Bosch SmartGrow

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SmartGrow is a smart indoor garden from Bosch.
Originally this was developed as a Kickstarter-project by a company called Plantui who also market it under its original name “Smart Garden”.
The seeds sold by Bosch are also from Plantui, even if they are marketed under the Bosch-brand.
The system comes with space for either three or six plants.
The light will shine for 16 hours and will then be turned off for eight hours.
You can program the time when it switches off simply by laying your hand on the top of the lid.
It’s also possible to put it in “holiday-mode” where plants will grow slower and consume less water.
Sensors feel when water is needed and pump fresh water from the reservior to the section where the roots are located.

Designwise it looks a little like an electric salad bowl. It comes with the bowl, an insert , the lid with the LEDs as well as two height modules.

I purchased the version for six plants. I found the small version to be too small for my requirements and the large version wasn’t that much more expensive.
In addition, I got some extra Height-Modules, a Blooming Light Module plus a Boosting Light Module.
Finally, I bought different seeds and packs to use with my own seeds.

To start up, after unpacking the system, you fill it with 3l of water and 6g of nutrient.
Then the plants are added.
There are six spaces for the plants plus an additional space to top up the water.

The lid contains the growth-LEDs. There is one red, yellow and green LED above each plant.
The blue spectrum is supposed to support the growth of the plant. As long as no height-module is inserted, the light will be mainly in the blue-violet spectrum.
After the first height-mdule has been mounted, all LEDs will go on.

The plants come in packs of three. In addition, one package of Nutrient is included.
I bought some different plants but mainly so-called “Experimental Packs” which contain everything except the seeds.
I used these to plant some edible flowers which I plan to use for decorating some of the more complex meals I prepare.

Experimental set with three containers plus a pack of nutrient.

After about a week or so, the seeds started growing and I had to put in the first height module. I used a Blooming light to boost plant growth.

The first height module is added, in this case a Blooming Light Height Module.

A few weeks later, I had a jungle in my kichen.
Meanwhile I was able to harvest the first edible flowers.

My kitchen-jungle

One thing you will notice in the photo above is that my plants grow at a different height.
Normally you should use plants that grow at a similar speed.
In my case the higher plants take the light of the lower ones, significantly influencing their rate of growth.
Because I wanted to grow edible flowers, I had bought mainly so-called “Experimental Packs” from Bosch and got the seeds elsewhere without knowing how high the plants would grow. With a little more experience, I’ll make sure I use plants that don’t grow too high in future.
I find the price for the original seed-packs rather steep but I guess that’s the price you pay for being an early adopter.

Do you need this SmartGrow-system in your kitchen?
Not necessarily. It’s quite expensive and offers only limited space for plants.
On the other hand though, it’s fascinating to see the plants grow and you can also grow exotic spices and herbs during the dark winter season whoch normally wouldn’t grow here in Central Europe.
Would I buy it again?
Yes, I definitely would. Not only because of the great plants I can grow here but rather because I find the technology fascinating.
I believe this may be the future of urban gardening on a larger scale and I’d like to gather some experience in this field.

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