The Click and Grow Smart Indoor Garden 3 was designed to give home gardeners a way to grow produce in their space with less effort than a traditional set-up requires. While trying out this product for The Sill, I was able to discover how it fared under some additional constraints: I will soon be moving, so I’ve been limiting the new gardening tools that I acquire. Any purchases I make have to be not only easy to care for, but lightweight and compact (i.e., so I can stow them in a suitcase). I am happy to report that the Click + Grow ticked all the boxes for an easy-care grow kit, and a portable one at that—even if you’ll just be moving it to different corners or locations in your home.
Below, I share some other takeaways from my month using the Click and Grow indoor garden, as well as answers to common questions about how it works.
What’s in the box?
When you open the box, the first thing you will likely notice is the tank, which holds three plant cups topped with plastic “germination domes.” It is these cups into which you will be popping your Smart Soil pods (more on assembly below). The tank also comes with a retractable cord and an LED lamp that runs the width of the garden, and it is accompanied by the seed pods themselves, extension arms for the lamp, an illustrated manual, and the plastic and cardboard trays that kept your products stable while in transit.
I appreciated that the box, as well as the trays, came with interesting graphics. For instance, since all models of the Click + Grow 3 (that is, the white, gray, beige, or illustrated models) include basil pods, there were quotes, color images of other plants in the company’s collection (like chili pepper and wild strawberry), and a pesto recipe. The trays included an overview of the set-up process, an introduction to the Estonian island where Click + Grow products are made, and produce-related trivia. Did you know that the heaviest carrot ever recorded weighed 20 pounds?
How do I put it together?
The steps for assembling the Click + Grow are outlined in the illustrated manual, which is easy to follow. Essentially, you will remove the plastic domes, unwrap the pods and place them into the plant cups, replace the domes, and fill the tank until the water indicator reaches garden level. If you set up the tank in the afternoon or evening, I would recommend holding off on actually plugging it in until the next day. This way, if you follow a schedule in which you are awake 16 hours and asleep for eight hours, you can sync the LED light to this schedule. (It is on a “16/8” timer, starting the moment you plug it in.)
The manual suggests that you name your plants so you can differentiate between them, but I didn’t feel this was necessary given that all my pods were the same and if they weren’t, I could differentiate based on their appearance.
How does it work?
The LED timer is meant to provide an optimal lighting schedule to nourish your plants, while the soil is optimized for the needs of each specific plant and the watering schedule is based around a concept called Capillary Precision Irrigation (CPI). In combination, these things help your produce flourish even in settings with low light or humidity levels. It will actually slow down the process if you try to add any additional steps, like fertilizing your plants—we told you it was easy-care!
One thing I didn’t fully understand was whether large amounts of sunlight could also interfere with plant growth, as fertilizer might, since the tank already has the LED light. Was it better to place the tank somewhere that was already dark—and if I placed it, say, on a windowsill in a north-facing apartment, would it be better to unplug the lamp in that case? (I had confirmed that the irrigation system and, of course, the soil would continue working even when the tank is unplugged.) Since I do get a lot of light where I am living, after about three weeks, I did move the tank from a dark corner to a well-lit sill to compare how it fared. Just to be safe, I unplugged the lamp at that point.
How do I use it? How much work is required?
Almost none! Aside from setting everything up and then plugging in the lamp first thing in the morning, the only steps were as follows:
— Refilling the watering tank once a week or so (per the manual, I only topped up when the indicator was low.)
— Removing the germination domes when the plants have reached them.
— Raising the LED light by one extender arm just before the plants reached them. (Emphasis on before—I learned this when I waited a bit too long to raise the lamp, and a few of the top leaves burned slightly.)
This was all I did with my Click + Grow and after about two and a half weeks it had begun gifting me small- and medium-sized basil leaves. I have since picked some of these leaves and it is still growing quickly—I expect to get much larger and bushier growth in the coming weeks.
So… should I get it?
If you are looking for a way to grow produce in your home with minimal effort, especially if your space is otherwise not conducive for growing (e.g., is dry or receives low light levels), I would recommend the Click + Grow if you follow a similar schedule to the light. As mentioned, it produced a lot of basil for me, even in a short period, and there was very little that I had to do to encourage growth. The product is advertised as being set up for counters but due to space and the proximity of outlets where I am living, I ended up placing the kit in a tight corner above my fridge and it thrived there, as well (that is, before I experimented and briefly moved it to a window). Do keep in mind that the bright LED lamp has a large radius, so it will somewhat change the lighting of your home if you live in a smaller space or sleep more than eight hours.
If you do find that you want to keep using a Click + Grow, once your basil is fully grown, another thing I would recommend is to explore the other seeds in their collection! You’ll find Italian kale, rainbow chard, catnip, snapdragon flowers, wasabi mustard, and so much more. You can even try your own seeds with their experimental pods.