This is a really cool idea. Yagil was looking for a way to grow food on the space station and came up with the perfect balcony garden.
Yagil’s technique relied on floral bricks made from phenolic foam, that familiar green and spongy material which, placed at the bottom of a vase, is used for holding the stems of cut flowers.
Yagil, who worked for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, believed that his floral brick growing technique could be used in a space station, where room for growing plants is limited. Each of Yagil’s plants requires only 1 square foot of growing space.
Yagil’s method results in incredibly rapid growth. A 4-inch tomato seedling, for example, can grow into a 4-foot tall, fruit-laden specimen in only 60 days.
To grow any plant according to this technique, you will need to take a 3-by-4-by-9-inch floral brick. Remove a plug from one of its short ends that is equal in size to the root ball of the seedling you wish to plant. A seedling that has produced two to four leaves – available at the nursery in six- or eight-packs – is perfect.
Wrap the brick, except for the bottom end, in black plastic and secure it with strapping tape. Stand the brick up in a 1-gallon (6-inch diameter) plastic container – the kind you get when you buy a 1-gallon plant at the nursery – with holes in the bottom. Keep the brick stable by running pieces of strapping tape up one side of the container, across the brick, and down the other side.
Place a deep, water-retaining dish under the container. Keep the brick wet by filling the dish. The dish is filled as soon as the water in it evaporates, as often as once a day in summer. Liquid fertilizer is added to the water every third time the dish is filled.
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I wonder if you couldn’t just stand the brick up in a water dish and put some rocks around it to keep it stable? Or place the brick in a pretty flower pot and toss some gravel at the bottom to hold it in place and upright? Totally cool and a great way to have a garden in a very small space.