NZ couple launch "My Greens" hydroponic garden initiative

Mark and Debbie Crarer have presented an idea they hope will grow on urban dwellers looking to become self-sufficient food producers. The Hamilton couple launched their My Greens initiative at the National Fieldays at Mystery Creek on Thursday, a hydroponic home garden system. The hydroponic garden tower was created for city gardeners keen to grow and harvest their own fresh produce around their urban homes and apartments.

The Crarers developed the initiative during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 and believe it to be the way people will grow garden food in the future. Judging by the feedback from Fieldays visitors, the Crarers could be on to a winning design. “We designed the tower to be easily positioned outside homes or on balconies but you don’t really know if it’s going to hit the spot until people come along and take a look,” Mark said.

Mark and Debbie Crarer with some produce grown using the My Greens garden kit. “But we’ve taken 200 names and made some sales, on top of the sales we made before we came to Fieldays.” People had asked if the tower could be configured to hang on a wall or fence. “Those are the options we’ve already explored and it’s perfect for those situations,” Mark said.

Mark and Debbie grew up in families where home vegetable gardens were the norm. Mark also has qualifications in horticulture and ran his own landscape and design business. “The lockdown showed how we’ve lost touch with those traditional, healthy values around growing our own food, connecting with nature and each other,” Debbie said.

The edible living wall can be built in three sizes and can hold 30, 48 or 64 plants. It’s designed to be easy to use and maintain, Mark said. “It’s not a deep science, we’ve made this simple so people can get back into producing their own food and not be so vulnerable,” he said.

My Greens was made for smaller, outdoor spaces but there were plans to create a larger design for cafes and restaurants. It could also be used by people living in retirement villages and as a tool for education to teach young people about growing food.

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