Having an indoor garden is easier than ever, thanks to the emergence of the smart garden. These self-contained, smart-technology gardens not only give you the space to garden indoors, they also take much of the guesswork out of the equation.
To get started with a smart garden, your best bet is the Click & Grow Smart Garden. It’s easy to set up and comes at an accessible price.
A smart garden is simply a garden that involves some control by a computer. These are often self-contained indoor gardens that include smart tech features to make them easier to maintain and to make your gardening more accessible. For example, many control the lighting automatically so your plants get the right amount of light, even when they’re indoors.
The great part about the range of smart gardens on the market today is the variety of options when it comes to what you grow. From produce to herbs to houseplants, you can maintain a beautiful, healthy indoor garden from your phone.
There are significant benefits to choosing a smart garden. For one, you’ll have more consistent growing conditions. As you control the variables, you’ll find your garden growing stronger and with better produce because you aren’t fighting the elements.
Because you’re controlling the growing conditions more closely, you end up with great crops of homegrown produce. Many users report their produce being more uniform and more flavorful.
An added benefit to a smart garden is fewer pests in your plants and produce. When you have an outside garden, pests are inevitable. But with an indoor smart garden, you can reduce the pests and tackle any infestation much more easily.
Plan your garden so you have a consistent harvest, rather than an ebb and flow. If you plant everything you want all at once, you will likely have periods with no produce to harvest. Be sure to plan your garden so you can have a steady flow of homegrown produce.
If you want to grow ornamental plants, plan out the space you’ll need when your plants are full grown. Seedlings will quickly grow large and if your smart garden is too crowded, you’ll be at a higher risk of pests and disease transferring from plant to plant or of having a plant blocked from the light it needs.
One of the joys of gardening outside is fresh air and sunlight. While an indoor smart gardener doesn’t have that time outside, you still get other benefits of caring for plants. However, if your main draw to gardening is time outdoors, an indoor smart garden may not be for you.
Smart gardens come in a variety of sizes, from countertop units to those that take up entire walls. The more space you have, the more options in what you grow. So consider how big is too big for your home.
Some smart gardens are geared towards certain plants. If you are eager to grow fresh herbs to liven up your cooking, look for a smart garden meant for herbs. There are also some meant for growing produce so you can enjoy an indoor farm.
There are several types of smart-garden systems, each with benefits and drawbacks. Traditional soil systems are a great place to start because most people are familiar with soil. Other systems rely on hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics or semi-hydroponics, which require some knowledge of nutrient management.
Each system requires a different level of care, so research which will fit best with your lifestyle.
Look for incorporated grow lights. Because your smart garden will likely be indoors, they will be essential in making sure your plants get the right amount of light for photosynthesis — otherwise their growth will slow down. If you purchase a smart garden without built-in grow lights, be sure to buy some separately.
A quality smart garden should include at least some smart technology to help you regulate your growing conditions. Things like automated lights, sensors and Wi-Fi connectivity will let you keep a close eye on your plants’ temperature, humidity, water and light.
A perk of using a smart garden for your indoor plants is it eliminates some of the hands-on work. But some people find the joy of gardening is in the work. Different systems involve different amounts of hands-on work, so research each unit’s maintenance requirements.
Smart gardens start in the $80-$150 range for countertop units that are small and offer fewer features. Between $150 and $500 you’ll have larger gardens with more features and more options as to which plants you can grow. Beyond $500, you’ll find the biggest smart gardens — including wall features — and those with more automation.
A. Just about anything, depending on the system. Some are meant for small gardens of herbs while others can act as a complete indoor farm.
A. This differs based on the type of system you buy. Some are designed to use soil and will feel more familiar, especially to beginners. Others use aquaponics, aeroponics, hydroponics or semi-hydroponics. For these, you’ll need to follow the directions of the system you buy and likely will need some understanding of nutrient management.
A. The major cost associated with keeping a smart garden is buying the unit. Once you have it, keeping a smart garden is a low-cost hobby.
What you need to know: The simple Scandinavian design of the Click & Grow Smart Garden will look lovely on any counter. It comes with pods so you’re ready to go.
What you’ll love: Click & Grow offers more than 40 options of pods compatible with its smart garden, so you can choose which plants and produce you want to grow. The pods have no GMOs, herbicides, pesticides or fungicides.
What you should consider: You can’t pick which pods come with your unit, so you’ll have to buy others separately.
What you need to know: The Back To The Roots Water Garden is the perfect entry-level smart garden for the plant lover who’s ready to dabble and doesn’t mind keeping a fish.
What you’ll love: You’ll get to start enjoying your smart garden quickly — you can harvest microgreens in just 10 days and continue harvesting them year-round. It’s also a great addition to any countertop that won’t take up too much space.
What you should consider: What makes this smart garden work is the fish water, so you’ll have to commit to owning a fish.
What you need to know: The Aerogarden Harvest Elite is a tried-and-true smart garden that offers a variety of planting options and doesn’t take up much space.
What you’ll love: The Aerogarden Harvest Elite comes with a gourmet herb-seed kit but you can purchase other seeds and grow up to six plants at a time. It also has a vacation mode so your plants will be taken care of while you’re away.
What you should consider: This unit will only accommodate plants up to 12 inches tall, so keep that in mind when selecting your seeds.
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Kasey Van Dyke writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.