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This article was published on April 17, 2019

Video: We grew weed in our office with this ~high~ tech smart garden

It took 4 months and 20 days (jk it was probably longer than that)

Smart Garden 9
Callum Booth
Story by

Callum Booth

Managing Editor

Callum is the Managing Editor of TNW. He covers the full spectrum of technology, looks after editorial newsletters, and makes the occasional Callum is the Managing Editor of TNW. He covers the full spectrum of technology, looks after editorial newsletters, and makes the occasional odd video.

If you want to find out how our weed experiment went, watch the video above. It tracks the entire journey from start to finish – and you’re gonna want to see how it ends.

The video above is pretty much all about weed. The article, less so. It looks more at the Smart Garden 9 hardware itself, but is just as fun. I promise.

Cool! So, uh, what is it?

As the name suggests, it’s a smart garden.

But what actually is that?

Basically, it’s a device that lets you grow plants while doing (almost) nothing. Click and Grow – the company behind the Smart Garden 9 – sells pre-seeded pods that you slot in the machine and then… they sprout and a plant shoots up.

Sounds easy!

It is. Once the pre-seeded pods are in the machine, you fill up its water tank, and plug it in. At first, you put some plastic lids over the pods to help the seeds germinate and the plants themselves to grow, but these come off within the first week or so.

An example of the plastic caps, which you slip on the pods to help the seeds within germinate.

Then – apart from filling it up with more water when it runs out – the Smart Garden 9 does the rest.

The lights are on for 16 hours a day and – if you use all the nine available pod spaces – I found it’d suck the entire four-liter tank dry in just under two weeks.

This is what the lights look like when they’re on.

What can you grow with the Smart Garden 9?

Well, the company sells a huge list of different plant pods.

These range from the normal (like tomatoes and lettuce), to the less common (like bloody sorrel), and the weird (like painted nettle). All these seeds are planted in what the company refers to as “NASA inspired smart soil.”

You can even subscribe to a plant pod service, where the company will consistently send you a selection of pods you desire.

What if you want to grow something the company doesn’t sell?

Well, then you need the experimental pods. These are what we used to grow the weed with.

Basically, they’re just lumps of the aforementioned “NASA inspired” soil mixture. The only difference between using these and the aforementioned pre-packaged pods is that you put the seed into the dirt. Everything else about the growing process is exactly the same.

You literally just put the seeds in the hole in the centre of the dirt pile.

…and does it work?

Oh man, it worked a million times better than I thought it would. I’m genuinely impressed and in awe of the Smart Garden 9.

Throughout my time, I grew two things: pre-seeded lettuce pods and marijuana with the experimental pods. I half-expected the lettuce not to grow, but that got going immediately and actually produced a great tasting vegetable. What more can I say than that? It did everything I expected and more.

Alongside this, I was convinced the weed wouldn’t grow at all – and boy was I wrong. I mean, look at this:

An image of the weed near the end of the process. It got very, very tall and I had to make my own extension to the Smart Garden 9.

I planted four seeds: three from Sensi Seeds (specifically, the Skunk #1 strain), and one novelty-style seed (once again, watch the video above for more details!).

All three of the Skunk #1 plants sprouted (even though one barely made it past this stage), with two of them growing into towering beasts. The novelty-style seed never rose out of the dirt, but I don’t think this was an issue with the Smart Garden 9 at all – it’s just because it was a crap marijuana seed.

Sounds amazing! But, come on, what happened with the weed?

Well, it’d be cruel not to give you some more insight into the process. Basically, the plants grew, but never flowered. In other words, the bits you smoke to get high never developed.

Oh no, why?

Well, I met with someone from Sensi Seeds – the company who produced the seeds I used – and put this question to them. They said that in order to make weed flower, the amount of light the plant receives needs to be adjusted. Effectively, this signals the changing of seasons, which makes it produce the buds.

It was also suggested that due to the size of the Smart Garden 9’s pods (they’re slightly smaller than a 330ml can), there wasn’t enough soil for the marijuana plants to thrive. This means we should’ve repotted them.

We, of course, did neither of those. It wasn’t the point of our experiment – we wanted to do as little work as humanly possible.

To find out more about the weed journey, which I know you want to do, stop reading, and head to the top of the page. Play the video and watch it all. This article isn’t going anywhere. Why are you still reading? WATCH.

Who’s the Smart Garden 9 for?

In my mind? Anyone. Of course, the $200 price tag means that not everyone can afford it, but when it comes to gadgets in this price category, it’s one of the best.

Showing some love to the dismantled Smart Garden.

It not only has a genuine use (you can grow your own herbs, spices, and food), but it also looks great. While I was growing plants on my desk, I found it very relaxing to have nearby. Especially the weed.

Of course, the pre-seeded plant pods aren’t super cheap (a pack of three cost around $10), but neither are they crazily expensive. I’d also put money on you being able to fill up the containers with your own soil and seeds if you’re really keen on saving some cash. But, as we all know by now, the real joy of the Smart Garden 9 is absolutely doing nothing.

If you’d like to experiment growing your own vegetables and, uh, herbs, you can grab yourself a Smart Garden 9 here. It comes highly recommended.

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