One doesn't necessarily need a green thumb and lush plots of land in order to cultivate quality crops. A Canadian-based team has launched a product aimed at individuals who want to grow plants and herbs year-round without all the guesswork. The Grobo indoor gardening system features smart tech designed to simulate ideal growing conditions while providing real-time information to users.
Indoor, automated, and/or smart growing systems are nothing new. One could take a trip to a local nursery and pick up ready-to-go pods that need only periodic watering and daily sunshine, not unlike the Click and Grow Smart Herb Garden. But vigilance matters – a few missed days of care can impact resulting harvests. Grobo works to make things easier by automatically providing light, water, and nutrients to plants.
Standing at nearly 4 ft (1.2 m) tall, the rectangular-shaped Grobo could be casually mistaken for an Ikea bookshelf – ideal for those who don't have space for a greenhouse the size of a vending machine. Inside the unit lies a host of sensors along with an array of 63 LEDs. These specialized photon lights are designed to mimic natural sunlight across an eight-color spectrum. Users are able to manually adjust color wavelength, intensity, and cycles in order to promote desired growth.
Grobo packs sensors to monitor and control internal temperature (external temp is monitored only), humidity, electroconductivity, pH within the soil medium, and water levels. The Wi-Fi connected system is designed to know when to water, feed, and regulate the environment for the specific plant chosen via the mobile app (available for iOS and Android) or website. Users can select from options (or create their own) available in the app's database, which contains optimal growing information for a wide variety of flora.
Not only does the Grobo app connect individuals to a community of growers to share stats, recipes, and tips, but it serves as a complete dashboard. The app is designed to show current water and nutrient levels, plant height, estimated harvest time, and more. Users receive push notification reminders whenever the system requires replenishment or periodic maintenance (e.g. flushing out the water tanks, replacing filter).
Grobo is also designed with discreet privacy in mind, an aspect lacking with the Plantui Plantation growing system. Grobo features an electrochromic plexiglass door that goes from transparent to opaque via a push of a button within the mobile app. This bit of control can help give plants proper darkness to grow as well as keep prying eyes out. A steel solenoid door lock serves to keep curious hands out of the Grobo garden, too.
Those who prefer to have living spaces not smell like flourishing fruits or sticky herbs can activate Grobo's in-line fan to cycle the air. An activated charcoal carbon filter serves to neutralize any organic aromas that may otherwise draw undesired attention.
The Grobo home growing system is available for a pre-order price of US$899, saving $400 off the planned retail price. That's a bit steep considering that "Grobo is designed to grow one plant to its maximum potential" at a time, according to the company. But if you don't mind spending a little green to enhance your green thumb, you might find it a worthwhile investment.
The estimated delivery date is April, 2017.