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We all know how satisfying it is to grow your own food. For lots of us, however, weather, climate and space considerations can make having a garden difficult or impractical. That’s why Click and Grow is such a great idea. I recently received a sample of the Click and Grow Smart Garden 3 to test out for this review.
Click and Grow is a small planter box with built in lighting and water where you can grow an astonishing variety of plants, flowers, herbs and vegetables. The Smart Garden 3 planter box holds 3 seed pods and is designed to be self-watering, holding enough water to properly irrigate the seeds for about a month at a time. There’s special LED grow lights that arc overtop, and they come with extensions so you can raise the lights as your plants grow.
You plant the box with special pre-planted soil-and-seed pods that come in handy peel-and-pop-out packages. Fertilizer is already part of the soil so you get healthy plants from the start. There’s no pesticides, plant hormones, or any other harmful substances. You can plant a whole garden with one crop, or mix and match.
The Smart Garden 3 is quite compact, and a good size for a kitchen counter. There’s a bigger version, the Smart Garden 9 which can grow up to 9 pods.
Setting up Smart Garden 3
Getting growing is easy; open up your soil and seed pods (my kit came with three basil capsules) and pop them into the cups and add the small plastic biodomes to create a greenhouse effect. Fill the side opening with enough water to make the small float even with the top of the planter, then plug it in to power up the lights.
It’s worth noting that the lights stay on for 16 hours straight and then turn off for 8 hours. So whenever you plug them in, that’s when your ‘day’ begins. Do this at 5pm and your lights will be on all night. Not that that’s a problem, but if you don’t want that bright light all night, it’s best to plug it in to start the timer in the morning.
Once the plants start growing and reach the inside of the biodomes, you can remove them and save them somewhere safe for your next crop.
Thanks to its energy efficient LED lighting system, the Smart Garden only consumes 6W of power.
App connected Smart Garden 3: not really that smart
Sign up for the app and then use the camera to scan the QR code on your plant capsules or add them manually by searching the plant database.
The app tells you a bit about what to expect from your plant, how long a lifespan it should have, and allows you to set watering reminders, create a photo album or otherwise journal your crop. There’s not really any smart connectivity to speak of; the app isn’t monitoring your crop in real time, and can’t for example tell you if the light is on or off, or offer that kind of remote control or time adjustments. I think that would be a great new feature for the Smart Garden, and hopefully that kind of smarts is in the works for the future.
How soon can you harvest Click and Grow Smart Garden?
It was fun watching my seeds sprout and grow, changing every day, and after just 3-4 weeks, the basil I planted was big enough to begin harvesting. After about three weeks I needed to add one of the extenders for the lights, since my plants were already touching it. I should have acted a little faster to move up the light bar, since when I went to adjust it, the lights were actually burning the delicate leaves a bit; more sunburn, less fire, if you get my drift.
I probably could have started plucking leaves even earlier, but I wanted to give the plants a chance to grow fully this time around.
How much growth is there?
After about a month, I had three strong plants. I’d say at this point, they’re about half to three quarters the size of one of those grocery store clamshells of herbs. By about week six, they were rather large bunches and we couldn’t keep up by eating them!
Overall review of Click and Grow Smart Garden 3
I absolutely love this device. Growing my own fresh herbs was a treat. Plus the fact this garden is so low maintenance makes it so easy. There’s enough water to care for the garden for weeks, and the lighting self timer keeps my plants growing regularly and evenly. Because the lights are placed overhead on a sturdy arm, the plants grow straight and even.
The basil in particular was very sturdy, leafy and vibrantly green. It would be a good idea too to plant your individual pods a week or two apart, to ensure a constant supply.
The taste is really good! It’s bold, vibrant and a bit spicy; not bland like that grocery store clamshell basil you buy. I’m duly impressed!
The Smart Garden 3 sells for about $99USD and comes with a starter pack of 3 basil pods. Additional pods including a wide variety of herbs, lettuces, small fruits and veggies and even flowers are all available from Click and Grow’s website. They sell for $9.99 for a 3-pack of seed and soil pods.
I’m hooked, and will be ordering cilantro next.