I’ve wanted to set up a hydroponic system for growing herbs indoors for quite a while now but I haven’t found the time to research a good setup. Fresh herbs are really expensive at most grocery stores so an inexpensive way to produce them at home would provide a lot of savings over time.
A couple of months ago I learned about the ēdn SmallGarden indoor growing system while watching Shark Tank. The SmallGarden 2 is a self contained growing system that uses LED lighting, a built in water reservoir, and a wifi controller to manage the system.
The system also has an attractive design making it suitable to be placed anywhere in a home. The SmallGarden 2 sells for $199 and includes an initial set of seed pods and basil seeds.
Since the system is completely turnkey I decided to buy one and give it a try.
SmallGarden 2 Box Contents
- SmallGarden 2
- 12V AC power adapter
- Pod tray and 10 pod cups
- 10 seed pods (growing medium)
- Liquid plant food
- Basil starter seeds
The SmallGarden 2 includes everything you need to plant the garden including some Basil seeds. You can use your own seeds if you want but ēdn recommends choosing varieties that are short and bushy with medium light requirements.
You can purchase several pre screened varieties of seeds from the ēdn market including mint, sage, chives, and lettuce. They also have some flower seeds available as well.
Setting up the SmallGarden 2
The setup process is very simple and doesn’t take very long to complete. After creating an account with ēdn you can complete the wifi pairing process for the garden using your smart phone.
Next the seed pods must be inserted into the cups. To release the lids from the cups you have to squeeze the sids of the cups.
Be careful not to use too much force while releasing the lids. I managed to crack one them during this process but ēdn quickly sent me a replacement at no cost. Their customer service has been great so far.
The seed pods themselves are made from a natural biodegradable peat material and provide a growing medium for the plants. The pods are a consumable and will need to be replaced each time you replant the garden. Replacement pods sell for $1 a piece putting the minimum replanting costs at $10 + seeds. Not bad considering a single bunch of fresh herbs costs $4-5. According to their FAQ herbs in the SmallGarden produce for about 3-6 months.
After inserting the pods in the cups the seeds are place in the pods according to the directions for the type of seed. The lids are then placed on top of the cups and the cups go back into the tray.
The SmallGarden 2 has it’s own water sensor (bottom right of the image below) which is used to alert you when the garden requires more water. Water levels can be monitored using the web app and you will receive a text message alert when the garden is running low on water.
Water is added through the opening on the side of the pod tray. ēdn recomends adding some of the liquid plant food each time water is added to the garden.
The water reservoir holds about 4 cups of water which seems to be enough to last a couple weeks.
Monitoring the SmallGarden
The status of the SmallGarden can be monitored using a web based app. Through the app you can monitor the water levels and adjust the light schedule (at least 12 hours of light per day is recommended). Using the app the lights can also be manually turned on/off or you can enable ambience mode which temporarily dims the lights.
When I first setup the garden I was surprised how bright the LED lights are. Once the plants are established they should diffuse the light but with a bare garden the LEDs are almost too bright.
SmallGarden 2 Performance
My garden has only been growing for about a month so far but below are the progress up until this point. I’ll continue to update this post as things continue to grow.
My basil seeds sprouted within the first week and after 2 weeks the first set of leaves were visible.
At the 3 week point things really started to pick up speed and the second set of leaves came out.
One month into the growing process the plants are starting to look more established and have increased quite a bit in height.
The garden is still quite a ways from providing the first harvest but things seem to be looking great so far. The plants are showing no signs of issues and the growth rate is accelerating quickly. Based on the appearance of the plants so far I think they are getting plenty of light.
SmallGarden 2 Conclusions
My garden is still quite a ways from producing its first harvest so I’ll have to do a follow up on this post later but so far I’ve been impressed with the SmallGarden 2 in general. The setup process was really simple to do and essentially the only required maintenance up until this point has been to add the water and fertilizer mixture every couple of weeks.
At $199 the price point is not cheap but you’re purchasing convenience which for me is big benefit. The garden is also a piece of living art for your home. The SmallGarden is much more attractive than most DIY indoor growing systems. The compact size and integrated wifi controller really completes the system.
Check back later for more progress photos and garden updates.