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Man Creates Automated Micro Farming Solution that fits in your Terrace

In this post you’re going to see how this man created an automated micro farming solution where anyone can grow their own food.


If you’re a busy person or are just limited on space and still want to enjoy the benefits of gardening this might be something you’ll like, right?

Imagine having a system in place that automatically waters and fertilizes your plants? And it’s all solar-powered too.

Best of all it probably fits in your terrace, backyard, or somewhere near your tiny house, cabin, or cottage. And it’s completely portable.

But one of the most fascinating features is that it’s very high tech.

You can check on your farm right from your smart phone or tablet using their software.

Update: Help fund this project on Kickstarter!

High Tech & Automated Micro Farming Solution

Learn and see more in the photos, video and links below:

Introduction to Greg Ching’s My Terrace Farmer


My Terrace Farmer Prototype Video

Public Debut Video

Resources

What Do You Think?

Is this something that you’d ever consider using for yourself to grow your own foods and become more self reliant? How do you imagine yourself using it right now or in your future micro homestead? Share your best thoughts in the comments down below.

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!




{ 16 comments… add one }
  • TomLeeM May 4, 2014, 8:48 pm

    I think that is very creative. I think it is a great way to have a garden where one is not normally be able to have one.

  • Jerry May 5, 2014, 2:51 am

    Google aquaponics for a, shall I say better idea. The basic idea is to grow fish in a tank, and use the water to grow vegetables, allowing you to harvest a complete diet. You feed the fish, and their “byproducts” (poo) fertilizes the vegetables, which filter the water sent back to the fish. Basic systems can be built for a few hundred dollars, and you can spend about a grand to make an automated solar powered system. They require less chemicals than any other form of farming, with most systems only needing to balance PH and add a little cheleated iron from time to time.

  • Greg Ching May 5, 2014, 11:31 am

    Aquaponics is a great thing. Creating an artificial river for plants whether you want to eat the fish is very cool. The Basic My Terrace Farmer without the electronics, rain collection, solar panels, etcetera could be easily modified to support aquaponics. However, the Deluxe version does not because one of the design goals was to minimize the need for electricity using just solar panels in a very limited space (as you don’t want the solar panels to shade all the plants too much). You can get around this with a wall outlet, additional ground mount panels, and larger batteries. The second design goal for My Terrace Farmer was to minimize the need for fertilizer whether it was plant supplements or fish food. Using food scraps to create worm compost tea is using material that might end up in landfill or in our sewage system.

    Aquaponics is a wonderful thing but it does require more energy to continuously pump water (or at least X minutes per hour) than soil-based gardening. More energy is needed because fish typically require greater temperature regulation beyond avoiding plant freezing. Landlords and building management folks also tend to be nervous about water beds and aquaponics/hydroponics setups. As long as you don’t spill dirt along the hallways, they tend to accept outdoor container gardening. Both aquaponics and hydroponics require fish or plant food on a continuing basis. Both of these can be accommodated with the basic shell of the My Terrace Farmer, though.

    I love aquaponics (see http://youtu.be/o4w9ub1-Yk4 for my introduction over 4 years ago) but a soil based project was easier to build.

    The basic mechanism used within My Terrace Farmer of creating worm compost tea is the My Worm Farmer.
    http://www.solargreens.net/shop/product/my-worm-farmer/

    • Jerry May 5, 2014, 12:49 pm

      Great points to consider! I do understand the landlord issues with water, being an aquarium enthusiast who rented for decades. However, I respectfully disagree that the fish food is an issue. Unless you are vegan, you need some form of meat. If you are vegan, a small system like this is not going to support you with enough variety. This means you are purchasing other forms of meat or other forms of vegetation to complete your diet.

      • Greg Ching May 5, 2014, 2:12 pm

        Jerry, you are absolutely right that most people will be consuming some sort of meat so you might as well buy fish food. We’ve been approached by several aquaponics manufacturers to create an outdoor structure for their system. We are not in the position of creating a custom size for them at this time, though. We’re going to crawl, walk, and then run. It’s just easier for the novice gardener to grow plants with worms. The appeal of low operating costs (no monthly purchases) is our low hanging watermelon…well it might really be the person who buys $5 – $10 in fresh herbs each week though we’ve been approached by residential buffalo grass sod to cannabis gardeners, too.

  • Jerry May 5, 2014, 2:24 pm

    Sounds great! I will be following your progress, and look forward to what you come up with in the future. I wish you the best of luck with these projects!

    • Greg Ching May 5, 2014, 3:59 pm

      Thanks Jerry. We’re going to look at measuring pH, OPR/TDS, and other elements via soil runoff rather directly in soil so that would make it much easier to adapt the electronics/software to hydroponic and aquaponics system in the future. If you have any specific adaptation requests for an outdoor aquaponics shelter that might appeal to the non-DIY (the turnkey masses) feel free to e-mail [email protected].

  • Rebecca May 6, 2014, 9:55 am

    I have 5 acres but like this system for its small size and ability to provide fresh greens and herbs all winter in the mountains. I prefer the worm composting because it generates warmth and recycles food leftovers instead of trash.

    • Greg Ching May 10, 2014, 1:26 am

      I have 2.5 acres myself but was looking for something that didn’t require me to go trudging into the snow to get some herbs. My little deck was conveniently outside my living room sliding glass door. The original idea was to slide open the door, slide down the panel, cut some basil, close things up, and throw it onto my rangetop omelet. Convenience breeds invention. The rest was a challenge to see what could be done with as few external manually supplied inputs as possible. It’s still a work in progress.

  • alice h May 6, 2014, 12:07 pm

    Brilliant! I hope some day I’ll be able to get one of these. It’s much better than just a greenhouse. A bigger version that could replace my current very basic 6×6 greenhouse would be perfect but probably well beyond my budget.

    • Greg Ching May 6, 2014, 6:14 pm

      Larger versions are coming after we test the technologies on this smaller scale. The R&D costs, electronics, and other components can be amortized over a larger area. Some of these technology will be offered as standalone components for existing greenhouses. We will also offer referral codes so even schools and individuals can get additional discounts (up to 100%) for helping us find buyers.

  • Judy May 23, 2014, 10:21 am

    Would love one, but too pricey for my level of income.

    • Greg Ching May 24, 2014, 3:16 am

      Prices will drop with volume. Right now each is handcrafted using the very best American made recycled food grade durable materials whenever possible, and assembled using solar electricity. Software development and other non-traditional greenhouse costs have to be amortized. Limited lifetime warranty add to the lifecycle cost.

  • Ganesh February 26, 2015, 8:36 am

    Excellent Idea. My goal is at some point of time in my life , I would like to be self sufficient and was toying with microfarming as one of the many possibilities. I am a vegetarian and would like to consume only those fruits and veges that I can grow.

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