hold much more than a grill, their new apartment was short on outdoor space.
Despite Nick’s green thumb, the couple could only maintain healthy herbs and produce for a short amount of time before life would inevitably get in the way. Between travel, late nights at the office, and plain forgetfulness, their plants suffered from serious neglect.
The Seeds of Modern Sprout
Then Nick’s Uncle Dick, a certified Master Gardener, turned them on to hydroponics. After having invested in buckets, grow medium, pumps, tubes and timers, the couple got the hang of hydroponics and several windows in their charming apartment were soon cluttered with large hydroponic systems.
Though impressed with Sarah and Nick’s home garden, their friends would often make comments like “that looks intense” or “that looks complicated.” The couple began an earnest search for compact hydroponic systems that that were also good looking, but found that most left much to be desired aesthetically, or they produced more than they were able to harvest and use for just the two of them. The lack of style and practicality inspired the their creation of Modern Sprout–which offered both sophisticated form and function.
“We launched Modern Sprout for people like ourselves, for people who love to cook, love to eat and care about where their food comes from,” said co-founder Nick Behr. “We want a small garden, but our condo lacks a yard and our busy schedules make it hard to give our plants the TLC they need. After researching non-traditional options we found hydroponics, which offers a method of cultivation that’s clean, self-maintaining, and yields fantastic results. But every kit we tried was expensive, difficult to set up, and unattractive–large and plastic.”
Top-Fed Hydroponics System
Modern Sprout planters use top feed drip hydroponics and feature an air pump that pushes water from a 1-gallon reservoir into the base of the grow baskets, right to the roots. The air pump is triggered by a timer, and both the air pump and timer are accessible underneath the planter’s base. In addition to Modern Sprout’s attractive enclosure, the planter also features a unique part used primarily for aquariums: a 3-way gang valve. This valve provides the ability to control the amount of water delivered to each of the three plants, enabling the cultivation of three different plants each with varying feeding preferences.
Unique Solar Model
The standard Modern Sprout is electric, is it is also available in a unique solar-powered model. The solar panel measures approximately 4″ x 2.5″ and connects to a rechargeable battery that powers the air pump, all within an enclosure that snaps easily onto the window-facing side of the planter. Modern Sprout’s air pump uses so little energy that even on a cloudy day the solar panel will pull enough power to keep the battery charged and the pump running.
Reclaimed Wood and Three Other Finishes
Measuring 16” x 10 ½” x 5 ½”, Modern Sprout holds three plants and comes in a choice of four finishes: chalkboard, weathered gray knotty pine, high-gloss white, and reclaimed wood from the Chicago Rebuilding Exchange, an organization that diverts wood from landfills, promotes sustainable deconstruction, and hires people with barriers to employment.
The Modern Sprout Complete Kit
The kit comes with a hidden hydroponics system that includes an air pump, timer, soilless growing medium and a one gallon water reservoir. Modern Sprout arrives assembled and requires only minimal assembly–setting the timer and adding plants, water, and organic fertilizer. Once set up, just plug it in near a sunny window. Depending on climate and type of plants, the reservoir only needs refilling with water and organic liquid fertilizer approximately every 2-4 weeks. Modern Sprout is a dirt-free, quiet and energy-efficient windowsill garden that can grow a wide range of plants and herbs including basil, rosemary, sage, kale, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, lavender, and orchids.
Thanks Uncle Dick
As Nick and Sarah’s Uncle Dick played a crucial role in the development and launch of Modern Sprout, he continues to serve as their gardening mentor having taught them about various plant varieties and their personalities, gardening best practices, and how to grow fresh, organic botanicals year round with practical–compact and attractive–hydroponic technology.
Modern Sprout is available now for pre-order on Kickstarter at less-than-retail pricing from April 10th-May 15th. The Kickstarter campaign offers supporters the opportunity of contributing to an number reward tiers, one of which is for the unique plug-in or solar model. Planters come in a choice of finish, and accessories, ranging from $65-$149.