Grow your own fresh food at home with these 5 smart indoor herb gardens
We found five technological advances in indoor herb gardens that you can install in your home so you can grow your own food: fresh, organic, and within the convenience of your own home!
Tending an indoor herb garden can be tough, but the rewards of growing your own food can be great. It can be especially challenging to grow plants that aren’t native to the climate you’re in. But just imagine being able to grow greens all year round right in your kitchen.
Parents are naturally concerned about the kind of food they set on the table, so it’s only logical that they would want to grow their own fresh and organic food.
Admittedly, growing your own food consumes time and a fair amount of space. But this is where new technologies come in. We found a number of advanced indoor herb gardens that combine advances in technology and design. Now anyone can have a green thumb.
This little gizmo is a countertop herb garden for easy, entry-level kitchen gardening. It’s great for all budding green thumbs out there for a mere $60. Just fill the water reservoir, find a socket to plug the lights in, and put the bespoke grow pods into the container.
The product is inspired by NASA’s own forays into portable agricultural technology. It includes all the nutrients that the seeds need to grow and flourish, even beneficial microbes and border cells (which mimic a plant’s natural environment).
It’s simple enough to assemble on your own, and it has low energy consumption. Still, it’s not exactly a “smart” garden. Its LED lights have a fixed height so it’s not customisable. Meanwhile, pod-based technology means paying $19.95 for three soil pods instead of $2-$3 for a seed pack.
The Plantui 3 won a Red Dot Design Award for being “innovative” and for its “formally appealing design and ease of use.”
The hydroponic device has a suspended light unit that can be adjusted and scaled with the growth of the plant. Just add nutrients and water into the reservoir, put in the plant capsules, install the battery-powered pump, plug in the lights and you’re set.
The indoor herb garden has an intelligent irrigation method. It floods the roots multiple times a day depending on the plant’s stage of growth – a method inspired by professional greenhouses. The lighting unit has an adjustable sleep timer and a “holiday pause” feature the slows its metabolic function to be able to survive when you’re away for long periods of time.
A wide variety of vegetables are available like tatsoi, kale, sage, and over 42 other herbs, flowers and leafy green vegetables. The Plantui 3's LED lighting even has a red and blue spectrum so it can give off a complex spectrum of light depending on the plant’s needs.
For lovers of microgreens, fresh herbs, and wheatgrass shots, the Urban Cultivator is the indoor garden they’d want in their homes. That is, if they have room to spare. It’s an under-counter appliance that can be easily integrated into any kitchen.
The device's customisation options allow you to set watering cycles, lighting, and temperature. However, this indoor herb garden is not for any casual gardener. Users must regularly thin the sprouts spur growth and monitor the humidity inside the unit. If left unchecked, this will lead to the formation of mold.
Based on the online reviews of the product, it’s a little tricky for the average user. It’s difficult to program and the humidity can be hard to monitor, proving that it’s targeted squarely at the serious microgreen lover – especially when that microgreen lover has $2,800 to spare.
Herbert is a hydroponic vertical indoor herb garden for interior wall installation. It can grow up to 15 different plants simultaneously using nutrient fertiliser, water, and a biodegradable sponge as a medium for seeds, similar to the ones employed by NASA.
You’ll just need to get through the task of mounting the Herbert on a wall, fill the huge water tank, then plug the water pump and LED light to a power source before it’s ready for use.
It’s not user-tested though, so it's possible that a tiny leak could ruin your wall. The system is likely difficult to clean and prone to mineral build-up.
On the plus side, you can use your own seeds, and wall-mounting saves you space. It also has the advantage of rapid growth rates (where you can fully grow a head of lettuce in 4-5 days), and a light system that you can control with an app on your phone.
SproutsIO uses a camera system mounted on the lighting arm to automatically detect what you’re growing. It monitors ambient conditions so you can adjust the lighting, water, mister, and nutrient delivery.
This allows the user to remotely monitor the plants in real time using their mobile app. In addition, you can adjust the growing conditions in the system. The app also helps the user to track and fine-tune the plants’ growth, intensify flavour, and find out optimal harvest times.
SproutIO is a hybrid system that utilises hydroponics and aeroponics as a medium, so it is completely soilless. Its US$799 price tag is a bit steep, and the seeds come in a plate called the sIO for the entire set up, so you can only grow one type of plant at a time.