In the recent time many people have opted to grow their own food. So, I was feeling motivated to try it myself. Yet, after two unsuccessful attempts I decided there has to be a fool -proof way. Grow boxes or growing appliances turned out to be the answer.

The easyfix: Grow Boxes

Indoor gardens are often quoted as one of the major trends for 2018. Rooftop greenhouses, gardens or even inhouse installations are becoming a staple for many homes.

After a bit of research I found out it is better to get a hydroponics grower, not a soil-based one. Pests, bugs, bacteria and whatnot) live in the composts aka soil.  So, no soil, no pests.

The appliance has to be automated.  I have absolutely no experience, so the less I do, the better my chances of not messing up. Besides, that means almost no effort.

And yeah, I wanted a grower that’s suitable for anything from weed to strawberries

Digging deep into the world of growers

Unfortunately, all three of the established companies I found were unsuitable for one or another reason.

SuperCloset seems to be the best appliance but it is not automated. So, the users have to actually know what they’re doing.

Cloudponics seems a bit blank. Their website is not so well organized. Also, the FAQ section was not very useful. But I guess my biggest concern is monetary.

The  appliance itself is within the market price range of $2,500 – $3,000 bucks but that is for a non- automated appliance. If you want it to have a brain, you have to buy it for another $1,500

And to be honest, the appliance picture and website do not make me believe it is worth 4k. 

The only established company who are focusing on vegetable and fruit growing is Urban Cultivator. However, their appliance uses soil instead of hydroponics and is not automated. That’s a no-no.

Eventually my search led me to three newcomers to the market. These guys offer growers for a variety of crops.

However, they all share one common issue. At the time being, they have a complete product but no mass production. So, you can only pre-order and wait, it just can’t get shipped straight away.

But I figured that hasn’t stopped Tesla fans out there, so I might as well check them out.

Here they are.

The new growers on the block

Leaf

Credits to getleaf.com

Price: $3,000

Expected Delivery: Mid 2018

Capacity: Single Plant

Versatility: Herbs, Veggies, Fruits

The appliance is cute looking and can grow a variety of crops including herbs, strawberries, tomatoes and peppers.However, from their website I was not clear to me whether the appliance uses hydroponics or soil.

This product seems a bit stuck. They have been around since 2016 and they are still in pre-order stage. My hunch is telling me no.

 

ATF Smart Grower

Credits to agrotechfarm.io

Price: $3,950

Exp. Delivery: Sept 2018

Capacity:2 large plants up/

Versatility: Herbs, Cannabis, Veggies and Fruits

Unique Feature: Blockchain project

The company, AgroTechFarm (ATF) is the only among the newcomers to have two appliances. A large one for cannabis, tomatoes and peppers; small one for strawberries, salads and herbs.

It is interesting that they are a blockchain project. To raise the funds for mass production they are using an ICO which is issuing a digital currency.

However, what impressed me was the community management.

As their website did not offer much technical specifications I decided to check out their telegram group if I can get some information. The CEO and CFO were personally answering questions in the more than 44k group.

They gave me exact grow times and average yields from the appliances at their homes. So, with this grower a single bush gives around 17 oz of fruit, compared to 5 -14 oz from outside plants.

I have no way to know, but hey, got an answer from the CEO.

Seedo

Credits to seedolab.com

Price: $1,900/$2,400

Exp. Delivery: Q2 2018 (April- June)

Capacity: 5 small plants

Versatility: Herbs, Small Veggies, Flowers

Unique Feature: Grow flowers.

Yeah, the design looks like a Leaf copycat. But this grower comes at a bargain if you count the 20% discount they are giving on pre-order. Regarding capacity, they explain that if you wish to have 5 plants you will have to trim them manually.

Despite how versatile is the grower for small crops it is not suitable for larger ones. With its 40’’ height, regular tomatoes or other larger crops simply can’t fit in it. Another thing is that at $2,400 is almost as much as the larger models. The guys from Hightimes even agree..

Still, the flowers options is nice and no other appliance offers this feature.

And the winner is…

All products had a lot of similarities. Latest hydroponics, LED lights and a ton of sensors to monitor the plant’s environment.

In terms of capability both ATF and Leaf will be enough to sate basic needs. Seedo seems kind of limited compared to the other two.

My choice will definitely be the ATF grower.

When it comes to ordering and paying for an appliance that is not manufactured yet, I believe trust is everything. So, seeing that there are people actively working with the community make me feel a tad more secure.

As I see with Leaf, relying on deposits form pre-orders takes forever to go into mass-production. So, maybe AgroTechFarm’s idea to use an ICO to jump start production instead of waiting years is a more business savvy decision.

Also I will get to participate in an ICO and with all the crypto craze I might even make a buck.

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