Can an Indoor Smart Garden Beat Outdoor Gardening?
Timothy Hammond: Why not?
Narrator: This is Timothy Hammond, a Houston-based gardener who knows his arugula.
Timothy Hammond: I’m an urban gardener and educator and one thing I know is that you’ll never find anybody in this world who loves gardening more than I do.
Narrator: So what better person to help us test this. The Rise Gardens Family Garden.
As people spent more time at home during the pandemic, demand has surged for activities, like cooking, home improvement and yes, gardening. So that’s why we’re testing the Rise Gardens Smart Garden. It’s an indoor smart garden that uses hydroponics. It allows you to grow up to 12 vegetables and herbs per shelf using a self-watering system and grow lights.
Timothy Hammond: I’m interested to see if this garden, this Rise Garden, produces better than some plants that I’m gonna start at the same time outside.
Narrator: So why did we pick this smart garden? A few reasons. This smart garden is designed for small indoor spaces and claims to grow larger vegetables, not just herbs and leafy greens. It’s also adjustable. The modular system lets you add shelves up to three different growing levels. It’s Wi-Fi-enabled with a connected app so you can control the light, water and nutrient levels and get reminder alerts and updates.
Timothy Hammond: So I’ve never really thought about bringing my gardening inside. Now, they promised that you will be able to recreate outdoor harvest inside.
Narrator: The Rise Garden systems come in three sizes, ranging in price from $549 to $949. There’s also a smaller personal garden for $279. The one Timothy is testing is $749, but is it worth it?
Timothy has more than four weeks to test out this smart garden and give us his final review.
Timothy Hammond: Here we are, and I guess now it’s time to start gardening.
Narrator: Timothy first assessed the planting process with the garden.
Timothy Hammond: Arugula should sprout in five days they say. Now, some of these seed cups say that these things like the lettuce or the arugula or the basil will take anywhere from five to eight days to sprout.
Narrator: Then he planted his own seeds outside to compare.
Timothy Hammond: Let’s go ahead and pot up some basil, some arugula and some lettuce. So I can tell you, one of the benefits of using that Rise Garden is you don’t have to deal with this intense heat, so you’re probably able to grow things, a variety of things year round. Now, we’ll set these in a shaded area and we’ll check back in about a week or so to see if these sprouted at the same time as our Rise Garden.
Narrator: Next, he gauged how easy the garden is to maintain.
Timothy Hammond: I think the flashing light means it’s working. Ha, your garden is connected. Look at the lights dimming. It’s testing the lights. The fact that it sends me alerts through an app is pretty cool. I mean, it makes it a lot easier to remember things involved with the garden and that’s one thing that we really want is to make sure that we are staying on top of it and the app helps you stay on top of the gardening.
So today, we’re gonna do a reservoir change, change the water out in the reservoir because you can check the water level. Now, we’re down to two. And then we’re actually gonna throw in, I’m gonna throw in some of these nutrients here. I’m excited. Check out the arugula taking off. Okay. Once you put the nutrients in, I think it was about a week and a half in, about 10 days in, once I put the nutrients in, then stuff really started taking off.
Narrator: Finally, he compared how the same seeds grew outside in comparison to the smart garden.
Timothy Hammond: This is day two with the Rise Garden and I wanted to show you that the seeds that we planted outside have already sprouted. We already have some arugula sprouting. While the Rise Garden has still not sprouted. Nothing beats the sun and Mother Nature.
We have some basil sprouting in the nursery up here, which is pretty cool. But let’s take a look at the rest of the garden. See, we have basil sprouting here also. That’s on the top shelf.
Narrator: So how did the outdoor seeds ultimately compare?
Timothy Hammond: So as you can see here, the ones that we had outside, they have to deal with the elements. While they were the first to sprout, they quickly stalled and slowed down once that 100-degree weather, that 100-degree Houston weather came into account.
Narrator: So what’s Timothy’s final take after 25 days?
Timothy Hammond: So when it comes to this Rise Garden Smart Garden, I’d give it a four out of five. First, I love how well it grows leafy greens. I love how simple it is to use. I love the app keeping up with when I planted and when I need to do water changes and things like that. But a few things that I don’t like with the system: First, I don’t like that the shelves are not adjustable, meaning I have to put my taller plants on the bottom and also, they get less light down on the bottom. Second, it’s not easy to clean out the reservoir and empty and change the water whenever it’s time for water changes. And third thing is the price. At over $700, that’s a little too steep for me, but I love what this garden is able to do. And I love the fact that you could grow year-round with this thing.
Narrator: A Rise Garden spokesman said the purpose of the shelf height is to keep the structure simple and refined. They’re also working on improving the cleaning process. He added, “While the price point is quite high for a hobby like gardening, we really wanted to not cut corners on materials and technology in order to allow people to go from a fun hobby to truly replacing items on their grocery list.”
Timothy Hammond: And just like that, you have a nice bowl of salad greens right here.