You don’t need to get dirty to grow great things
Spring has spring and it’s gardening season. But not everybody has a garden or access to decent growing space – and even if you do have the space, the recent stormy weather has been enough to keep all but the most determined gardener indoors. Don’t despair, though: there are plenty of gadgets that enable you to grow great things indoors or when you have limited space for green things. There are even tools to design gardens that don’t exist.
If you’re also a keen cook, you’ll like the Indoor Allotment (£24.99, currently on pre-order at Firebox.com): it’s a miniature herb garden complete with picket fence and storage shed. It includes basil, coriander and oregano along with everything you need to get your herbs growing – and it’s small enough to fit in the corner of a windowsill. If you fancy something a little bit more ambitious, IKEA’s Socker miniature greenhouse is just £12 with an assembled size of 45cm wide, 22cm deep and 35cm high, which is more than enough for all kinds of plants. You can also keep the roof vents partly open to improve air circulation for plants that don’t like it too hot.
While you’re in IKEA, it’s worth checking out their self-watering plant pots too. The Sötcitron and PS Fejö pots (from £6 to £16) are designed for those of us who don’t always remember to water our plants, and do a superb job for very little money.
Fancy something a little more high-tech? The Click and Grow (€59.95 from clickandgrow.com) describes itself as a “smart garden” and uses a NASA-inspired combination of hydroponics and electronics to ensure that your plants get the right combination of water, oxygen and nutrients without you doing anything. It includes a LED lamp for maximum germination, and because it’s LED the running costs are microscopic. The creators suggest growing petunias, tomatoes, chillies, basil or thyme but it should be able to handle anything that isn’t too large.
If you’ve got green fingered children, the Chuppon self-watering animal planter (£9.99) should delight them: it’s a ceramic animal with a herb basket on its back and a straw that sips from any glass or mug. There are four animals and four herbs to choose from, although of course you can put your own herbs in instead.
Even the smartphone has made its presence felt in the world of gardening, and there are lots of apps and devices for indoor and outdoor gardening. One of the cleverest devices is the Parrot Flower Power, a wireless device that sits in your plant pot and monitors the plant’s health, sending alerts to your phone. It’s available for Apple and Android phones, measures sunlight, temperature, fertiliser and moisture, and it currently costs £42. That’s probably a bit steep if you’re growing cress, but if you’ve got something exotic or temperamental it could be a very wise investment indeed.
There’s another type of digital gardening you can do, and that’s to create a virtual one in your computer – something you can do just for fun, or to plan what you’ll do to a real garden space. There are many garden planning apps to choose from, including My Garden (free from www.gardena.com/uk) and Marshalls Garden Visualiser (free from www.marshalls.co.uk). Happy gardening!
Images L to R: Indoor Allotment; Chuppon self-watering animal planter; Parrot Flower Power; Click and Grow Smart Garden.
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