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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Compost & Grow Food Indoors With "Parasite Farm" By Charlotte Dieckmann & Nils Ferber

Photos: Alexander Giesemann

Indoor composting can seem like a daunting proposition if you're an apartment dweller who's short on space and time. Plus, with so many indoor systems out there, which one is the right one and how would it fit efficiently into your lifestyle and apartment layout?

Here's one stab at it: in envisioning a complete system of vermicomposting plus food-growing under the same roof, young German designers Charlotte Dieckmann and Nils Ferber offer an interesting integrated system that lets you compost under the kitchen counter and grow food plants by the way of illuminated planters that fit right into your bookshelf.


Seen over on Designboom, the "Parasite Farm" by Dieckmann & Ferber includes a vermicomposting bin with a nifty, integrated cutting board that can be hung right under the kitchen counter. Bonus: there's even a built-in fly trap to help get rid of those pesky fruit flies -- which, believe me, can be quite a nuisance when your vermicomposter is still not quite established (though it is preventable).

It's a vertical system that allows the user to produce humus over time, which can be harvested by shaking the grate and pulling out the bin underneath.


Water from your food scraps is also reused as it percolates to another bottom bin, where it's collected as nutrient-rich soup, similar to compost tea, which can be added to your water as liquid fertilizer.


The planters are designed to fit right into a typical bookshelf (like the IKEA-ish ones shown here), while light is supplied from above. Like windowfarms, this is definitely a boon for those who have precious little window space to actually grow food or herbs, and a thoughtful design solution for urban gardening in tight and light-poor spaces.


For more information, check out Designboom and the websites of Charlotte Dieckmann and Nils Ferber.

Inspired but not sure where to start? Or maybe you're already a pro at composting. But if you're in need of some encouragement or a refresher, our Green Basics on composting can help you get familiarized with terms and techniques, or check out the links below for more composting ideas.

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More on Composting
Buy Green: Indoor Composters
Easy Indoor Composting: Bokashi + Worm Bin
No Yard? Here's How You Can Still Make and Use Compost
Assemble Your Own Windowfarm: Edible Urban Garden In A Kit (Video)
Composting Basics: Build a Compost Spinner
Compost Conundrum: Backyard Box, Indoor Bin Or A Can-O-Worms?