There are so many smart products for pets on the market, it was never going to take long until they started to appear for horticulturalists. Consider those poor folk with pet allergies, or those without the time to dedicated to a living,
For those people there are plants, and yet for some watering twice a day is too complicated a task, requiring the use of smart technology.
For those people, here comes the Root Smart Indoor Plant Growing System, new for summer 2016. It brings the window box indoors, for places where a box isn’t practical or safe. Find out more at growwithroot
It features a set of smart growing pods, for different types of plant, vegetable or herb, that can grow without the need for soil. There’s a central column that provides LED lighting to help the plants grow away from natural light or windows, and a smart watering system to keep them happy and fed.
Naturally, all this comes with an app, to monitor progress and keep the essentials topped up.
Contents (Jump to)
Firstly the Root System is pretty big, at 30 inches tall, it will dominate a typical sized table and make an impressive looking feature in the kitchen, on a counter or in the hall or office on a sturdy tabletop.
The whole system breaks down into the main Root Planter, a set of 12 disposable Root Pods to help your plants grow. Then there’s a set of starter kit organic seeds to grow your first crop, a vegan, organic, natural plant food and access to the app, which runs on iOS or Android.
When you start your Root crop, you fill the system with water and food, which should last about two weeks. The app will remind you when it is time to top up and the lights, which mimic sunlight, come up through an internal timer to encourage growth.
The iOS or Android app shows the temperature, how long until you need to water them, and naturally there’s access to the online store to buy more Root products.
Pros of the Root Smart Indoor Plant Growing System
Among the vegetables and herbs that Root encourage users to grow are lettuces, greens, herbs, vine plants including cherry tomatoes and peppers among others.
For those who like to know where their food comes from, straight off the kitchen table in an organic and environmentally friendly manner is a pretty good start.
The best feature is that this can all be done pretty much hands off, just top up the water and food from time to time and watch your green buddies grow.
While to many that might be the antithesis of gardening, lacking the touch, feel and knowledge of vegetables, for others it will just how things are done in the 21st century. After all there’s no mess, no waste and it helps buyers take a tiny step toward sustainability that could lead to bigger things.
Also, that isn’t to say you won’t learn things with Root, the product’s blog has interesting posts on burdock, sage and other medicinal products you can grow to provide home remedies. And the company obviously has plans for the future with more crops to grow.
For peace of mind there’s a 30-day return policy if you decide that automated crop rotation isn’t for you, and a one year warranty on the hardware if you have troubles in your paradise garden. There will also be a Root extending option coming soon for those who want to grow taller plants.
Cons of the Root Smart Indoor Plant Growing System
At $299 the Root is a very expensive way to grow some herbs. This presumably means you can’t join a community garden, find an allotment or somewhere on your property to grow things naturally like a hanging basket.
Considering you can grow a year’s worth of herbs, tomatoes, strawberries or other produce with a low priced kit from any garden center, this is a pretty big investment, even compared to going shopping to an organic produce store to get the end result.
The disposable Root pods are the company’s version of a cloud subscription, with users need to buy new ones every growing season, you might be able to reuse old ones, but we’re betting the company would rather users pay up on a regular basis for some new seeds and pods, which is no bad things as a business model, but not exactly friendly on the wallet.
We can see a lot of uses for the Root system. Older people who can no longer get about in the garden, but love the smell and touch of natural products grown in their homes is a big positive, as are those in skyscrapers or neighborhoods where there it isn’t safe to potter about in a garden.
However, in the big scheme of things, if you have the money for the Root, then it provides a clever way to grow a modest bounty within your own home, but couldn’t the money be just as better spent on organic produce from a grocery store?
Or investing in some traditional mud, compost, and seeds to see what the heck will grow?
That is the buyer’s choice, and we hope that Root really works for those who invest in it. Looking around you will also find similar solutions that currently cost twice as much as Root, so perhaps it isn’t such an expensive option after all.
However, the irony still isn’t lost on us, that this is the first garden we’ve come across where you need a web login to access your shopping.
Either way, since the company claims to be working to uproot the food and wellness industries and pioneer a healthier future for people and the planet, we wish them and buyers the best of luck.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!