Indoor Garden Systems That Let Anyone Grow PlantsTECH
Indoor Garden Systems That Let Anyone Grow Plants
Most of us would love to have a garden but between 8 hours at work, an average of 2 hours per day in commute, and whatever is on Netflix, many of us simply don’t have the time to continue to take care of heavy maintenance window pots and, if you’re lucky enough to have a balcony in the city, balcony gardens. Even if you are taking full advantage of every available space in your home for plants, you probably would like some additional room that would allow you to grow plants year round, even when there’s virtually no natural light in your home at all.
These 3 indoor garden technologies will help you to get started by giving you a great space to grow without worrying about pesky things like sunlight, watering your plants every day, or having space outside.
Click & Grow
Click & Grow was a successfully funded Kickstarter project that raised over $60,000 towards funding the creation of a smart, small, desk style planter. Now, 2 years later, the planter is cheaper than ever, and a perfect addition anywhere you want plants but don’t necessarily have sunlight. The planter costs $60, comes in multiple colors, and is available with a variety of seed packs and refill kits. The basic version which comes with three basil plants is ideal for a kitchen, but also a great choice for a desk, simply because basil is green, beautiful, and aromatic. You can also choose other refill options varying from small trees to a wide variety of herbs and other plants.
How does it work? The pot uses hydroponics and a built in LED light to grow the plants in a controlled environment, gives the plants 16 hours of light a day to facilitate fast growth, and uses a 3-6 month grow cycle for most plants. Once you plug it in and add water, it will let you know when you have to add more water, and that’s all you have to do.
Cons: You can only use Click & Grow seed pods and each planter only supports 3 plants at a time. As a result, it’s great for replacing dried herbs in a kitchen or as a desk accessory, but not for growing a great deal of food.
Like the Click & Grow, the AeroGarden is a fully self contained bio environment that allows you to literally add water and walk away. The system is very expensive with prices starting at $99 but does come in a wide variety of models and colors, with 3-6 pots per system. The cheapest option is $99 and includes 3 plants, nutrients for one season of growth, and the full self contained system that alerts you to nutrient needs and lets you know when you have to water the system.
The AeroGarden itself is fully self contained with build in LED lights pre-programmed for dozens of different types of plants, which you can buy as Aero seedpods. The result is not only easy to care for, it delivers fresh vegetables and salad greens or herbs up to 5 times faster than growing in soil.
Back to the Roots Indoor Garden Fish Tank
If you want to see things grow inside via hydroponics and want to have fish at the same time, the Back to the Roots Indoor Garden Fish tank is a great solution. The aquaponics tank a 3 gallon fishtank with 6 growing pots, a submersible pump, and everything you need to grow the plants and keep fish. It does not include fish or a UV light, so you will have to supply your own of both if you don’t have any sunlight.
Back the Roots also has a small coffee grounds mushroom kit, which is ideal if you don’t have any light at all and don’t want to purchase a UV light.
Special Mention: Ikea Krydda/Växer
While not yet available for the U.S. market, the Ikea Krydda/Växer collection of hydroponics units are surprisingly affordable and elegant, making them a great choice for even small apartments. While you could achieve a similar effect for about half the money with a bunch of plastic tubs and a knife, it will be incredibly ugly, so in this case, you’re paying for convenience as well as aesthetic. Internationally, it’s also reasonably priced, and you can expect to pay about 75 euros or pounds depending on location for a single tier kit with everything you need to get started (that includes a single tier 15-pot hydroponics setup, a nursery, growing medium, fertilizer, and the inserts to grow plants. You’ll pay 274 for the larger 3-tier setup with 45 pots and room for storage. If you don’t have sunlight, you can pay 35 to 50 euros for the additional light. That’s not bad at all for a setup that will allow you to grow fresh vegetables year round, no matter the weather.
What’s a good balance? If your apartment is small, buy the 15-pot setup and use it partially as decoration. Or, if you have a free corner, invest in the two or three tier, and dedicate one tier to salad greens which will be ready very quickly and another to peppers, tomatoes, and other vegetables that you eat year round. Just don’t install it near your bedroom or your TV, as the light can be quite bright.
Growing indoors isn’t as much work as you might think and if you have any spare space, or even a basement, you can easily set up your own hydroponics system using items so basic as large piping with a pump and LED lights for less than the cost of a 20 plant contained system. However, contained systems like these include everything you need to get started and make a great introduction to hydroponics.
Want more cool indoor gardening? Click through to page 1 to see the Plug & Plant, or to page 2 to see accessible low tech vertical gardens.