Aponix Newsletter 2022-08 – New: Wall System, Tray Set, City XL, Prices

[Link to the original newsletter]

Many things happened at aponix since our last newsletter in March 2021. Aponix has been very active to create new solutions that you can find more on in this newsletter but also had the time to sharpen the definition what aponix’ purpose actually is – create component based urban farming equipment and set up an ecosystem of users and product partners.

New components – Wall System, Tray Set, City XL, Prices:

1. Foreword from Marco
2. New living WallSystem
3. New Young Plant Tray Set – Available on Amazon
4. Extended City XL Substrate Barrel
5. Solution Brochures
6. Special antimicrobial parts / ESA Spark Funding project
7. Pricing and Working with Product and Implementation Partners
8. Selected articles
9. Book a Demo


1. Foreword from Marco

Hey Growers, Urban Farming Enthusiasts and Friends!

With time the aponix’ mission has become clearer and can eventually be defined as:
a) Design of urban farming components that are not being provided by the normal professional horticulture sector.

b) Provide inspiration to interested stakeholders on multiple levels to start thinking in a systemic way on how and where to integrate and use more plants in their space.

c) Coordinate and facilitate the creative process from inspiration to technical interest, validation of potential use cases and support of collaboration between the users and product partners.

v3-6plants-per-level_01Interestingly this very much reminded me of the way successful open source software tools are developed in the software development space just around plants and with less ego.

One thing that is really funny with regard to my personal entrepreneurial journey here is, that with the first solution I have designed and brought into series production – the Vertical Barrel / 3D-NFT I started with the most complex and technical solution that needs a lot of explanation, good implementation planning and thus is also not easy to be sold in the needed amounts to drive a startup on its own. It is available in Version 3 and has been improved and extended into a real vertical alternative to racks.
wall-system-setupSo I added the living Wall System in 2021. With that aponix made an important side step covering new plantable area with a simpler and more widely usable solution. It still requires explanation and implementation planning and can be used in larger and creative projects. Like with the Vertical Barrel there is quite some variability hidden in the design to promote and support many use cases. And it is also usable in tiny setups for the prosumer and is easier to understand and install by the DIY user.

1010-traysEarly 2022 and there is another solution! This time a Young Plant Tray Set. I discovered that we do not have standard sized trays in the EU and usable ways to grow young plants with substrate and also for your soilless systems including our Vertical Barrels if you do not have a flood table and a greenhouse at hand. I also wanted to cover microgreens really well. Professional horticulture equipment to grow young plants is not well accessible within the EU. Usually you get the cheapest plastic or you have to buy a palette.

And the best: Our partner EcoSprout is starting to sell the elements via Amazon FBA in the EU. See section 3 for more.

2022 half way through and there is the next project, this time funded by the ESA Spark Funding program to bring space technology into new areas such as horticulture. See item 6 for more.
toolingAll components that aponix designs combine a ton of features spiced with the renowned German engineering. This has only become possible through a key cooperation of aponix with our local German manufacturer. The engineering from CAD draft through detail iterations, complex assemblies and simulations, the quality of the production setup, creation of the tooling, material selection and logistics have developed into a key asset for aponix that will probably be used for even more solutions to come. As a consequence I get involved in new product or solution designs more often also of other players.

custom-barrelApart from collecting new ideas for solutions, coming up with potential designs, validating them and finally bringing them into large series production, my second most important focus became inspiring urban farmers by showing them the variability and modularity of my designs and the creative ways other users use these solutions even finding completely new use cases. I think part of it is the right timing but also the insights that people get from discussing their potential and possible applications and solutions freely in a playful and inspirational way. I am convinced that the real innovation is created in these brainstorming sessions with pragmatic users. Aponix just provides some solid modular infrastructure components for them.
lvgMost of the technology needed to grow more plants in the urban and peri-urban areas is already existing and usually used by commercial growers. Once we learn to combine proven methods, equipment with the awareness that more vegetation and hyperlocal edible plants are able to solve a multitude of planetary and social issues, my hope is that users will come up with new ways and formats naturally. This is where the concept of the component based urban farming equipment of aponix tries to be a catalyst: Once interested users are given modular equipment that can be implemented into the urban context well and policy makers and communities give room and incentivize participatory projects, we will see a multitude of creative innovation.

As always… Grow as many hyperlocal plants as possible ^^


2. Living Wall System

wall-elementsWe were wondering what could also be a good and mostly vacant spot to grow more plants in urban areas. Walls and fences were the ones that caught our attention. As we were looking into different types of existing wall systems, it became obvious that there are many functional requirements to be met in order to make it a usable and simple to maintain solution. An ideal aponix play ground to add some modularity.
The system uses a Module element that provides an optional liquid reservoir separate from plant and substrate and a Pot Insert that makes replacing plants easy. Modules work like shingles and will cover a wall in the form of rows and columns. The top most row is covered with a Lid element to hide the irrigation.

wall-system-terrace-03Here is a video that shows how the liquid cascades through the levels.

Some more properties:
Rows are mounted onto horizontal rails or wood (simple example).
Material is V0 flame resistant PP to make indoor use safer.
The Insert holds two standard supermarket basil pots.
Each Pot Insert can be equipped with a 4mm stainless steel trellis.
Additional drainage and irrigation lines with fresh liquid can be used in between rows for high walls.
Substrate selection is flexible according to the conditions.

[Click for more details]

3. Young Plant Tray Set

All plant production begins with strong and healthy young plants. That is why we wanted to provide a solution to grow susbtrate based and soilless seedlings with a set of 1010 and 1020 trays. We also wanted to cover microgreens well.



  • Function first: Shape for stability, best aeration, efficiency and usability.
  • All elements are heavy duty, from recycled raw materials and recyclable.
  • Made in Germany.
  • Can dry when stacked.
  • Exact 1010/1020 inch measures.
  • Make your own holes as needed with drill or soldering iron.

ecosprout_amazonFor end-users the trays will be available in packs via Amazon from within the EU starting with these countries any day now: Czeck Republic, Poland, Germany.
beer_with_marcoPlease support our sales partner EcoSprout with their visibility on Amazon by looking for the trays and providing a product review. With that you would be supporting aponix and the urban farmig component mission. If you consider meeting me at a future trade show or anywhere else I owe you a big drink for that ;). It will be available any day and I will post it to my LinkedIn network.

[6-pack of 1020 Trays on Amazon]
[4-pack of 1010 Trays on Amazon]

4. Extended City XL Substrate Barrel


city-xl-partsThe City XL is the larger and robust version of the normal Substrate based Vertical Barrel. This version is thicker (3.3mm) and provides areas to combine the parts using rivets or cutting screws horizontally and vertically. It uses 9 ring segments per level and has a total diameter of 95cm.
The elements require professional integration and always start from a locally made metal base. We can also provide measures for custom closed level parts.

There will be a completely closed part as with the smaller Substrate Barrel, but it will have a replacable area where a region or city can get their own logo injection molded into the elements. This could be done for individual production batches. With that, material and color can be selected individualy too.

There will also be an optional Planting Pot Insert, that is inserted from behind / inside. This simplifies organisation of the internal logic and provides room for irrigation and technical equipment.

We are looking for implementation partners and cities/regions. Let us know what you think!

5. Solution Brochures

icon-pdf-verticalbarrelVertical Barrel / 3D-NFT in Version 3 – Can be run in standalone mode or chained into multiple units with irrigation via central reservoir. Accessorie spot light:
Reusable Plug Pot with optional metal trellis holder.
Netafim irrigation adapter for pressure irrigation.

icon-pdf-wallsystemLiving Wall System – Modules that can be flexibly arranged in rows and columns. Each Module provides its own reservoir separate from the substrate. The plants are inserted into a removable thinsulated Pot Insert. Recirculating setup possible.

icon-pdf-traysYoungplant Tray Set – As of July 2022 the 1020 Trays and the 1010 Trays are available. The Substrate Cell Insert, the 2″ Netpot Holder and the 1010 Dome and the 1020 Dome will follow.

6. Special antimicrobial parts

Yay! Aponix has been supported by ESA Space Solutions and the ESA Technology Broker Germany through the ESA Spark Funding initiative. We are building some Vertical Barrels and Wall System setups that are being made with the antimicrobial compound AGXX from our technology partner Heraeus. The setups will then be tested, examined and compared to the normal version of the solutions. The focus will be on biofilm and how it will affect cleaning procedures and plant development. Especially when we are in open urban farming setups, contamination and sanitation can become an issue. Reducing or even eliminating biofilm on all surfaces in a soilless system might not even only speed up cleaning but also save chemicals, time and reduce waste.


Let us know if you are interested in this topic or like to trial such an experimental Wall System or Vertical Barrel. If the trials in Q1/Q2 2023 reveal some promising aspects for antimicrobial surfaces in hydrponics/terra ponics, we will definitely think about offering such a version within our regular product range.

7. Pricing and Working with Product and Implementation Partners

We are often asked how aponix does sales. In short, we ship to anybody who requests parts.

Preferably we work B2B with product or implementation partners. It is important to us that it is always clear to the outside world who is the designer and manufacturer of the components and who is the owner of the product/solution that implements aponix parts.
Product partners do usually not sell individual aponix elements, but rather their own individual and more finished solutions or at least DIY sets implementing these elements well under their own solution branding to their own customer base independently. We love to see that such solutions implement our components in a ready-to-use and targeted way. The idea is that the partners’ solutions are unique and adapted to a target group that we do not need to discuss exclusivity for the bare components. Let us know if you would be interested to brainstorm some potential solution ideas.

One thing that is criticized often, is that there are no prices on our website. There is a price list that you can download. We just saw in the past that especially end-users do not understand the modularity, which parts are required in a setup and the implications of setting up a lot of grow spaces and that our offer is international and B2C/B2B. Depending on the buyer’s status and location the gross price might be different than the net EXW Heidelberg/DE prices from our list. BTW, prices have been stable since 2017. We are making the parts in Germany always using the most ideal material. With that, the part prices are very reasonable and compared with what users get and especially other solutions well and fair priced.

[Download our price list]

8. Selected Articles

2022-03 Ways to grow more plants in urban areas
~ Once interested users are given modular equipment that can be implemented into the urban context well and policy makers and communities give room and incentivize participatory projects, we will see a multitude of creative innovation. ~

2021-08 Have an Idea? – Aponix and The Entrepreneurs Providing Solutions
~ It was at this point that I started to re-evaluate how I actually wanted to be living and contributing. I set up my own aquaponics farm from scratch in a rented basement and just learnt ‘by doing’. ~

2021-09 Innovative Urban Micro Farming Solutions
~ We’ll see many more green areas, together with local production of edibles in urban areas, and more citizens participating actively in the maintenance of this jungle. ~

9. Book a Demo

If you are curious and intersted in our components or how aponix is doing things a bit differently or if you are interested to learn more on becoming a product/implementation partner you can always book a demo with Marco using our book-a-demo page: [Book personal video demo]
Please make sure to select your time zone from the dropdown and let us know what elements you are interested in.