Indoor gardening and summer do not exactly go hand in hand. But there are several great ways to use your Click and Grow Smart Garden during spring and summer.
This article focuses on three great ways to keep your Smart Garden up and running during summer for better yields – indoors and outdoors.
Come summer, and we spend most of our gardening time outdoors. We have the luxury of forgetting about grow lights and taking full advantage of the natural sunlight outdoors.
But this does not make your Click and Grow Smart Garden obsolete, far from it.
3 ways to maximize the use of your Smart Garden in the summer
The Click and Grow Smart Garden is a convenient and easy way to grow herbs and vegetables indoors. And yes, it is an indoor growing system, but it can do more than what it was designed to do.
1. Grow slower-growing plants like chilies or peppers
It makes sense to continue growing fresh herbs and vegetables indoors in summer. The Smart Garden will continue to perform, and it is an economical way to grow.
But summer is the ideal time to try growing some of the slower-to-develop plants like chilies. In winter, it is easy to focus on yield and harvest to table. We are starved for greens, and it makes perfect to choose fast-growing leafy greens and herbs.
But summertime is different. Now we have leafy greens and herbs outdoors, and it makes sense to allocate a slot or two for slower-growing plants like chilies.
Another advantage is that one or two chili plants will go a long way. You will have plenty of fruits to harvest, and you only need a fruit or two to add some serious heat to your cooking.
2. Propagate seedlings for your herb and vegetable garden
Some herbs and vegetables are pretty easy to propagate from seeds. Lettuce, basil, and Pak Choi are just three seeds that do well for most home gardeners.
But then we have those herbs and vegetables that can be difficult to propagate from seed. For many home gardeners, Mediterranean herbs like rosemary, sage, and thyme cause all kinds of difficulties, including germination problems and leggy seedlings.
I recommend pre-germinating slower to germinate seeds as it ensures you only work with fresh and viable seeds.
Here your Smart Garden is an excellent propagation station for harder-to-grow seeds.
Place the plant pod in the pot and leave everything else to your Smart Garden. The system will deliver an optimal environment for your seeds to germinate and develop into strong, compact seedlings.
When your seedlings reach a size of at least 6 cm (2 inches), remove the plant pod and replant the whole pod in a lean potting mix.
When your seedlings have a minimum of 4 true leaves, you are ready to transplant your seedlings.
Before over-fertilizing your plant, remember that the Click and Grow plant pods contain slow-release fertilizers.
Added bonus, as the cup no longer limits the plant's growth, it can grow larger if given the right conditions.
3. Have a go at using other mediums in your Smart Garden
The Click and Grow Smart Soil plant pods provide an excellent seed-growing environment.
But what if you could use the Smart Garden to grow other seeds?
The sky is the limit – vermiculite, peat, and coconut coir are just three alternatives you can try. And yes, I will give you my favorite option below.
You can buy seedless Grow Anything Plant Pods that allow you to use your own seeds while taking advantage of the superior germination environment of Smart Soil.
There are three complicating factors when using any other medium than Smart Soil plant pods.
- Smart Soil contains slow-release fertilizer
- Your medium needs to absorb moisture from the Smart Garden wick system
- Your medium should not harm the system
1. Fertilizing your medium
The Click and Grow plant pods come pre-seeded and contain a slow-release fertilizer.
The seeds you plant will contain all the energy needed to germinate, but as soon as you see true leaves, you need to start thinking about giving your seedlings nutrients to grow and thrive.
You have two main alternatives; use liquid nutrients or insert slow-release pellets into your medium.
As promised, my preferred solution is below.
2. A medium to work with the Click and Grow hydroponic wick system
The Smart Garden is a hydroponic wick system. Wick systems are great in that they are passive and rely on the wick to transfer moisture from the container to the medium.
Here you need to test to ensure that your selected medium absorbs and retains enough – but not too much – moisture for the seeds to germinate and the plant to develop and thrive.
3. Ensure you do not harm your Smart Garden
The Click and Grow Smart Garden is a robust and well-built system.
But in all fairness, it was built for the use of Smart Soil plant pods. Period.
I will present you with my preferred solution below. And this solution works for me and has not harmed my Smart Garden.
And when introducing a new medium to the system, you must ensure that you do not harm the system. It is your responsibility to do your homework.
My favorite alternative medium to the Smart Soil plant pods
The Smart Garden was built for Smart Soil plant pods. And if you test my alternative, you do it at your own risk.
It works for me, and I see no reasons why it would not work for you, but there are too many unknowns for me to make any promises.
I use a combination of vermiculite and slow reölease pellets inserted into the cup when I see fully formed first leaves.
Tip, do not use small dust like vermiculite particles as they risk clogging the wick. Go outside and use a sieve or a filter to get rid of the smallest dust particles.
It is crucial to work in a well-ventilated area, wear a mask, and stand downwind when working with vermiculite. You do not want to inhale vermiculite dust particles.
My method is straightforward:
- Go outside
- Stand downwind
- Wear gloves when you sieve the vermiculite
- When only larger pieces are left, mist the vermiculite thoroughly using a spray bottle
- Transfer vermiculite to Smart Garden plant pot
I have had great results with all herbs and leafy greens that I have tested. But then again, as you may already know if you are a regular reader, I find vermiculite to be an extremely useful all-purpose soil amendment.