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Inside Cloud Farms

Here's what I'm thinking: I'm going to open up my process to you guys and let you in on my thoughts about designing and developing some new products, what decisions I'm making along the way, why I'm doing them, and what I'm reading and researching. I'm going to let you in on a bunch of prototypes and experiments that I've got going on around all things related to Cloud Farms, and I'd love to get your feedback along the way and hopefully you'll find the whole thing interesting.

I have a lot of ideas... here's basically what I have in various prototype phases right now:
  • Wall mounted NFT system (type of hydroponic system)
  • Tall DWC system (another hydro system)
  • Wick planter - could be convertible to a DWC
  • Light box - for existing Amphora planters and new wick planter.
  • Compost bin.

A closed loop system (almost)

Compost - Food waste into compost, compost to feed plants. This is what I would really like to be doing in my own apartment. I don't know if its going to be easy or even make sense to do composting at home, but there are a few products out there already for composting, and it doesn't hurt to try some composting at home and see what happens - maybe I realize that there is a way of integrating the composting with a growing system that I won't realize until I start doing both. Is everybody cool with worms??? I'll detail my compost in another post.
Wick planter - Compost goes into a planter - and this can't be hydroponic. I've been working on a concept for a wick planter that could work really well for this, so I'm prototyping that at the same time. I love the idea of a wick planter because you don't have to water very often and you can see the water in the reservoir (if you design it that way), so you know when it is running low. I've already started a couple of windowsill growing experiments with some prototypes, so I'll post a little about that too.
Light box - I've also got a light box that I have been working on. I've made two prototypes so far, and I'm using the Amphora planters inside of them. My thought is that I will actually make the wick planter much larger than the windowsill sized Amphora. The box is solving a couple of problems that I've been having, one of which is to do with the amount of light we get on our North-West facing windows, and the other has to do with various kinds of pests. Spider mites have been the worst problem, and I'm hoping that a sealed box is going to keep all of those nasty guys out... I'll detail this box progress in another post.
What I want to be able to get to at the end of the day are products that I can actually manufacture on some small scale - meaning I'm not going to design anything that would require expensive plastic mold tooling.... probably (I would need a pretty big crowdfunding campaign).
That's it for now! I've got a lot of really great pictures of the tall DWC system so I'm going to start there.
-Brad


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