Our mission is to help you grow more.

For fresher food.

Grow more greens.
Grow more salad.
Grow more vegtables.

Eat fresh, all year round.

For our environment.

Fewer food miles.
Less nasty pesticides.
Less single use plastic.

It’s better to grow your own.

For you and your family.

For your health & wellbeing.
To teach your kids about growing.
To engage with nature.

Grow more, together.

Our story

Harvst began on the wild and windy coast of West Wales in 2019 when Chris, an electronics engineer by trade, was trying to get more from his veg garden and polytunnel. After some aborted attempts at large, dangerous wind generators, many broken solar panels and a semi heated polytunnel, it was clear that a smaller, better insulated space was needed. Why try to heat all the air in a polytunnel when only the plants need to be warm?

Back to the drawing board.

Being in a rugged environment, we knew that our vegetables only grow well when the weather is kind.

And only in the summer.

However, if it’s too hot and dry, everything struggles because we really don’t have time to water it all.

If we go away for a few days, we have to hope for rain or ask a neighbour to water for us.

We often get strong winds that stunt and slow the growth of many plants.

If it’s too wet, things just get soggy or don’t germinate.

So…

We decided to help our plants along a little, and started by building a small greenhouse / cold frame around one of the raised beds. We also added a self-watering system to feed them just the right amount of water on a regular basis, and a self-opening lid for hot days.

A couple of early prototypes

Success was immediate (well, as far as it can be, when plants take weeks to grow). Chard, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, salad, onions, carrots – everything thrived in the protected environment and grew much faster than their equivalents out in the garden. And some veg even grew better than it does in the polytunnel.

It was great to see how much can be grown in a small space when the conditions are right. You don’t need a big garden. You don’t need a full-size greenhouse. You don’t even need to be at home to do the watering.

The following months saw the development of smaller, tougher, aluminium framed twinwall polycarbonate mini greenhouses, which over time become more and more automated. Self watering was a key requirement, which was viable on solar power off grid in the back of the plot. Heating and grow lights were possible for the mini greenhouses nearer a power source.

A smart microcontroller was added to run the show, along with WiFi connectivity, data logging and soil moisture sensors.

An early prototype basking in the sunshine

The business was launched in October 2020 with two models of greenhouse. We moved out of Chris’ barn and workshop into a nearby campsite’s spare barn. Yes, it was damp, windy and cramped, but it carried us through until Spring 2021, when we moved to a dedicated workshop/unit in central Cardigan town.

Spring also saw demand for our unique automated watering in larger spaces – traditional greenhouses and polytunnels – so we developed a standalone smart watering system; WaterMate.

In Autumn 2021 we launched a new, modular growing system called Sprout – a development of our first greenhouses with some new, more cost effective and compact sizes, inline with our aim to make gardening more accessible to those without much space or time.

Growing is good for you, in so many ways.

growing salad mini greenhouse

Growing your own food is immensely satisfying. Whether it’s feeding your family all year from a large garden, or just adding a splash of intense, fresh flavour to your pizza from some window-sill basil.

With our mini (and micro) greenhouses, it’s possible to grow a significant amount of greens in not a lot of space, and with our 4-Season models, you can do it all year round.

We’re really excited to be able to share the sense of achievement and pride in growing your own food.

Go for it.

 

A platform for learning.

Something that’s grown alongside the business is my daughter. We are lucky to have space to grow our own food, so she’s always been able to wander out into the garden and graze whenever she likes.

She loves greens. She’ll devour the kale and spinach on her plate before anything else is touched. She’ll ask for fresh beans in her school lunch box over a packet of crisps, any day.

She’s so proud to be eating “home grown” as she’s been involved with it, every step of the way.

But what’s been interesting, and something I didn’t expect, was how much she has engaged with the technology and “magic” of the greenhouses that sit out there in the garden, opening and closing in the heat, watering themselves, turning lights on and off.

I’ve discovered that our mini greenhouses are the perfect platform to help children (and adults) learn more about the environment around them, as well as the science of growing food in a controlled situation. Not only that, they are a great way to provide a real-world platform to link with curriculum subjects like data analysis, graphs, mechanics, electronics, sustainability and more.

We will soon be launching a programme for schools and parents, with the goal of weaving all these good things into each other.

Thanks for reading, and I’d love to have you involved in the journey. Give me a shout.

Chris Tanner, Founder

 

 

Grow more, together.