Ask a nutritionist about microgreens and they may tell you that these little plants are the underdogs of the nutrition world. Simple little vegetables might not be too satiating, but for a simple punch of vitamins and antioxidants, microgreens are like a natural multivitamin. Many also have a mild flavor, while others provide a nice pop of aromatic flavor. That means there are a wealth of culinary applications for microgreens on top of their health benefits.
Microgreens, which are simply young vegetable greens, can be hard to find at the market, but these lovely little superfoods are quick and easy to grow at home. Now, a newly launched hydroponic smart garden called . is calledLooking to make the process easier. And with an eye-catching and simple Scandi design, Ingarden just might be the best looking smart garden we’ve come across.
- easy to use
- no soil
- Shrub produces microgreens in about a week
- Looks great and fits almost anywhere
do not like it
- More expensive than other microgreen smart gardens
- limited to growing microgreens only
I recently had a chance to try the compact $100 Ingarden. I found the soilless smart garden to be attractive, intuitive, and, as promised, it grew lots of bushy microgreens in just a few days. Given its small size and efficient production, I would recommend this smart garden to anyone who is interesting in growing and eating more healthy greens, but with limited indoor space to do it.
Not to be confused with herbs or sprouts, microgreens are technically young vegetable greens that are smaller in size. Most contain a concentrated amount of vitamins and nutrients, including potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper. Microgreens are also rich in antioxidants that are known to reduce the risk of certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and diabetes.
Microgreens are used in a variety of dishes, but most often appear as garnishes in restaurants or toppers in sandwiches, soups and salad joints. There are dozens of varieties but some popular types include mustard, broccoli, radish, watercress and arugula microgreen.
If you haven’t paid for these wispy greens, you won’t be alone. But they pack a nice nutrient punch that deserves your attention.
As of now, you can only grow microgreens in an garden. If you’re looking for fresh herbs or lettuce, you’ll want to spring for a larger, more complexor a Sample.
Ingarden is a simple smart garden, but it has limitations
The most important difference between this smart garden and others is its simplicity. The Ingarden has an open reservoir of water that automatically wicks up to the organic seed pad above. The instructions say to water only once per crop cycle, but I found that the reservoir dried up after about four days and needed to be refilled.
Three seed pads sit on trays above the water source and under a handle with a row of built-in LED lights. The light source works on a timer and is essential for steady growth, but you can also control the light manually if you want to speed up or slow down growth.
Talking so that…
Microgreens grow fast
I planted my first seed pads – microgreens of radishes, red cabbage and mustard – and by the third day they had sprouted. By day 7 the microgreens were ready to harvest and by day 10, my garden was bursting with micro-vegetation.
The life cycle is short, so use them
Once in full bloom, after about two weeks, microgreens will begin to wither and wither if you don’t cut them. Aside from the spicy mustard greens, the greens I cut didn’t have a ton of great flavor, but it means you can chop them up and use them in almost anything—a sandwich, smoothie, sauce, salad. Marinade – without disturbing the flavor profile. They also make a flavorful and healthy garnish for soups or some grilled chicken or fish bowls.
Ingarden fits on a window and looks great
Perhaps my favorite thing about Ingarden is the design. The simple and streamlined Scandinavian-inspired garden is less than 6 inches wide and thus can live almost anywhere. Most other smart gardens are quite large (and ugly if I’m being honest) and require more of a dedicated space.
Ingarden fits seamlessly into almost any space and adds a pleasing pop of green to a coffee table, side table window or bookshelf. It’s something that New York apartment-dwellers appreciate.
cost more but the tradeoff is better design
What Ingarden is worth for: A basic starter package with microgreens garden and seven seed pads is $100. Each pad can only be germinated once and an additional package of seven pads costs $24, although they get cheaper if you subscribe for three, six or 12 months.
To me, the tradeoff is better design and materials, and that’s a good one. The Ingarden is made of stainless steel, unlike many leading indoor smart gardens that have no plastic at all. It’s likely to last you a lot longer than a plastic smart garden, and it looks good too.
There are cheap, simple alternatives like this, They work well, but with no LED grow light or water system, it will require good natural sunlight and more attention.
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