New green-tech brand extends growing season with a fully automated and app-connected greenhouse product which is designed and manufactured by hand in West Wales.
Two Cardigan-based entrepreneurs and garden enthusiasts – Rik Sellwood and Chris Tanner – have launched Harvst, a new green-tech company offering a range of smart, self-watering, climate controlled mini greenhouses.
The pair, who live in the village of Ferwig, West Wales, came together last year during the Covid pandemic to bring the Harvst concept to life. Both are passionate gardeners and wanted to share that passion with others and, at the same time, make the best use of reliable technology to automate the repetitive and less interesting parts of gardening.
Designed and manufactured by hand from their Cardigan HQ, the Harvst kit is ideal for those gardeners who want the self-sufficient benefits of growing their own produce and plants year-round, but who aren’t available to tend to their plants every day of the week.
Chris’s background is in technology and it is his experience and expertise as an engineer and software developer that has brought the Harvst concept to life, while Rik’s business acumen, particularly in sales and marketing, is being used to promote the greenhouses.
Rik said “Whilst many of us locally have the benefits of access to a garden or other land, we wanted to create an easier way of growing for those with limited space and time. The Harvst systems help people grow more.”
The befittingly named The Yard and The Terrace (both £680) are now on sale, with The Garden (£850), launching later this year. Each Harvst greenhouse either sits directly on the ground or, on a paved patio, timber deck or concrete/brick back yard, with or without a raised bed of the right size. The aluminium frames will withstand strong winds and all weathers. And, since there’s no need to walk inside them (like a traditional greenhouse), they’re space-efficient too, as the whole of the interior can be used for growing. (www.harvst.co.uk)
Unlike regular greenhouse and cold frames, the Harvst kit is ‘smart’. Either hooked up to the mains using a 240v cable, or solar panel powered, its clever control system and built-in irrigation unit keeps track of all the environmental conditions inside, sending information to a web-based app, which can be accessed on the user’s phone or computer. So, if plants need water, they are irrigated via sprayers and misters attached to a designated hose, water butt or rain collection fitting pump. When it gets too hot, the roof opens.
Heating and lighting units can be added, so that when it’s cold, a heater turns on and when it’s dark, lights come on (on the mains powered product).
From their online Harvst app owners can manage and monitor their box and add to their ‘grow diary’, detailing what they’ve planted and picked. The app will prompt users to take appropriate actions dependent on the plant type and stage of growth helping to grow plants better. Users anonymously share this data with Harvst, with the ultimate aim of creating a wider Harvst growing community – providing useful tips and information plus recommendations for the best watering and temperature settings based on what is being grown, where and when.
The product is already receiving positive reviews by local Welsh experts including Owen Harries – The Welsh Gardener – YouTube and Piers Lunt, Head Gardener at Tywi Gateway Trust, who have been trialling and blogging about a prototype product.
Flat packed, each model comes supplied with a premium cold frame, Harvst automation kit, mains power supply or solar panel, enabling the greenhouse to be assembled and connected to the house WiFi in around 60 minutes.
- The £680 Terrace model is designed to sit against a wall in a back yard or garden. Dimension: 2m wide, 0.6m deep and 1m high.
- The £680 Yard is great for growing taller vegetables (such as cordon tomatoes) and ideal for small spaces. Dimension: 1.2m wide, 0.6m deep, and 1.4m tall
- The £850 Garden will be ideal for larger spaces and features dual side access. Dimension: 2m wide, 1.2m deep and 1m high.