Smart Garden 9 by Click & Grow
Having an herb garden is one of those “life hacks” that makes everything you cook so much better. While I’ve always aspired to have a little garden of my own, my severe lack of a green thumb (I’ve killed every plant I’ve ever had) has made it quite difficult. So I jumped at the chance to test out the Click & Grow Smart Garden 9.
According to their website, Click & Grow is a “community of local fresh food growers” who offer indoor gardens and scientifically developed food growing systems worldwide. Their indoor gardens provide “zero-effort gardening solutions” through technological advances. We’re talking scientifically engineered soil, specially crafted LED lamps and a water tank that allows the plants enough hydration with only one fill-up required every week or two.
Assembling the Smart Garden 9 is easy, providing you take all the pieces out and read all the instructions first. There’s the base (water tank), the arms for the lights, the light bar and the plants. Put it all together according to the instructions and fill the base with water.
The seeds arrive in soil-filled capsules that follow the same concept as coffee capsules. The Smart Garden 9 has places for, you guessed it, nine plants. The unit comes with three each of green lettuce, basil and mini tomatoes. Again, clicking them into place is very easy; I highly suggest putting a note to let yourself know which is which when they start growing (something I forgot to do when I started).
The LED lamp runs on a 16-hours on/8-hours off cycle; plugging it in marks the start of that cycle. The lamp is quite bright – about as strong as a 75W bulb. If you have the Smart Garden 9 in a spot that you can see from your bedroom, you may want to wait until the start of your day to plug it in. I’d plugged ours in at 10pm, so it lit up our entire apartment all night. Not ideal. Luckily the power went out one morning and reset the unit for me.
It took about three days to start seeing life in my plant pods, a week for them to push off the clear plastic domes that protected them in their infancy, four weeks for the lettuce to be edible, six or so for the basil and then there were the tomatoes. When I was heading into the start of month four and we had one red tomato. Singular. As it turned out, the tomatoes weren’t actually getting enough light (the basil and lettuce was crowding them too much). I cleared out the unit, trimmed back the plants and by week 16 there were several tiny green tomatoes growing.
The only criticism I have for the Click & Grow Smart Garden 9 is that the plants don’t come with more instructions. The product pages for each plant does have some minimal care instructions, but it doesn’t really explain what to do once the plants reach full growth. Or after. Luckily, Google exists.
Update: The Click & Grow website now has a “Plant Care” section. I’m very excited about the video for transplanting your plants.
Overall, this little unit gets all the stars from me. As an added bonus, the company will plant a tree for each Smart Garden unit sold.
I’m already picking out more plant capsules for when my tomatoes are done.