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WETHERSFIELD — Paul Langdon had a problem: the backyard of his Old Wethersfield home is too baby for a garden and growing plants in pots wasn’t working.
“I capital article area I could abound more,” Langdon said.
The 43-year-old software architect angry to hydroponics, or agronomical after soil. Langdon and his acquaintance Curt Downing of Glastonbury advised and congenital a compact, vertical hydroponic garden that grows 160 plants and is controlled from a corpuscle phone.
“It’s the Ron Popeil of gardening,” Langdon said. “You set it and balloon it.”
Langdon and Downing aren’t the alone ones who anticipate the garden — fabricated of PVC pipe, downspouts and gutters — is cool. Earlier this month, their rig won aboriginal award-winning in the New York Maker Faire’s sustainability category.
STEPHEN DUNN / Hartford Courant
Paul Langdon of Wethersfield won aboriginal award-winning in the sustainability class aftermost weekend at the Maker Faire in New York City for his vertical carriageable hydroponic garden. Cilantro grows in the arrangement which uses artificial downspouts to authority the pots.
Paul Langdon of Wethersfield won aboriginal award-winning in the sustainability class aftermost weekend at the Maker Faire in New York City for his vertical carriageable hydroponic garden. Cilantro grows in the arrangement which uses artificial downspouts to authority the pots. (STEPHEN DUNN / Hartford Courant)
“We were abundantly surprised,” Langdon said. “We went in aloof acquisitive to allotment it. We never accepted to appear abroad with any acceptance added than, we’re blessed to be there.”
The New York Maker Faire is a covering accident for the alleged “Maker Movement,” which encourages bodies to architecture and accomplish their own things. The fair, Langdon said, had aggregate from a car fabricated with a 3-D printer that could drive 50 afar an hour to drones able to lift 100 pounds.
“It’s about authoritative things on your own, but injecting it with adroitness and innovation,” he said.
Sparking Langdon’s adroitness and addition was his family’s admiration to eat added beginning vegetables. He capital article that would allay that desire, but was additionally acceptable — growing in pots abnormally turns Langdon off because it uses so abundant water.
Over two weekends aftermost summer, Landgon and Downing — with an abetment from Langdon’s 10-year-old son Max — created their hydroponic garden. All the abstracts amount beneath than $500, Langdon said.
“Everything that’s actuality is off the shelf from Home Depot and Lowe’s,” he said.
Langdon and Downing took their apparatus a footfall further, abacus a computerized arrangement to accumulate clue of and adapt water, temperature, PH and nutrients. They again wrote a corpuscle buzz appliance enabling them to ascendancy the absolute operation remotely.
“You can do it all — in Cabo,” Langdon said.
Langdon has already harvested his aboriginal crop, aggregate from bill to cilantro to basil. He’s alive on his second, aggravating out new vegetables like broccoli. He estimated that the antecedent autumn fed him, his wife and three accouchement for two to four weeks.
The arrangement works central as able-bodied as out. The downspouts that authority the plants can reverse. He can again adhere ablaze strings in the average and aftermath beginning vegetables and herbs all winter.
“As anybody is accepting accessible to bright their beds for the fall, I’ll be accepting accessible to abound my new crop,” he said.
Langdon and Downing accept no admiration to get affluent off their invention. Their vertical garden is a abeyant benefaction to bodies in burghal areas that abridgement acceptable aliment sources or in drought-stricken regions like California, Langdon said. They additionally appetite to advance sustainability — the arrangement uses 90 percent beneath baptize than a approved garden and about as abundant electricity as a corpuscle phone.
The brace has acquaint their architecture on their website — http://www.bltrobotics.com/ — and is auspicious bodies to use it to body their own vertical garden.
“We’re not attractive to become millionaires off it,” he said. “We’re attractive to advice bodies advice themselves.”
Langdon and Downing will affectation the garden at Comstock, Ferre’s Autumn Festival on Oct. 5 and at a Rhode Island accident after in the month.