STARTUP

3 Start-ups That Want to Hack Your Garden

These companies claim they'll make help make your green thumb greener. And they've got the Kickstarter funding to make it happen.
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Start-ups are already hacking electricity, the human body, and transportation, so it shouldn't be a total surprise that now they're tinkering in the garden, too.

Check out these successfully funded Kickstarter campaigns aimed at helping people grow things better.

Nourishmat

Earth Starter co-founders Phil Weiner and John Gorby met at the University of Maryland and discovered they shared not only fond childhood memories of gardening with their families, but a passion for business. As a result, they invented a weed barrier interspersed with holes into which you plant balls made of the seeds of various vegetables or herbs mixed with clay, compost, chili-powder, and worm-casting fertilizer--a genius idea that not only protects the seeds from birds, wind and pests, but also helps them germinate and thrive. After planting the seedballs you connect a hose to the Nourishmat, which routes water to the entire mat. Nearly 1,300 garden lovers pledged $107,534 of a $70,000 goal on Kickstarter.

The Windowfarms Project

What started as a MacGyver-like system in which a pump on a timer sent liquid nutrients to plants strung together in plastic bottles eventually morphed into a beautiful vertical hydroponic growing system for your window. In fact, the company was commissioned to build two large arrays of Windowfarms at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, which have been on display for the last 10 months.

The Brooklyn-based social enterprise--which now runs a 40,000-member online community of growers--raised $257,307 of a $50,000 goal. Harvesting herbs and salad greens from your window all year long doesn't come cheap, though. Nearly two years after its Kickstarter campaign ended, one Windowfarm column now runs $199.

Home Aquaponics Kit

Back to the Roots co-founders Alex Velez and Nikhil Arora were just about to graduate from UC Berkeley and launch careers in consulting and banking when they stumbled onto the idea of growing mushrooms on coffee grounds, experimented with some test buckets and received a $5,000 grant for social innovation. They decided to forgo the business world and instead created a Grow-at-Home Mushroom Kit, which now sells at 2,200 retailers nationwide.

Along the way the duo became passionate about sustainability, have given multiple TED Talks, and have appeared on the White House's Top Social Innovators list.

Their latest creation--an innovative closed loop ecosystem that uses fish waste to fertilize plants on top of the tank--raised almost $250,000 of a $100,000 goal on Kickstarter.

This list could go on. You might also check out the Self-Watering Kitchen Garden, the Self-Watering Patch Planter for Herbs and Greens or the Garden Tower Project.

Want to fund an interesting gardening start-up? The SuperBag, a vertical growing system you can install on an outdoor wall, is now campaigning on the crowdfunding platform.

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Aug 9, 2013




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