A device its inventor says has the ability to “green the world” will soon be at work along the Sonoma Overlook Trail.
The Groasis Waterboxx, named the 2010 Invention of the Year by “Popular Science,” will used by the Sonoma Ecology Center to sustain more than 200 new plants along the hillside.
Described as a “water battery” by its inventor, Pieter Hoff, the unit is a circular, reusable container that allows plants to thrive in even the most arid regions by harvesting water through condensation, not irrigation.
It is partially filled with water only one time, at planting, after which the waterboxx collects dew and rain, and wicks the moisture slowly to the plant’s roots. After the plant is established, the waterboxx is removed and can be reused elsewhere.
The waterboxx is being put to the test, with great success, around the world, including in Spain, Morocco, and Ethiopia through a sister project with Cittaslow USA. Locally, the waterboxx is being used by Mondavi Winery and Old Hill Vineyards in Sonoma Valley.
The Overlook Trail project will plant over 200 plants in 100 waterboxxes. Volunteers are invited to help prepare the site and plant trees and shrubs in the waterboxxes. Workdays are November 9, 10, 12, and 22. Volunteers should be prepared to work hard in rocky soil. To volunteer or learn more, contact Caitlin Cornwall at 322-1400.
In home gardens, waterboxxes are ideal for planting fruit, nut, or shade trees in hard-to-irrigate locations. After Thanksgiving, the units will be available for $30 (or 10 for $275) at Sonoma Garden Park on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.