By Darcy Phillips
You don’t need to be an expert gardener to grow your own fruits and veggies. You don’t even need a plot of land, southern exposure, or soil for that matter. Thanks to smart technology, anyone can have a green e-thumb. With the Niwa OneStandard Indoor Smart Garden, you can create the perfect growing environment for a bountiful harvest right inside your home.
No matter how many plants you have killed, this high-tech garden will help. All you have to do is download the app, plant your seeds, and plug in the unit. After that, the Smart Garden takes over and essentially grows the garden for you. The soilless hydroponic system comes with a built-in sensor and water pump, so you never have to worry about watering your garden again. Sensors adjust the light levels and temperatures in the chamber, so you can sit back and enjoy the show. You can use the app on your phone to monitor your plant.
For high-end hydroponic units like this, you’ll want to place the unit somewhere prominent in your home. Don’t waste all that valuable real estate growing something low-profile and unimpressive such as radishes or lettuce. Choose a plant that has high visual value and will produce for an extended period of time, such as an exotic tomato or pepper variety.
There’s no point in investing in a top-of-the-line indoor garden and then buying cheap seeds or plants to populate it. Do your homework and find the most exceptional, organic seeds and plants to ensure whatever you grow will be extraordinary. Rather than shopping in the garden section of your local hardware store, visit smaller garden centers or farmers markets for seasonally appropriate starts.
If you want to enhance your culinary efforts with a luxurious indoor herb garden, then choose a selection of culinary herbs. Be sure to space them carefully and allow annuals such as dill and fennel to send up their flower spikes once they mature. Always harvest herbs by pinching or cutting at a growth node (where two leaves meet on the stem) to ensure bushy, dense growth. If you end up with more than you can use, dry, or preserve your harvest for later.
If your goal is to grow as many culinary plants as possible, consider growing varieties of plants that are mutually-supportive. Companion plants are plants known for getting along famously and even helping one another. A bonus is that they often taste great together, too. Tomatoes, peppers, and basil are companions. So are nasturtiums and cucumbers. Have fun experimenting with tried and true plant combinations.
But what if you’re not interested in growing your own food? No problem! Plenty of gardeners are only interested in showy blooms and rare, tropical ornamental plants. If that sounds more your speed, take your time to find the plants that will bring you the most pleasure. Begonias, marigolds, cosmos are just the beginning. Visit a plant nursery and talk to experts to find foliage or flowering plants that are compatible and plant a small variety together.
No matter what your motivation, smart gardens provide you with a clear-cut path to growing the garden of your dreams. All it takes is a few tools and new, smart technology, to have a green thumb and a green garden before you know it.
Darcy Phillips is a gardener extraordinaire who loves cooking with her freshly picked produce. She’s also cultivating the next generation of gardeners and chefs by teaching her six grandchildren the basics of gardening and cooking.