I love growing my own food. Sadly though, I have spent most of my adult life in tiny apartments with limited light and no outdoor space. Enter the Smart Herb Garden, a setup for growing herbs indoors in even the smallest and darkest of spaces, which promises success for even those with the "un-greenest" of thumbs.
Originally launched via Kickstarter, the Smart Herb Garden ($99.95) by Click & Grow promises healthy plants as long as you provide the water and power. The device, which has a relatively small (13.9 x 4.96 x 12.1 inch) footprint, plugs into the wall and has a built-in LED grow light and water tank. This water tank only needs to be refilled every 3 - 6, weeks which is great news for those who often forget to water their plants, or find themselves frequently away from home. Beyond the light and the water tank, the real power of this system is the soil. Click and Grow calls this soil their “nano-tech growth medium” and says that it will give the plants the right amount of water, oxygen, and nutrients at all times. The Smart Herb Garden comes with three herb garden cartridges — basil, thyme, and lemon balm — and these cartridges are filled with the aforementioned nano-tech growth medium. The carriages, or refills, drop right into the garden base, and it’s easy to remove and replace them.
Setup was like the name of the brand says, practically “click and grow.” The cartridges literally drop right into the container, and once the water reservoir is filled, the device plugged in, and the plastic domes clicked onto the cartridges, that’s it. I placed the garden in my kitchen, where there is a little natural light but not much, and let it be. After less than a week I saw the first signs of growth. After a little over three weeks I had enough lemon balm to make some tea. As I type this, the basil and lemon balm have grown so much that I fear they will encase the LED light fixture! Before that happens I’ll transplant from the Smart Herb Garden into a larger pot or into my patio garden.
While the mineral salts that are used inside of the Smart Herb Garden cannot be certified as “organic” in many countries, the device does not contain any pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, or plant hormones. As someone who likes to grow her own food, not just because it’s fun, but because I can know and have control over the growing conditions, this is mixed news. The food geek in me wants to know exactly what this cartridge is made up of, but I’m glad that at least it does not contain any pesticides or plant hormones. The LED light turns itself off and on (not fun for guests trying to sleep in the same room as it’s very bright) and uses 6 watts of energy, which is good considering the Smart Herb Garden is constantly plugged in. The benefits of growing thriving edibles indoors are pretty great, and I have to say I’m pretty impressed with this little system.
The Click and Grow Smart Herb Garden is a good choice for practically maintenance free indoor plant growing. If the three included cartridges don’t strike your fancy, Click and Grow is constantly adding to their offerings with salad rocket ($6.95), mini tomato ($9.95), and chili pepper ($9.95) being the three newest additions. Click and Grow is also currently working on a way to provide “Pro refills,” which would allow you to sow your own seeds. Thanks to the included light, the garden is perfect for environments that might not get enough natural light for plants to thrive. Is this, along with the water reservoir and fancy cartridge system, enough to justify the $99 price tag? Only your wallet can tell you that, but as far as delivering on what it has promised, the Smart Herb Garden does that in spades. Sorry, I could not help myself.
Pros: Easy to set up and use. Practically maintenance free, requires water every 3-6 weeks.
Cons: Limited variety of cartridges, contents of “smart soil” are not known, requires wall power, LED light cannot be turned off unless you remove power to the device.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. This specific product was provided by the manufacturer for testing and review purposes.