If you grow your own food, whether indoors or outdoors, eventually you face a problem. What happens when you are away from home for more than a couple of days? Plants are notoriously dependent on light and water. Blame it on Mother Nature. It might not be your fault if you return home to dead or dying plants but it is disappointing to throw out food that days earlier was the picture of health and flavor.
Automated timers for watering and LED grow lights seemed like the simple solution to this problem for anyone growing food indoors. However, this exposed another problem. The plant might mature while you are gone. If you aren’t there to harvest when the plant ripens, you might be throwing out food when you return just as you would if watering and light had been insufficient. So, we worked with McGill University in Montreal to figure out if there was a way we could optimize plant growth while on vacation. We don’t want you to ever lose a crop just because you are traveling.
Introducing Vacation Mode
Today, Gardyn is formally introducing Vacation Mode which is accessible to all members through their iOS and Android apps. The new feature can be found in the Settings section. It is designed to optimize growth while you are away. Plants keep growing but at a slower rate so they are still fresh and healthy when you return home.
Vacation Mode was no small challenge. We were surprised to learn that this problem had not been addressed in earlier agricultural research. The solution, which is included in a patent application, involves moderating light cycles to pulses as opposed to continuous illumination. It is true that reducing light intensity and duration will reduce growth rate. However, that has other implications for plant health and yield.
The solution we developed and tested with our partners at McGill University slows down growth in a way that keeps the plants healthy and robust despite the lower load of light and water. Gardyn Vacation Mode reduces plant growth to almost a standstill without any impact on plant health or balance. The plants barely change during this period and they consume much less water which makes your Gardyn able to operate even longer on a full tank. Even though Gardyn typically uses very little power, Vacation Mode cuts power consumption by a factor of four. You save your plants, energy, and help reduce impact on the planet!
You can now go into the Gardyn app, follow a few simple steps before you leave home, and activate Vacation Mode. This will keep your plants healthy and ready for your dinner table when your return. All you do after you arrive back home (or even ahead of time on your return trip) is turn Vacation Mode off and the system will revert to the watering and light schedule you were using before your departure. Plant growth will then accelerate back to the previous rate.
While you are away, you can always check-in on your plants by viewing them through your app. As always, Kelby will also monitor your plant growth whether you are at home or on vacation. It’s an added layer of value that makes it easy to successfully grow produce at home.
Technology That Makes Growing Food Convenient and Reliable
Growing produce will never be foolproof. Nature is finicky. However, we set out to make it as easy, reliable, and convenient as possible to have healthy and delicious food always within arm’s reach. Kelby monitors growth and offers tips to optimize plant health. Automation features enable you to set watering and light schedules and change them anytime. The cameras enable you to remotely monitor your Gardyn from the app.
For years people have said they like the idea of having fresh produce grown at home. The nutritional value is higher. The flavors are more intense. You know exactly what environment they have been exposed to and you can be sure no one else has handled your food and no pesticides have been used. The challenge is that few people have the time, knowledge, or space to grow their own food. Gardyn was designed to take care of those issues up front. And, we took our obsession with making it easier to fit nutritious food grown at home into your lifestyle by making even vacations no obstacle for maintaining a healthy Gardyn.
You can learn more about some of Gardyn’s many innovations, including vacation mode and our growing assistant Kelby here. For those of you headed on vacation for July 4th, you can give it a try. While we recognize many people will not be vacationing this summer due to health concerns, know that when you do need to travel, Gardyn is ready for your trip.