Pubdate: Fri, 13 Jan 2017
Source: Sacramento Bee (CA)
Copyright: 2017 The Sacramento Bee
Author: Debbie Arrington


Uri Zeevi is used to skepticism. People hear about his Seedo indoor home
cultivator and they're astonished.

"Nobody has seen anything like this," he said from his office in Israel.
"It's really new, just coming onto the market."

But someday, indoor home cultivators may be as common as dishwashers or
backyard gas grills -- indispensable home appliances that changed the way
people live.

Without sunlight, outdoor space or experience, anyone could grow tomatoes,
strawberries, gourmet lettuce, herbs and, yes, cannabis year-round inside
a home cultivator.

OK, maybe this ranks more with wine fridges than dishwashers in terms of
popular appliances, but it's an intriguing idea.

"The goal of our company is to make growing plants easy and accessible to
anybody," said Zeevi, Seedo's president and CEO. "We also want to make it

The plant that potentially could make Seedo an instant hit is cannabis.
New laws in California and other states make home cultivation legal with

Initially, Zeevi and his cohorts planned to introduce Seedo for sale in
February. But after a demonstration video of the machine leaked out to the
public, they had to push back their release date to summer.

"One of the extras from the video posted it on his Facebook page and it
went viral," Zeevi said. "We were quite amazed by the response to that
exposure. We didn't have high expectations; we were planning on producing
low quantities. Now, we're completely renegotiating everything, so we'll
be able to meet initial demand."

Zeevi recently visited California to meet with potential manufacturers.
About the size of a mini-fridge, the Seedo home cultivator will be offered
online only by the company and cost more than $1,000, but the final price
tag is still being tweaked, too.

"California is a perfect match for our product," he said. "There's been a
lot of interest there."

Besides cannabis, indoor gardening -- particularly of food -- is on the
rise. It's a popular trend among millennials, who want fresh micro-greens
and favorite herbs grown in their own kitchens.

Other hydroponic devices are appealing to that market. For example, the
Urban Cultivator -- praised by Martha Stewart and used by her test kitchen
- -- grows eight varieties of herbs and micro-greens simultaneously indoors
in the same space as a 24-inch dishwasher. It's billed as a "fully
automated kitchen garden" and costs about $2,800.

While marijuana has given Seedo a lot of preliminary buzz, Zeevi envisions
his home cultivator as a more universal growing machine, producing
tomatoes and peppers in winter or cilantro and strawberries in August. Its
interior lights are more intense than those used for herbs and
micro-greens, allowing it to grow flowering plants with success.

"It grows tomatoes very nice," Zeevi said. "From seed, a cherry tomato
will start bearing after 60 to 90 days. Then, you can harvest 15 to 20
ripe tomatoes every day for 60 days. Strawberries are great, too; they're
fresh, full of flavor and (grown) without pesticides. It's foolproof."

The idea behind Seedo started with lettuce, he explained. The cultivator's
inventors started in the hydroponic lettuce business, producing thousands
of heads indoors under lights in controlled conditions.

What if that same concept could be scaled down for home use, one
technician wondered. After much experimentation, the Seedo home cultivator
was born.

"Growing hydroponically, it's science," Zeevi explained. "It's very
precise. -- This is a machine, so there's no place for mistakes."

The self-contained unit needs little attention, he said. Through a tube
system, water is added as needed without opening the door or disturbing
the plants. Fans circulate fresh air into the unit, so plants can breathe.

"Seedo is hermetically closed, so disease and pests can't get to plants
when they're inside (the unit)," he said. "You just leave them alone. The
plants are saying, 'Don't bother me; I want to grow!' "

All the gardener has to do is add water -- and wait for harvest.
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