I just saw an interesting news video on hydroculture, a system for growing plants that incorporates expanded clay as a growing medium rather than soil. Hydroculture has been around for years. Unfortunately, while very popular in Europe, it has not caught on in the United States. In fact, all of the materials needed for hydroculture are produced in Europe. One company is trying to change that. Greenspacers, a green technology company in Columbia, Maryland, is “dedicated to growing fresh air through the production and installation of soil-free plants”.
The basis of Greenspacers’ mission lies in the hypothesis that plants can remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. These compounds consist of the chemicals produced from household items, such as paint, glues and cleaning supplies that can cause adverse health effects.
In addition to removing targeted VOCs, hydroculture plants, do not harbor microbes, and do not release bio-aerosols. The plant system starts with a growing medium of lightweight expanded clay (LECA). The clay pebbles are fired in a kiln, causing them to expand with formation of air pockets within the individual pellets. These air pockets retain moisture and allow maximum moisture to flow to the plant roots. The plant systems use a slow-growth fertilizer and contain a water indicator which, when used properly, prevents over-watering that drowns the roots.
Greenspacers now contracts with green-minded businesses to provide “green” planting systems on their premises, including Children’s Hospital, National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The company’s goal is to also provide services to consumers. More information can be found at http://www.greenspacers.com.
With research and innovation, “green” companies are discovering ways to help us make sure our homes and businesses are healthy. Our support of these companies’ efforts to live green, and be green is vital to the environment.