Friday, May 3, 2013

FLIP's Victory Garden 2013: The Tower

Question: What is this thing and what does it have to do with animation?

Answer: This is a hydroponic vegetable garden tower.  It has nothing to do with animation, except that this one is owned by an animator.

Nine years ago, I moved back to New Jersey to help out Dad after Mom died.  One of the things I helped with was his vegetable garden.  He had a good size garden, about 30' x 30', where he would grow, among other things,  the best tomatoes in the universe.  I started out just helping, but as Dad got older, I did more and more of the work.  The work was hot and dirty, but I also found it relaxing in a way.  I'd let my mind wander and get zen about it.  I got a great deal of satisfaction from growing my own vegetables.  Their taste shamed anything on a supermarket shelf.  I documented one summer's garden in the old format FLIP, from roto-tilling to harvesting.

Dad is gone now.  My wife and I have a house where a large vegetable garden, while technically possible, would look pretty ridiculous.  So my old pal Barry Hummel introduced me to The Tower Garden.  It works using hydroponic technology, something I first learned about in EPCOT back in the '80's when there was still a real future science theme to the park.

Hydroponics grows plants strictly with water.  No soil.  No more hoeing, no more weeding.  The Garden Tower is simply an inverted fountain.  Water in the tub base is pumped up a center pipe to the top, but instead of cascading down the outside of the tower, it runs down the inside wall, providing a stream of water for the plants mounted in the side of the tower.

So while I'm no longer burning gas on a roto tiller, I am using electricity to run a pump that kicks on in fifteen minute intervals.  Organic yes, "green" no.  Also, the company kept making friendly calls to my wife after she bought it.  She finally had to tell them we didn't want to join their cult.

I'll do some follow ups over the summer, let you know how it progresses.

Read about the old garden in the old FLIP:

FLIP April 2008

FLIP May 2008

FLIP June/July 2008

FLIP August 2008

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