Remember Plant Rooms, a heady prefabricated "bolt-on" garden shed concept for high-rise-dwelling horticulturists? 
Although I do love that design — the aim is improve “the quality of living, reducing energy and water use, and generally making the building more sustainable — here’s a gardening solution also geared towards greenthumbed residents of apartment towers that’s decidedly a bit more tangible (and a touch less frightening): Skyfarms from German designer Manuel Dreesmann.
Conceived for high-risers with balconies that aren’t quite large enough to accommodate traditional planter boxes (you’ve got to put that lounge chair and portable grill somewhere, right?), the Skyfarm concept is basically a souped-up, self-sufficiency-promoting take on ornamental hanging baskets. A Skyfarm consists of a series of Skypots, hanging acrylic white pots with transparent domed tops that, when attached the ceiling of a balcony, create a striking visual effect by seemingly floating in mid-air.
Each Skypot includes a retractable handle and balancer system so that when you need to tend to your veg, a simple pull on the handle will lower each pot to a reasonable height. When you’re done, another tug on the handle will send the Skypot back up into the sky. And this is smart: the handles can be labeled so that you can easily identify the plants growing in each Skypot without having to go around lowering and raising in search of your salad greens.
Dreesmann explains the idea behind Skyfarms:
We are facing big global issues in the next decades.
Our own consumption of energy and materials give by mother nature is way too much to keep our global system running in the future as it is at the moment. We as the first generation of its kind have to make a global change to reduce our consumption. In order to this we have to grow our food as near to our homes as possible to reduce the negative environmental impact by transportation. More and more people become citizens and so by now there are more people living in urban than in rural areas. So how can we provide a solution for the minimalistic space that’s available for them to grow food?
With the growth of cities the height of the buildings is raising. And so there are less gardening spaces but more balconies. So my idea is to use this minimal space on the balcony to grow your own food. But most of the balconies offers small space for gardening. The space on the floor is mostly needed for placing your chair and tables. But they offer a lot of unused space above your head. This is the space for the skyfarm!
Cool stuff. Obviously, a Skyfarm wouldn’t fly if you’re dealing with a ceiling-less balcony or terrace. I also do wonder about how the Skypots would hold up when things get blustery. Sure, the domed tops do provide some amount of protection and prevent spillage. Plus, you could always lower the pots to shield them from high winds. But what about when things really get wild n' windy? What if you're not home to take preventative measures? In this case, I'm guessing you might have some nasty, arugula-based carnage on your hands. 

Via [TreeHugger]
Images: Manuel Dreesmann

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Skyfarms: Arugula in the sky, I can grow twice as high
From designer Manuel Dreesmann comes the Skyfarm concept, an ingenious gardening system for residents of high-rise apartment towers who don't have the space for