Monday, April 20, 2009

Gardening for people who don't like to get dirty

Remember back in the early 90s when the opening of that huge H-E-B grocery in Houston was a big deal, especially that one wall of row after tiered row of vegetables growing in water? Hydrophonics was going to be the soiless wave of the future. Well, that didn't last, which is fine with me. There's something so...wrong about it.

I read last week about a new desktop hydrophonics growing machine. It's a box you fill with a "sponge" in which you place seeds and then fill a chamber with water and plug it in. The seeds germinate, helped by a warming chamber, I suppose. You pour a solution of water and nutrients into the gadget and then watch your herbs or flower seedlings grow.

I can think of several reasons why the desktop hydrophonics unit would hold no appeal for gardeners. First of all, we're gardeners. That means we like to get our hands dirty. There's something so soulless and sterile about throwing some seeds into a machine, fed only by jacked-up water and second-hand sun through a pane of glass.

All that aside, I suppose that anything that gets people involved in the cycle of plant life is a positive one. Maybe having fresh basil for homemade pesto or bruschetta might encourage the machine gardener to check out the real thing. We're all for that.

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