The Printworks has rehomed a one of a kind hydroponics system previously unveiled at Science in the City, leading Manchester to be a more innovative and eco-friendly city.
Enabling growth without soil, the environmentally friendly system consists of a water reservoir and pump that circulates a nutrient rich solution to the plant roots, and back to the reservoir, and is the first of its kind to be used in a commercial setting in Manchester. As well as on top of a building!
The specific system installed on The Printworks rooftop uses solar panels to power the pump. Only a small bit of water is needed along with some nutrient, and the growth will happen! It uses up to 90% less water than regular growing and can result in higher yields and faster growing plants.
The vegetable patch is already growing many varieties of lettuce, including pak choi, as well as chilli peppers and strawberries. Once the team has fully got to grips with the system it will allow them to experiment with more products such as tomatoes, aubergines and herbs.
The award-winning urban retreat, which was installed in 2012, is also home to Happy Mondays’ dancer Bez’s beehives, a wild flower meadow, orchard, herb garden and a unique hotel providing shelter and habitat for around 100 common ground beetles.
As well as housing creepy-crawlies and fauna, the project has also seen thousands of pounds raised for homeless charity The Booth Centre and community supporters Forever Manchester, through the sale of its limited edition honey from Bez’s beehives. The project, which is a collaboration with the Hard Rock Cafe, has so far seen two yields of honey with labels designed by the artist ‘Mancsy’, with some going for as much as £75 to keen collectors.
Centre Director for The Printworks, Fred Booth, said: “We’re are very proud to be the first to be taking on an eco-friendly system for the rooftop, especially within a business environment, and hope more will take our lead. Our rooftop has had a vegetable patch for years, so it’s great to be able to keep it up to date.”
Jon Ross, Director for Sow the City, comments; “We are excited to be able to get involved in growing food in such a unique garden right here in the city centre. The Printworks’ garden has been home to many different innovative techniques and systems and we can’t wait to see the results of our one of a kind system.”
Sow the City is an award winning social enterprise based in Manchester. Established in 2009 with a few packets of seeds and some compost, it is now the leading specialist food-growing company in the city. http://www.sowthecity.org/.