05 February,2023 10:12 AM IST | Mumbai | Nasrin Modak Siddiqi
It*s like a Nespresso machine for plants we are told. Insert a plant pod, fill water, plug it in and watch it bloom into a plant that you can harvest from. Not that instantly, but, well, almost there. Try basil, we are told. Too easy, we said. Throw a few seeds in a pot and basil grows wild anyway. Give us tomatoes - that one is a toughie. Our kit arrived in a minimalist design box. It claims to be an innovative indoor garden for growing herbs and flowers all year round - no matter where you live. It cares for itself so you don*t really need a green thumb.
With the workings like that of a capsule coffee machine, the Click & Grow indoor garden comes with biodegradable plant pods that have seeds and nutrients inside. It is calibrated for automated watering, light and nutrients. We keep them on our work table so we can document their growth. Its light doubles up as a table lamp for us. At first, we are apprehensive, and also a bit old school when it comes to gardening, so we go with plugging in the basil pods, in case something goes wrong.
When we plug it in, the lights come on (and switch off on their own after 16 hours). Covered in a dome for the greenhouse effect, on day three, we see life. With this, kids at home are getting to witness transpiration. When it touches the dome - by day seven - we are instructed to remove the dome and let the plant grow. There is no need for additional fertilisers. A patented nano-material automatically releases nutrients, oxygen and water that our plants need to thrive. We only add water when the level-o-meter goes down.
This is farm-to-table, right at home for food in its purest form and the new-age way of farming indoors. Click & Grow was founded in 2009 in Estonia; do we need it in the tropical setup? Maybe we do require it in an urban setup. For this experiment, we had to re-pot the basil into our pot on the window sill. We kept our fingers crossed, thinking this foreign innovation may not survive on Indian soil. But we were wrong. The basil has been plucked several times for soups, salads and Thai green curry. The fresh leaves have a strong taste and are packed with flavours.
Next, we plugged in the tomatoes and they took some time to sprout, but it*s been four weeks now and as this goes to print, we hope the pretty yellow flowers we see turn to shiny, red fruit, soon. The Smart Garden grow kit is priced at Rs 11,999 onwards.