Don’t have a garden? Or perhaps you just haven't attained the know-how of green fingered enthusiasts. Well, we come with good news, there’s a product that has been designed for people like you. This is the $59.95 Click & Grow Smart Garden, an automated plant growing solution that even has its own light-source. The most complicated it’s supposed to get is adding the water. So we’ve been growing three basil plants over the course of seven weeks to reveal if it’s worthy of your wallet's attention.
This smart white rectangular object with its adjustable floating LED lighting may look like it could have just come out of a lab at NASA and, in fact, does share technology with the organisation, but it absolutely looks at home living on a window sill in our studio. Its contemporary design may be quite understated and relaxed, but when shoots of growth appear and mature, the Click & Grow Smart Garden becomes an object of mystery in any room, particularly with its glowing LED lighting. Seriously, these LEDs are bright; they can light an entire room at night. Furthermore, they only sip 6 watts of electricity when on for 16 hours a day.
It couldn't really get any simpler to start growing and we applaud the team behind Click & Grow for this. Pop a cartridge into any of the three bays and name them, then fill the water reservoir and plug it into a wall outlet. After this you can just walk away and the Click & Grow Smart Garden is supposed to take care of the rest. We topped up the water twice throughout our seven weeks but we’re fairly confident that even if we hadn't it would not have totally dried up. So it probably uses the total quantity of the water within the reservoir every 6-7 weeks. Worth noting is that the previous single cartridge Click & Grow Smart Flowerpot used four AA batteries as its power source which we weren’t fans of. It was clumsy to interchange batteries and the use of a direct supply of electricity with the Smart Garden is a massive improvement! The only criticism we hold for the product is the word ‘smart’ used typically to refer to some kind of App integration. We were sure of this with the promotion of the Click & Grow App on the box - however, it doesn't communicate with the Smart Garden in any way and is to be used as more of a journal. Disappointing.
Whilst a micro-chip seems a world away from nature, the Click & Grow cartridges host them on the bottom of each for communication. Using sensors, the Click & Grow Smart Garden actively monitors and regulates the water, oxygen, and nutrients to the said ‘smart soil’ contained within each cartridge and therefore the plants. It all sounds very clever but does it work? The straight answer is yes. And whilst it may have been insightful had we thought to grow basil plants the conventional way alongside the Click & Grow to see which is faster, we’re fairly certain the Click & Grow outpaces traditional growing methods from our experience of previous indoor basil growing. On week 7 we had mature plants with large leaves and the beauty of it all was we just watched.
Week 1 and 2 of growth was fairly dull to report, but shoots did appear within 6 days in each cartridge. Week 3 is when the significant growth happened and each basil tripled in size! Week 4 and 5 saw the left basil make significant gains on the other two. Week 6 & 7 saw the plant peak further in height and each basil leaf gained in span considerably. Of course, the plants are still growing and we’re told will harvest for 9-12 months. The aroma of the basil also pleasingly strengthened as the weeks ticked on. But perhaps most importantly its flavour is bold and you don’t need heaps of leaves to season your panini or pizza. Homegrown basil is always a stark contrast from that purchased within shops, which just never shares the freshness or energy. If you want to grow more you can choose from 25 other plant cartridges, including stevia, mini tomato and wild strawberry. Refills of a 3-pack typically cost $19.95.
This is the kind of invention that you can’t help but fall in love with. The Click & Grow Smart Garden is a novel and very simple way for everyone, regardless of garden size or free time, to enjoy growing and picking home grown produce themselves.