I consider myself a flexitarian, so vegetables are super important to my diet – throughout the year.
My all-time favorite dish is tomato salad with buffalo mozzarella, topped with fresh basil. But up until recently, this delicacy was limited to a few summer months when our balcony garden decided to produce fresh herbs. During the dark winter months, fresh herbs were off limits – whether it be thyme for that lamb chop or lemon balm for the grilled fish.
Click & Grow Smart Herb Garden
If the words „urban“ and „Kickstarter“ sound attractive to you, keep reading. Because in 2013, a „smart“ herb garden was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign with more than 10’000 backers. Now that the Click & Grow Smart Herb Garden has entered the mass market, they have approached this flexitarian reviewer to take the urban garden for a test drive.
First off, some background on the technology: By combining the right amount of oxygen, water and nutrients and by covering the plant with a dome, seeds have the right environment to germinate. It is basically a miniature greenhouse for your apartment. The initial setup instructions sound easy enough: Fill the water reservoir, insert the starter cartridges with basil, thyme and lemon balm, and plug the garden into an outlet.
An integrated LED lamp keeps the plants alive any time of the year, even during winter when light is absent. Its scheduled time is 16 hours on/8 hours off, starting from the time you plug in your garden. At 6 watts, the energy consumption is minimal.
Different herb cartridges can be purchased for more variety, such as coriander, mint or sage. The lifespan of a single cartridge depends on the type of herb, as each plant has a different growing time. But in general, the company advertises them to last about three months.
App enabled urban gardening
Just recently, the Smart Herb Garden has launched an iPhone app. After activating your plants in the app, you can access tips and get reminders from when to water them. Our favorite function is the built-in time-lapse camera to document the progress of the plants.
With a Smart Herb Garden, anyone can be a gardener. Seriously: Anyone. Can you fill a water bottle with tap water? Then you can be a gardener. It takes no green thumb to grow basil for my tomato mozzarella salad.
We have also tried adding our own seeds as opposed to ordering the refill kits, but the maker does not guarantee that this will work. If you should try your own seeds as well, clean out the used cartridges, refill them with soil and place the seeds at a depth equaling twice the diameter of the seeds.
(For the purpose of this review, Click & Herb has sponsored a Starter Kit)