So much technological innovation is being devoted to keeping food fresher for longer – is an indoor smart garden the next step when it comes to living sustainably and having the freshest food possible to hand?

Click & Grow, the producer of self-watering indoor gardens, was founded in 2009 by CEO Mattias Lepp and has recently seen huge investment from Ikea’s parent company, Ingka Group.

Smart Garden display at Ikea Greenwich

The company’s breakthrough technology means that non-GM and pesticide-free plants can be grown “with zero effort” at home. The plant pods, full of ‘smart soil’ and seeds, are similar in size to coffee machine capsules, and come in 45 different plant varieties including herbs, salad greens, vegetables, fruit and flowers.

Adjustable LED lamps offer enhanced lighting to encourage plant growth, and the water used is prevented from evaporating. The ‘smart soil’ is almost completely covered so that water leaves the system only by plant transpiration.

According to Click & Grow, plants grown using the Smart Gardens and Wall Farms use 95% less water, contain up to 600% more vitamins, and grow 30% faster than plants grown with current agricultural methods.

Lepp believes the the next step for smart indoor gardens is “to see how hyper-local farming can have a lasting impact on the sustainability of our food chain and reduce food waste”, and he thinks that they have already earned “their rightful place among kitchen tools” in the home.

The Plantcube, which is produced by Agrilution, is the brainchild of Max Lössl and Philipp Wagner. It is described as an ‘intelligent home greenhouse’ that enables the user to grow a wide selection of greens, including salads and herbs.

The Plantcube

It works on the same principle as hydroponic cultivation, so it doesn’t require soil. Automatic watering is supplied on a cycle of up to 12 times a day, and the ideal light has been created in collaboration with Osram to provide the right conditions for photosynthesis to occur.

The greens are also said to be nutrient rich and grown without pesticides. Added to that, as the user only harvests the amount they wish to use while the rest keeps until it’s needed, there is a reduction in the amount of food wasted or thrown away.

The Agrilution app means that the user is able to monitor the plants’ progress and growth phases remotely, can reorder varieties, and is even able to access recipes to make the most of the produce grown.

The Plantcube is available as a freestanding cabinet, but it is the same size as a fridge or wine cooler, and can be incorporated into the kitchen design as an undercounter solution.

Its minimal appearance and handle-less design also means that it can be integrated into a kitchen island or vertical bank of appliances with ease. This is important news for kitchen designers – the indoor smart garden just came one step closer to becoming part of everyday life.

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