To fill the void, Kumar started growing plants indoors using hydroponics.
Kumar studied cognitive science at the University of California in Los Angeles before moving to the East Coast. Last summer, having established himself as a software engineer and taking up residence in Williamsburg, he took summer classes at New York University for recreational purposes, where he met his business partner, Michael Doherty, a grad student at the school.
The two decided to develop Bitponics, a hydroponics monitoring system that includes an Internet database to help growers monitor the nutrient and pH levels and other needs of their indoor gardens.
“The issue with gardening for a lot of people is that they just don't know how to keep the plants alive,” Kumar said. “What we're creating is a system to make hydroponic gardening just a lot easier for people, to let them know what they're doing every step of the way.”
The pair teamed up to make the process easier for growers, particularly New Yorkers who favor hydroponics as many don't have yards, with Kumar handling the software and Doherty constructing the hardware.
“This whole urban gardening concept is a concept that's become more and more incorporated in the general awareness,” he said. “People have an awareness now that it is beneficial to grow your own food.”
To foster the collective awareness, the Web-based portion of Bitponics includes a domain for users to share and swap gardening ideas in an online hydroponics community.
The team so far developed several rough prototypes, but are raising funds on a Kickstarter to develop polished prototypes and secure manufacturing.
For more information about the product, the Kickstarter page.