Gardening with our new Modbed+ system

Our mission is to make composting a part of everyday life. With our new garden system, Modbed, we’re closer than ever to achieving that goal for everyone living in a small home.

What a whirlwind! We launched our new garden system for small spaces on Indiegogo this week, and the response has been the biggest we’ve ever seen.

80% funded in just 48 hours, the outpour of support for our new compost solution for people living in small homes has been amazing.

But what is Modbed? How does it work, and how much food can you really grow in it? We’re going to answer all those questions in this post. But first, we want to tell you the reasons we decided to create Modbed in the first place – and the future we see for it. 

Why we created Modbed+

We’ve always known there needed to be a Subpod option for people living in apartments. Subpod Mini was our first step towards opening up mess-free composting to people with small spaces, but it didn’t solve all the issues.

The problem is that Subpod Mini in our Grow Bed is amazing for anyone with a bit of bare ground in a backyard to set up a garden on – but our Grow Beds are large and have an open base, which isn’t ideal for balconies or concrete patios.

Example of Subpod Mini in a Grow Bed on grass.

We needed to get Mini up off the ground and into a more compact bed – one that would work in any outdoor space. The idea started with just a raised garden bed. But we knew it could be so much more.

We decided to create a new kind of garden system that could compost and grow food year round, even in snowy climates. So that’s exactly what we did!

Modbed is the beginning of a new kind of gardening system from Subpod. It will be compatible with an accessory range designed specifically to enhance your small space growing experience! Our Trellis, Greenhouse, Insect Net and Grow Light attachments are already in development and will be released in 2022.

Artist rendition of the Modbed accessories already in development.

You might have noticed the little ‘plus’ we add onto Modbed’s name in titles. It’s there as a symbol for the future that’s to come – for all the extra ways you’ll be able to make Modbed the perfect fit for your home!

How Modbed+ works

Subpod Mini is the heart of the system. Without it, Modbed is just a high quality raised garden bed with accessory compatibility. But with Subpod Mini, Modbed becomes a closed-loop, self-fertilising garden system that grows food for you.

Here’s a little breakdown of how it works:

An animated example of the process Modbed uses to power the garden with your waste.

  • Compost worms live underground inside the Subpod Mini in Modbed

  • When you feed your food scraps to Mini, microbes appear and begin to break down the waste, which attracts the worms

  • The worms feed on both the microbes and the partially broken down waste, and then create ‘worm castings’ – an odourless, highly nutritious form of compost that looks, feels and smells like moist soil

  • Compost worms are curious, topsoil-dwelling creatures and will also naturally explore the soil inside Modbed

  • When they explore, the stir up the soil and spread particles of compost through it, which boosts the fertility and water absorption of the garden

  • Any plants growing in Modbed thrive with very little effort, thanks to the healthy, moist soil created by the worms

You can help the worms out by taking the compost made in Mini and spreading it at the base of your vegetables to keep them even happier – or use the compost on your houseplants, windowsill veggie planters and anything else you’re growing in your small space!

Getting started with Modbed+

To start, you’ll assemble your Modbed on your balcony or courtyard and then fill it with soil, burying Subpod Mini either in the centre of the bed or at one end. We tend to use the centre, because it helps the worms distribute the nutrients in the compost more evenly.

Once your Subpod Mini is buried and Modbed is full of soil, you can plant in your seedlings and get your compost worms to Mini. This process is exactly the same for Subpod Mini when it’s in our Grow Bed – browse the Getting Started courses on our knowledge base to see more.

The best part about Modbed for anyone living in an apartment is that you don’t need to keep hauling bags of fertiliser up the stairs to keep your garden alive. Modbed makes all the fertiliser it’ll ever need right on your balcony – no more nursery trips!

Growing food in Modbed+

This is the biggest question we get asked about Modbed, especially from beginner gardeners: How much can you really grow in it?

Modbed was made to be compact, so it does look small! But the thing about self-fertilising systems is that they can support a lot more vegetables in a small space than a regular garden can.

An example of how productive self-fertilising beds using Subpod's are, taken from @happycomposters on Instagram:

"There’s a @subpod in there somewhere, I swear! One of the benefits of composting with the Subpod
is that the plants in the garden around your Subpod are fertilized by the worms travelling in
and out of the worm bin. So you wind up with monster-sized plants!"

Here are a few tricks to maximising the growing space in Modbed:

  • Plant ‘come-again’ crops that will regrow after being picked, such as - Kale, lettuce, basil, coriander, spinach, beetroot (for the greens), bok choy, parsley and more

  • Companion planting helps to maximise yield in your garden too, so pair your veggies with other plants that they grow well with - Tomatoes with basil, coriander with parsley or dill, beans with peas or lettuce

  • Expand your growing area by planting crops that are happy to drape over the edge of your bed - Strawberries, some squash varieties, a grape vine that will run along your railing

  • Grow microgreens in your bed to have a 1 - 2 week turnover-rate between planting and harvesting your greens

  • Plant perennials, if appropriate for your climate, that will grow year round for non-stop harvesting - Oregano, thyme, rosemary

With our coming trellis attachment, you’ll also be able to more than double the growing space in Modbed by planting vertical growing vegetables like beans, peas, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers and many more!

An example of the growing space available in Modbed with Subpod Mini, before adding a Trellis.

Modbed was made to make natural composting in small spaces simple and smell-free. Being able to grow organic food in it is a wonderful bonus, and small gardens can be a great way to get started without getting overwhelmed! We all start somewhere – Modbed just makes taking the first step so much easier.

Back us on Indiegogo!

If you support our mission to make composting a part of everyday life, back us on Indiegogo! With you help, we can end food waste in cities for good.

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