Presenting YAUGU (yet another urban grow unit).
We've highlighted many variations of indoor gardening systems over the years, some of them simple and low tech and some of them with decidedly 'smart' features, and all of them with the same goal: to help people grow some of their own food inside their homes. You don't necessarily need one of these purpose-built growing units to start an indoor garden, as DIY versions can be much cheaper to build (although perhaps lacking some of the automated features), but for those who aren't into making their own indoor planters, there are certainly many options to choose from when purchasing one.
The latest indoor gardening system I've come across is the aptly named Wall Farm, from Click and Grow, which comes in two sizes, both of which are designed to take up minimal floor space while providing the maximum growing area.
The first thing to know about these planters is that they aren't app-controlled, which it seems many countertop growing units are moving toward, but which probably aren't needed and which might mostly be BECAUSE APPS. Rest assured, there is an app associated with Wall Farm, but it's for offering growing tips and deals on refills and such, not to control the lighting schedule or monitor the planters.
The second thing to know is that this is a soil-based system, not a hydroponics or aeroponics system, and it's also the second time in a week that I've heard a reference from product companies about 'smart soil' as a factor in plant health and optimal growth. It looks like part of the business model here is to sell owners new soil and seed refills each growing cycle, but it also appears that it can be refilled with a garden store or homebrewed potting soil mix, if desired. The company is really bullish on its smart soil mix, with claims that plants grow 30% faster, and with less water and higher vitamin content, which if true, would make buying its soil an easy choice.
"The backbone of our technology is the specially developed nanomaterial Smart Soil that keeps the level of oxygen, water, pH and nutritional ingredients at an optimal level. The Smart Soil is made of natural renewable sources and is biodegradable. No Pesticides, Fungicides or Herbicides are used to grow the plants. The Wall farm also features ultra-efficient grow lights and electronic precision irrigation (EPI) that makes it possible to use up to 95% less water than traditional farming methods." - Click and Grow
The Wall Farm Mini, which is a two-shelf unit measuring 62" high x 54" wide x 16" deep (580mm x 1360mm x 400mm), can grow up to 38 plants at a time, and has a 14 liter water tank for semi-automatic watering. Each growing shelf has lights for plant growth, although the website doesn't list exact specs for the lights, and the whole unit weighs about 110 lbs (I'm assuming when loaded with plants and water). It retails for $299, but Click and Grow is offering it at a discounted $199 right now for the product launch, with refills selling at monthly subscription cost of $59.95 for 20 plant refills.
The Wall Farm, which has three shelves and measures 83" high x 54" wide x 16" deep (2100mm x 1360mm x 400mm), has a growing capacity of 57 plants at a time, an automated watering system with a 35 liter tank, and the ability to monitor and control certain functions via a web portal. It is selling for $799, along with a similarly-priced subscription plan. According to the website, neither unit's price includes the initial soil and seeds, so that will have to be factored into the customers' costs.