The difference between a house and a home is how much you love living there. LaunchPad explores the innovative technologies that help you care for your space more effectively.
There are few better experiences than whipping up some made-from-scratch pesto, or garnishing a homemade pizza with a few basil leaves. The only downside is that unless you use all of the $4 basil bunch you bought, it’s going to turn brown and die a slow, sad death in your fridge within a few days.
The way to get around wasting all of that delicious goodness is by growing basil and other herbs and veggies in your windowsill or backyard. Don’t have much of a green thumb? Don’t worry! These tips and gadgets make at-home gardening not only a fun experience, but a practically foolproof one as well — and that’s coming from the girl who once managed to under-water a cactus.
While ‘kitchen’ is in the name, don’t let it fool you — it can be used both indoors and out. The Tregren Genie is designed to grow everything from flowers to vegetables, all without the hassle of soil. Available in white, grey, black, and yellow varieties, it also comes with a growing lamp that produces light within the optimal growing spectrum for faster results.
The Niwa Self-Watering Garden
If you’ve tried to get into gardening before but have always found yourself over- or under-watering your plants, you’ll love Niwa, the smart indoor garden. Niwa’s hydroponic system takes care of all of the fuss of watering and grows your plants in a climate-controlled chamber with smart lighting. The result? Faster growth with the tap of an app.
An Urban Cultivator
Imagine replacing your dishwasher or wine cooler with an indoor gadget for growing fresh herbs. That’s exactly what the Urban Cultivator does. Completely automated, the Urban Cultivator lets you grow fresh herbs and microgreens from the comfort of your own kitchen without the clutter of potted plants everywhere. All you have to do is pop their organic seeds in, calibrate the settings, and walk away.
Regrow Veggies From Their Roots
When I first learned about this a few years ago, the fact that certain vegetables can be re-grown through their roots blew my mind. If you’ve got scallions, for example, you can chop them up and use them as you normally would, but instead of tossing out the bottom section of the plant where the roots are, set them aside in a little cup of water and watch new scallions sprout over the next few days. Other prime candidates for easy re-growing projects include garlic, lettuce, lemongrass, celery, carrots, and onions.
Go Vertical To Save On Space
You don’t have to commit your entire window sill, half of your precious counter space, or even a significant portion of your yard to gardening. Vertical gardening has become a space-saving trend that can be applied both indoors and in your yard. Rather than setting pots on your counters or windows, try affixing them to your walls instead. You can go big and cover a whole wall or small, with just a few herbs in mini Mason jars. The result is both a unique take on decorating and the launch of an indoor garden.
Some approaches for outdoor vertical gardens include attaching planters to fencing, lacing pergola walls with hanging plants, or installing a plant ladder of sorts. You can have all the benefits of a garden without worrying about Fido digging them all up.
Use Eggshells To Nourish Seedlings
Whether you’re nurturing seedlings indoors before taking them outside in the spring or you’re sprouting up an indoor garden, save your eggshells and re-use them as little mini pots for sprouting seeds. Instead of cracking eggs in half for your omelet like you might normally do, just tap the top off of your eggs and use the rest of the calcium-rich shell to feed up your little plants-to-be. The best part? Eggshells are organic, so you don’t have to worry about getting the seedlings out — just drop them in a pot or the ground, pack them with some soil, and they’re ready to go.
Cinnamon Janzer is a freelance journalist and content writer based in Minneapolis. You can read more about her at www.cinnamon-janzer.com.