3 Perfect Gadgets for Every Kind of Gardener
Whether you only have a shelf for herbs or a whole backyard of greenery, there’s a gadget for you
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For the Shelf Gardener
This self-sufficient indoor gardening gadget is nearly foolproof for someone with little time and no outdoor space or natural light, but who wants their own easy greens. The Click and Grow is designed to be a mini greenhouse, with timed grow lights included. The Smart Garden kits come with the device and Keurig-style pods of dirt with the seeds already planted, and you can choose from things like basil, green lettuce, and mini tomatoes to grow.It almost feels too easy when you set it up — you simply follow the instructions on the box (no extra paper!) to put together the minimal pieces of the Smart Garden (which can either grow three or nine pods at once depending on the size you choose). Then pop in the plant pods, put the plastic greenhouse cap on top, fill the bottom with water, and plug it in for growing to start. There’s an app, but it doesn’t control the lights or the device; rather, it scans the wrapper of your plant pod to help you track when you planted it and when to retire it. We saw growth within just a couple days, and while many seeds might sprout, Click and Grow recommends thinning fruiting plants (like tomatoes and chiles) to one seedling. The grow lights turn on from the time it’s plugged in, so if the Smart Garden has any natural light exposure, make sure to plug it in in the morning so that the lights are off at night (so the plants can get their rest).
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For the Backyard Beginner
If you have some outdoor space and a hose but nowhere viable to plant, the GROW Duo makes for an easy way to get growing. You’ll need sunlight for this one, and a hose that can be constantly on, but this system waters itself and comes with its own soil.The GROW Duo is an all-in-one planter; you simply need to unbox it, pour in the provided dirt, lightly bury the seed sheets, and hook up your hose. Your starter seeds will be one mix of herb seeds and one mix of salad greens, and they’re in sheet form to easily and instantly distribute them through the planter. (To diversify your smart garden, you can buy more vegetables through the GROW app.) You’ll want the app loaded in advance to connect to your new planter, and to scan your seed sheet packet. From there, the system is designed to take care of itself. Leave the hose on and the GROW Duo will manage watering as needed. If you’d like more than one planter, the GROW Duo can hook itself up to more units so that one hose can take care of the whole lot. With regards to the two mini sprinklers that you place in the GROW, we suggest playing around with the placement heights — we’ve noticed the water can tend to end up over the sides instead of inside the planter if the sprinkler head is placed too high.
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For the Garden Aficionado
Already have a yard bursting with a variety of plants, but feel like just turning on the sprinklers isn’t the best way to maintain it? We tested Rachio’s latest smart sprinkler controller, the Rachio 3, and our editor’s exact words were, “It changed my life.”The Rachio 3 takes over your old sprinkler box, with very easy setup and connection to the different areas of your sprinkler system. Then, pair it with the app and your WiFi to start adding in the smarts. The Rachio allows you to set zones in your yard so you can manage the exact amount of watering those zones need, especially handy if you’re growing different things in different areas. The biggest feature is that Rachio also tracks your local weather for rain, so it’ll skip watering when Mother Nature takes care of the job. That doesn’t just keep it from overwatering, but also helps lower water bills and water usage all around; this has added up to billions of gallons of water saved in the years that Rachio has been on the market. It’s a great fit for lowering your water bill, and getting better control over a diverse yard and its watering needs.