While I've never really had a green thumb, the idea of being able to easily grow my own vegetables and herbs is really attractive -- at least I'd know how exposed they were to fertilisers, pesticides and other interference. But I live in a small apartment without even so much as a flower ledge, which leaves me with very slim plant-rearing possibilities.
Electrolux's alternative: VEGE, a new appliance that allows you to grow your own vegetables through hydroponics, i.e. by using mineral solutions instead of soil. I like that it looks sorta like a refrigerator, which means that despite its height, it won't stick out like a sore thumb in the kitchen. The VEGE can hold up to 40 plants, with a digital display that helps you to keep an eye on how each row of plants is doing and how much longer you'll have to keep watering them (or refreshing the mineral solution anyway) before you can taste the fruits of your labor. That's essential for someone like me, who isn't exactly attuned to the natural rhythms of plant-growing.
I suppose the design of the appliance, by Thai student Teeravit Hanharutaivan for Electrolux Design Lab, could be a little slicker, but the VEGE is still at the prototype stage. Maybe they'll come up with smaller models too, so that people with small kitchens can still fit one in a nook somewhere.
Gadget Candy: Electrolux VEGE - Basil and green beans on tap_
Electrolux Design Lab_