I have a confession to make. My thumb is any colour but green. In fact, it’s so “un-green” that plants die almost instantly when they are in my presence. Add to that the fact that I live in a city that is known for how much it rains, and in an urban apartment with a minuscule balcony that gets blasted by sun for most of the day and it’s safe to say that gardening and I are not the best of friends.
That said, I’ve tried to grow herbs on my balcony for years now, and for years those herbs have done little more than sprout and die. That’s why I was beyond excited to give the Click and Grow Smart Garden a test drive.
What is the Click & Grow Smart Garden?
The Click & Grow Smart Garden is an ideal solution for people like me who want to grow herbs, fruit and flowers, but either don’t have a back yard, or lack a green thumb. Originating from the Estonian Island of Hiiumaa, which is one of the cleanest places on Earth, the Smart Garden allows you to grow a wide assortment of herbs and veggies indoors year-round, with or without natural sunlight.
Dubbed by Click & Grow as “the kitchen garden for modern life,” the Smart Garden is exactly that. You simply fill the tank, plug it in, and wait for your garden to grow. As of right now, with the Smart Garden, you can grow thyme, wild strawberries, peppermint, mini tomatoes, chili peppers, moss rose, and basil.
Unboxing and Set Up of the Smart Garden
I have to admit, I was quite intrigued with the idea of growing fresh herbs in my kitchen, and was even more intrigued by what the Smart Garden looked like out of the box. In the box you get the Smart Garden itself with its grow light, two lamp arm extensions to use once your plants start to grow bigger, three plastic domes, three basil refills (aka capsules), and a quick start guide.
Setting up the Smart Garden is beyond easy. You simply open the package of basil capsules, or capsules of whichever herb or fruit you intend to grow, insert the soil capsules in the cavities in the garden, cover each capsule with a plastic dome, fill the reservoir with water, plug the Smart Garden in, and then wait. To be perfectly honest, it all felt far too easy!
The Smart Garden in Use
When I first opened the basil capsules, I had reservations as to whether or not they would sprout. I mean, the soil looked dry, and I had no idea how long they had been hidden beneath their protective packaging. But, I did as instructed, and popped the soil capsules into the Smart Garden, covered them with the plastic domes that create a greenhouse effect, filled the reservoir with water, and plugged the Garden into an outlet in my kitchen.
The Smart Garden lamp illuminated within a second of my plugging it into the outlet. Having only skimmed the quick start guide, I wasn’t sure whether or not I had to unplug the Garden at certain times of the day so my little basil seeds would flourish, but as it turns out, the Smart Garden actually starts running the second you plug it in, and has a built in timer that cycles between 16 hours of light and 8 hours of no light.
The light acts as a regulator so you don’t need to concern yourself with positioning the Smart Garden near a window, or with what the temperature is outside. It literally does all the work for you.
I plugged my Click & Grow Smart Garden in on May 8, and over the past two weeks have watched these little pods of dirt turn in to adorable bunches of basil. Here’s some excerpts from the Smart Garden diary I kept over the past 14 days:
- Day 1: It’s been a full 24 hours since I put the three basil capsules into the Click & Grow, and not surprisingly, I’m not seeing any sprouts.
Temperature outside: 10-degrees
Temperature inside: 22-degrees
Growth: Nothing visible yet
- Day 3: It’s May 11 and it is raining like mad outside. In fact, we got almost 20mm of rain in the past 12 hours. Interestingly though, my basil is already starting to sprout!Temperature outside: 10-degrees
Temperature inside: 22-degrees
Growth: Starting to sprout!
- Day 4: It’s amazing the difference a day makes. In less than 24 hours these little basil plants went from tiny sprouts to much more substantial sprouts! Temperature outside: 14-degrees Temperature inside: 24-degrees Growth: Sprouts are making their presence known!
- Day 5: Ok, this is insane. These little basil plants are growing like weeds! I know that’s what’s supposed to happen when you grow things, but me and my “non-green-thumb” are beyond impressed and frankly shocked with how quickly these soil capsules have flourished into plants.
Temperature outside: 14-degrees
Temperature inside: 24-degrees
Growth: Sprouts have blossomed into tiny little plants.
- Day 7: The sprouts continue to grow and are now close to touching the top of the plastic domes. There is also quite a bit of condensation on the domes, which is pretty cool to see because you know some amazing things are happening … and if I could remember what I learned in high school biology about photosynthesis I could actually articulate what those “things” are. Temperature outside: 13-degrees Temperature inside: 26-degrees (the window I usually keep cracked in my sauna of an apartment was closed) Growth: Sprouts are almost hitting the top of the plastic domes.
- Day 9: The sprouts are getting bigger and bigger by the day and I’m pretty sure I’ll have to remove the plastic domes in the next day or two because the basil is starting to look a little squished.Temperature outside: 16-degrees
Temperature inside: 25-degrees
Growth: Sprouts are getting big enough that it’s almost time to remove the plastic domes.
- Day 12: The amount the basil has grown in the past few days is ridiculous!! I’ve had to remove the plastic domes so they can continue to grow.
Temperature outside: 19-degrees
Temperature inside: 26-degrees (I need an air conditioner)
Growth: The sprouts are no longer sprouts but are full-on little plants … and they smell delicious!
- Day 14: The basil continues to grow and I can’t wait to use it to make some delicious pesto.
Temperature outside: 22-degrees
Temperature inside: 29-degrees Growth: Basil is getting bigger and bigger by the day!
Over the past two weeks I have done absolutely nothing to tend to my Smart Garden except remove the plastic domes when the basil plants started to grow big enough that they were touching the domes. I haven’t even had to refill the water reservoir, but expect I will have to in the next week or two.
With its specially developed Smart Soil and built-in sensors, Click & Grow’s Smart Garden makes sure that plants get the optimal configuration of water, oxygen, and nutrients so your plants thrive with zero effort, and without any pesticides, plant hormones, or other harmful substances.
How did I like the Click and Grow Smart Garden
While my basil plants are not quite at the stage where I can harvest them to use in a delicious pesto sauce, they are growing bigger and bigger every day and I am thoroughly impressed. Regardless of what the weather was doing outside, or how hot/cold my apartment was, or how much (or lack of sunshine) the capsules got, the basil continued to grow.
According to the Click and Grow Smart Garden guide, it will take at least another two weeks, and perhaps even two months for my basil to be fully grown, but given how quickly and effortlessly the seeds have developed so far, I anticipate I’ll be making that pesto sooner than later!
The Click and Grow Smart Garden is definitely a win for those of us with limited or no back yard space, and limited or no gardening acumen.