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Soil-free horticulture for the window sill

Green-fingered people without a garden may find a solution with a student-designed, eye-catching window box designed to help plants flourish.

Tom Kelham (23), a final year Industrial Design student at Brunel University, has created HydroGro, an attractive hydroponic plant container to help people living in apartments to produce their own fruit and vegetables without soil.

More than simply practical, it is rather funky too. “I came up with the idea when I was living in the University halls of residence,“ explained Tom. “I felt that there was an opportunity to make good use of the windowsill to grow plants since it receives the most sunlight in any room.“

To avoid dirt in the home, Tom uses colourful crystal soil, a water-retaining gel, which when combined with a fog creates "an amazing visual effect of roots growing through a rich fog, down into multi-coloured crystal soil."

Tom believes this is the first time that the water retaining gel has been combined with fogging in one system to grow plants.

Tom added, “The usual hydroponic systems are large and noisy. This method supports plant life and can bring fruit and vegetable production to people who don't have a garden. It looks really cool, too.“

HydroGro will be on show at the Made in Brunel design exhibition at the Business Design Centre, London N1 on June 8, 9, 10 2010.