Add some spice to your life.
Disclaimer: The folks at Click and Grow were kind enough to send over a starter kit for this review; as always, the opinions and conclusions are my own.
I’m awful with plants, and that’s kind of a bummer.
As an aspiring cook (translation: I like to watching cooking shows) I’ve always liked the idea of having a little herb garden handy to add some flair to my next cooking project. The folks at Click and Grow were kind enough to send over one of their smart garden kits, so I’m well on my way to turning that dream into reality.
What Does it Claim to Do?
The Click and Grow smart garden is a simple gardening device that promises to grow healthy little plants using special cartridges, some space-age soil, and very little involvement on your end.
It it an upgrade you should consider for your kitchen? Read on to find out!
Look and Feel
The Click and Grow has the kind of understated elegance that fits in with about any decor; if Jony Ive designed a countertop garden, I have to imagine it would look something like this. The smart garden itself is made of lightweight plastic, but it looks much nicer on the counter than it feels in your hands.
It’s about a foot long and maybe a hair over a foot wide with its grow light fully extended. The lights stay on for 16 hours a day, so you’ll want to put it in a location where the cool daylight glow of its LEDs won’t bother you or distract from your decor; we’ve got ours on our kitchen counter, which seems like a great spot to happily grow some herbs.
Its watering system and minimalist layout keep the garden clean and tidy, making the Click and Grow a beautiful addition to your home.
Performance and User Experience
The best way to describe the Click and Grow is that its kind of like k-cups for growing herbs and tiny plants. As someone who is horitculturally-challenged, this is the easiest way to grow plants that I’ve ever seen.
The starter kit I tested includes 3 basil plants, and it was amazing to see how fast they grew. To get started, you simply remove the lids on the plant cartridges, insert them in the smart garden, and add some water to the reservoir. The kit also includes some tiny clear domes to help boost the growth of the seeds until they’ve got some tiny leaves going.
I don’t know why I was expecting it to take longer, but I was shocked to see some tiny sprouts starting to make an appearance only two days after we got our garden started. Click and Grow claims to use a space age “nanotech growth medium” in their soil to supercharge the growth of their plants, and I have to say that I believe the hype; a month after starting our smart garden, we have three happy little basil plants that grew quick, smell great, and taste even better.
Caring for the plants couldn’t be more brainless. The grow light comes on automatically for 16 hours a day, and takes a rest for 8 hours to simulate the ideal sunlight exposure. The cycle starts from when you first plug it in, so it’s best to get it going first thing in morning to keep your garden following the same schedule you do. Do you have an awful habit of forgetting to water your plants? With the Click and Grow, you simply add some water to its reservoir every 3-6 weeks, or whenever you see the water level indicator sitting low.
The herbs are delicious, the garden requires virtually no maintenance, and its a fun daily topic of conversation with our kids as we watch our plants grow. We’re having a blast with it.
(Note: Click and Grow also provides a companion app, but I didn’t discover it in time to feature it for this review.)
As of this review, the folks at Click and Grow have a growing selection of 30 different plant cartridges available on their site, giving users access to the most popular herbs and flowers. They also have “experimental” cartridges available, allowing you to use your own seeds alongside of their smart soil technology.
I haven’t had a chance yet to test things myself, but I imagine you could clean out a cartridge, add your own potting soil and seeds, then see what you could grow on your own. I’m sure a lot of the success from their formula probably lies in that supercharged soil mixture, though.
As I mentioned earlier, the smart garden itself is made of a lightweight plastic that doesn’t seem too heavy-duty; that’s probably not a big deal, but the garden isn’t something you’d want to fall off of a shelf in the garage if you were storing it for a while.
Also, the little adjustable arm for the grow light doesn’t use the most confident mechanism to raise and lower it, so I could see that losing its sturdiness after a few years of faithful service.
At only $59.99 (including a pack of 3 basil cartridges), the smart garden kit is a great deal if you’re looking for an ideal indoor garden for cooking, or even just something to add some life to your office or kitchen.
The refills are a little expensive though… Most 3 packs are $19.99, although you can score a multi-pack discount for several types of plants at 9 for $49.99. You’ll pay a premium for the convenience of the Click and Grow system, but I think that’s something that most customers will find to be a fair trade.
We’re really enjoying our time with this fantastic little smart garden. If you’re okay spending a little extra money on plant refill cartridges over time, I think you’ll love having a Click and Grow garden in your kitchen.