Plant Host Drone (PHD) Lets Your Plants Follow The Sunlight. Still Gets A Damn Unnecessary Machine (DUM) From Jubbling.

Plant Host Drone (PHD)Don’t get me wrong, the Plant Host Drone (PHD) is a neat project and its creator, Belgian sculptor Stephen Verstraete, is more talented asleep than I am awake. I just hope people don’t consider putting their houseplants on autonomous, battery-powered vehicles that follow the sunlight a viable product. Even if the PHD served double duty and dragged a cat toy around the room as it moved, it still wouldn’t make the Jubbling cut. It’s a greenie “fishing with hand grenades” kind of idea. [Gizmag]


Updated $169 Koubachi Wi-Fi Sensor Now Lets Your Outside Plants Tell You When They’re Too Hot And Hungry.

Koubachi Wi-Fi Plant SensorVersion 2.0 of the Koubachi Wi-Fi plant sensor is going to hit the market in October 2012 and sell at a price of $169. The updated version now works indoors & outdoors and lets the grower know their plant’s soil moisture level, light and temperature via a free cloud service. A good tool to keep your plants alive if you’ve got that kind of cabbage to spend.

If you don’t have Koubachi type cash on hand, then maybe a Kobayashi Komposter is for you. The Kobayashi Komposter Inspired by the world-famous eating champ, Kobayashi, our planned kompost bin will devour all the plants you kill by not purchasing the Koubachi and more! Of course we’re still waiting for one manufacturer to take us seriously and hoping Kobayashi will return our calls. MSRP: $130.

While we wait for the deal to finalize, Jubbling’s other alternative to the $169 Koubachi is for me to email you twice a week and remind you to “water your freakin plants!” At $50 per year, it’s a bargain. [GizMag]


Democratech’s Sprout Pencil Becomes A Plant Instead Of Trash.

When the Sprout pencil becomes an unusable nub, plant it in your garden instead of the garbage. That’s because it has a seed enclosed in its end-cap that when planted, can grow into an herb (the basil variety), flower or vegetable. Simple idea that with the help of their Kickstarter funds, Democratech will hopefully sell at a price close to standard pencils.

I first heard about the Sprout pencil back in August 2012. It seemed like a “gimmicky for good” idea and moved on. Then I watched the Kickstarter video and I have to make one recommendation: only plant the Sprout pencils in a pot. If you plant a dozen of these in a garden, pointed up, you are unintentionally creating a booby-trap similar to what you’d in see in a movie like Platoon or even Home Alone. No more barefoot walks in the garden.

And while I’m on the subject of pencils – has anyone noticed how low-quality they’ve become? Is it the wood or the lead/graphite? Maybe I should avoid the 20 for $1 deals from the office stores because after sharpening, I may end up with 10 usable pencils.

More than likely, the Sprout will sell at a premium over standard pencils so expectantly, they’ll be of higher quality. If they turn out to be inexpensive and low-quality, at least I’ll get 10 future plants immediately from my 20 pack. [Treehugger]


WISErg Corporation Creates WISErganic’s Organic Liquid Fertilizer From Local Food Waste

WISErg Corporation's Harvester

WISErg's Harvester

The Seattle Times posted an article about WISErg Corporation and their goal to reduce the amount of plant-based food waste from grocery stores and produce companies by converting it into a valuable product – their WISErganic organic liquid fertilizer. The process starts by capturing the food waste onsite in a silo type system, the Harvester ($40k – $55k), that holds and minimally processes the plant matter until it’s picked up by WISErg in 10 days. At WISErg, the slurry is anaerobically broken down, chemically stabilized, packaged and sold as WISErganic ($8 for 32 oz) brand organic liquid fertilizer. It’s takes the plant waste through the “full-circle” waste cycle and will reduce the amount of organic waste entering landfills.

Currently, WISErg has their first Harvester installed at an organic grocery store, PCC Natural Market, that is located about a mile from their headquarters. With the Harvester, PCC has been able to reduce the number of compost pickups from three per week to one.

Full-circle recycling is great and being able to create the WISErganic fertilizer is a nice bonus but I’m still not sure this is going to fly. Why? Because it’s not cost effective for a grocery store or produce company to fork out $40,000 – $55,000 (+ $350/month maintenance) for a Harvester when they could just continue throwing their plant-based waste into a trash for much less. Yes, WISErg has a lease option but the fee still has to be less than the cost of tossing food in the dumpster. WISErganic Organic Liquid Fertilizer There has to be more of an incentive for businesses to want the Harvester system because being green will only motivate a few and they aren’t the Safeways and Costcos.

I do hope WISErg makes this work but they need to offer their partners more in order to be successful. Exclusively selling their organic liquid fertilizer, at WISErg’s cost, to partner resellers that use the Harvester would be a good start. Another option would be to cut the price of the Harvester and waive the maintenance fee so it is an investment with no recurring costs. Then it could possibly payback in the seven years they’re expecting.

WISErg may also reward their partner stores based on how much they put into the Harvester each month and it could be used to defray some of the initial investment. Kind of like a kickback, they can call it a greenback, that is based on the amount of liquid fertilizer sold by WISErg.

We’ll see what happens and hopefully this is not going to end up being a great idea for which the market just is not ready. [Seattle Times]


Seattle Is Joining The Cool Kids By Creating A Rooftop Garden On A Parking Garage

Garage rooftop gardenIf you have a glut of parking spaces in your city, why not turn them into gardens? The City of Seattle is following the lead of New York and Chicago by adding a rooftop garden to a parking garage. Seattle has approximately 23 acres of P-Patch gardens in open spaces throughout the city but the parking garage rooftop, community garden will be its first.

Rooftop gardens make sense on many levels and putting them on a seldom used parking garage is a double win. Not only do they bring fresh, low-mileage produce to the city but they also help keep urban areas cooler, mitigate runoff and look better than the alternative – empty parking spaces. Hopefully this is just the beginning. [Seattle Times]