For those of us with black thumbs, hydroponics can be a bit of a daunting prospect. However, if you can figure it out, you can grow fresh, chemical-free fruit, vegetables, and herbs right in your own home with the help of the Niwa, a smartphone controlled hydroponics system.

Niwa, two years in development, aims to take the guesswork out of hydroponic gardening by controlling pretty much everything about the growing process so you don’t have to. The Niwa system creates the perfect environment for your plants allowing them to grow to their fullest potential. The system uses sensors and actuators to control the temperature, humidity, light cycles and has an automated irrigation system that will water and feed your plants whenever they need it, taking the work out of growing. Since different plants have different needs, the Niwa also features a number of presets for common plants including tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce, cauliflower, peas, basil, mint and parsley.

Although these functions are automated, the system does require your help to monitor plant development, which is often determined visually. For instance, you will have to let the system know via the app when the plant is flowering. However, the app will prompt you to answer these questions throughout the growth of your plants making the process as smooth as possible.

The system operates via Wi-Fi, but if you are a more experienced gardener you can manually control the Niwa’s environment. The Niwa is perfect for indoor and small space gardening and is a great way of growing fresh produce all year long. The units are not big enough to grow a huge amount of vegetables and herbs, although they are a great option for growing plants in apartments and small homes to supply at least some of your own food.

Niwa will be available in two sizes – a smaller one for herbs and small plants, and a larger one for more ambitious gardeners – available for minimum early bird pledges of around US$249 and US$299. Head over to the NiwaKickstarter page for more info and to pledge your support.

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