Some people have a green thumb--gardening is an enjoyable hobby and their houses and offices are decorated with spots of lively green--while others of us, myself included, couldn't keep a plant alive if their own lives depended upon it. I've very nearly killed every plant I've owned, including the air plant, which--you guessed it--lives on air.
Thankfully Click & Grow, the three-year old Estonian company that pioneered the Smart Garden, is expanding its line to include a smart herb planter. A self-watering system capable of growing three plants at once, the Smart Herb Garden (funding through April 30) requires zero gardening knowledge--all you need to grow basil or thyme is contained within the system.
The Smart Herb Garden is a rectangular device with a water reservoir on the top left side, an LED "arm" that hovers over the top to provide light, and three containers that hold plant cartridges. Each plant cartridge is made from nanotech material specifically designed to provide the plant with oxygen, water, and nutrients--and also contains the seeds for the plants.
All you need to do is place the plant cartridge in its slot, add water to the Smart Herb Garden (about every month or two), and plug it in. It will take care of the rest. Water levels are visible on the side of the device, and the LED light goes on automatically. Speaking of which, the specially designed LED provides natural-looking light and uses only 6 watts of energy--so it should only run you about $5 annually to operate.
Each Smart Herb Garden starter kit includes basil, thyme, and lemon balm. Additional cartridges will be available for chili peppers, mini tomatoes, strawberries, peppermint, spinach, and various types of lettuce. Those who pledge $39 to the Kickstarter campaign will receive a Smart Herb Garden with a white lid, while for $49 you can choose kiwi green, soft pink, or orange instead.
The company's founder, Mattias Lepp, sees the Smart Herb Garden as an essential companion for urban kitchens, and is hoping to expand the system to restaurants so they can grow their own fresh produce in-house--as well as expand it to urban users who encounter space issues but still want to grow their own herbs and food.
Not only has the company more than quadruped its $75,000 funding goal by the time this story was published, but this also isn't its first product either. Click & Grow has already had success with its Smart Garden, an earlier model that is capable of growing either flowers or vegetables and runs off four AA batteries. Between the backers, the experience, and the name recognition, there's no reason why the Smart Herb Garden can't succeed. With any luck, expect to see it shipping out in September.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.