GrowMotion by Squarefruit Labs is now at MADE in St. Louis


Check out our first GrowMotion install at MADE. MADE is the premier St. Louis makerspace for Makers, Artists, Designers, and Entrepreneurs. Its an honor to work with them to make this happen. The main article is linked below:

MADE Member Spotlight Squarefruit Labs

KEEP READING FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE DISPLAY...

*We will include a follow up post that shows how to build your own affordable indoor farm.

This was our first display we made after developing the initial prototype of GrowMotion. We probably won't make another quite like it since it was incredible difficult to assemble and move into place. The display includes a GrowMotion unit with a 200W LED module. This is the same 200W module that is available for those joining our beta program. The display is made entirely of plywood and is 12ft long x 4 feet deep x 8ft tall. It was too large to display anywhere else at MADE. There is also an added box fan on the ceiling of the display to improve air circulation and help the baby basil strengthen their stems.

*Our newest version of GrowMotion does not include the added blue/red strip light down the rail. We found it wasn't necessary in the end and we could still cover 40 sq ft of grow area without it.

 

Underside of GrowMotion viewing LEDs

Grow Tanks

Inside the display are 8 grow tanks. Each tank is a 27 gallon storage tote made of polypropylene. They are food safe and extremely easy to work with. The tanks are connected in series to a water pump where nutrient rich water is circulated throughout the system. The tanks are also filled about 3/4 of the way full with the nutrient water. There is an added air pump that further oxygenates the water in each tank. This setup is often referred to as Circulating Deep Water Culture (CDWC) hydroponics since the roots are immersed in in circulating water. 

 

GrowMotion display at MADE on the first day

 

Each tank has 8x 2 inch holes drilled out of the top for drop in net pots of pre-germinated basil. For Lettuce or smaller variety herbs you can even drill as many as 30 holes. These particular lids have a diamond grid pattern that allowed for up to 31 plant sites per tanks. There is also a 3D printed grow cage that was later added to each tank to help support the larger basil.

 

CAD rendering of grow tank growing under GrowMotion

 

Basil Variety

There are several varieties of basil in this display, which includes Italian Genovese, Purple Petra, Thai, and Lemon. All our seeds were locally sourced from Bowood Farms. The basil was first germinated offsite and later transplanted after about 1 week. 

After 6 weeks 

With little to no maintenance the basil really took off. I didn't top of the water or nutrients and allowed the system to naturally lower the water level. The basil from left to right are Thai, Purple, Italian, and Lemon. The ground is inclined with caused more water to slope towards the Thai Basil causing it to take longer to grow due to less oxygen exposed to the roots. At this point the Lemon Basil grew to about a 18 inch in height. We also started harvesting on weekly intervals to reduce potential seeding and also because we are all about giving away free food.

 

GrowMotion growing basil after 6 weeks
You can also see we added support cages on the largest growing tanks. These cages are really nice to 3D print on any desktop printer and we will be providing the STL files and G-Code for anyone wanting to print and assemble these for themselves.
GrowMotion growing basil after 6 week side view

After 4 months

You can really see the basil is pretty much overgrown. We neglected to harvest anything for a couple of weeks and most of the basil was already going to seed (especially the Lemon Basil). Again no additional water or nutrients were added.

 

GrowMotion display with basil after 4 months

 

We will continue to grow food at MADE (probably tomatoes next) and work towards establishing our next pop-up farm. If you are interested in how to grow your own food we will be doing follow up posts with detailed instructions and downloadable files to print and assemble your own farm very soon.

 

If you want to learn more about GrowMotion or want to be one of the first to access our prototype version click below!