Smart gardening and vertical farming bring together two major trends: the smart home and the desire to eat healthily. Even if they don’t have their own garden or balcony, many people would still like to know where the vegetables, fruit and herbs on their plates come from. A smart indoor garden can take many different forms. We’ll take a closer look at four versions here.
Intelligent additional features for indoor gardens have been on the market for a few years. It’s not just established companies that are offering consumers solutions for growing fresh fruit and vegetables in their own homes. Up-and-coming companies see the potential here, too, and are developing new ideas. Among them is the start-up OGarden. The Canadian company achieved a huge Kickstarter success with the OGarden Smart. The project reached its crowdfunding target in just a few minutes, and the OGarden Smart will now be ready to ship to indoor gardeners from mid-April. The smart garden’s special feature is that the plants are placed in a kind of wheel. Once ready, seed packages are placed in the edge of this system. The wheel rotates slowly around a cost-efficient LED light source; in its centre is an automatic watering system. Additional space is integrated below the plant wheel for young plants that are still sprouting. Here they can grow in peace before being repotted.
Another relatively recent newcomer on the market is the Munich-based company Agrilution. It has developed the first smart vertical farming system with the Plantcube. It deploys a range of technologies – LED lighting, automated irrigation and climate control – to ensure optimal growth. To optimize growing conditions, the Plantcube is controlled via an app. The app is linked to the Agrilution Cloud and sends data on how the growth of the inserted seed mats is progressing to the server. The individual lighting, irrigation and climate settings in the Plantcube are then adjusted accordingly. The Plantcube can be installed free-standing or integrated into an existing kitchen. Visually stunning, the smart miniature greenhouse brings a wine cooler to mind.
Bosch and Click & Grow also offer indoor gardening solutions. In contrast to the Plantcube and the OGarden Smart, consumers won’t need a lot of space to grow their own fresh fruit and veggies with these systems. It’s easy to find a place for the plant containers on the kitchen counter, drawers or table. A selection of over forty different varieties of herbs, salad leaves and edible flowers is available to choose from. SmartGrow by Bosch employs the hydroponic principle: the plants grow out of small seed capsules. The capsules are simply inserted into the openings provided. The system tends to the plants completely independently – all the user needs to do is top up with water and nutrients every two to four weeks. Plus there’s a handy extra feature: in the economical holiday mode, the intelligent mini greenhouse reduces the water and light supply to a minimum. Bosch is launching an app for SmartGrow in the spring to make gardening in the home that little bit easier.
Like Bosch, Click & Grow starts off with small plant capsules. Users can choose between two different sizes – up to nine plants fit in the largest container. But that’s not all: now whole walls can be transformed into vertical farms with the Click & Grow Wall Farm. With this system, too, plant growth can be controlled via an app.
All the manufacturers promise that even the non-green-fingered will soon be able to pick fresh herbs and vegetables with their smart solutions. So it’s no surprise that demand for indoor gardening solutions just keeps on growing.