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See our high-level takeaways below, or skip to our full review!Our Take:
- AI assistant, Kelby
- Too expensive for some
- Space for 30 plants
- Designed for ease of use
- Space saving
Jump to: Full Review
Growing a full vegetable garden at home is a dream for some but can also be daunting. I have abandoned an outdoor garden before, but growing an indoor garden using hydroponics is a different ballgame.
With Gardyn, you can grow 30 large plants in just 2 square feet of space!But, how much food does Gardyn really produce? You would have to plant an outdoor garden as large as 1,300 square feet to grow the same amount of produce. Insanity.
Talk about convenience. You can snip off precisely what you need, so you don’t have to worry about your fresh greens and veggies going bad in the refrigerator. Notably, the entire process is pesticide-free, too, so you can take comfort in knowing thatGardyn is providing you the fresh nutrients you need without commercial byproducts.
Gardyn Review: Is It Right For You?
The Gardyn system is one of the smartest indoor gardening systems available. The Gardyn provides a controlled environment to manage water, nutrition, and lighting. The smart gardening assistant, named Kelby, provides personalized tips to ensure optimal growth. It is impressive how much you can grow in such a small space.
You don’t need a green thumb to master this vertical garden system. With a little practice and the help of easy instructions, healthy food and delicious salads may become the most convenient part of your self-care routine.
Sure, you can grow delicious produce using traditional gardening techniques, but most people find that growing your lettuce varieties and tomato plants indoors is much easier. This is especially true for those that are just getting started. Dealing with outdoor pests, weather schedules, and weeds can be discouraging.
TheGardyn system solves a bunch of problems, and its not just for those living in food deserts. Need easier access to nutritious food? Problem solved. Want to incorporate daily salads into your routine? Taken care of.
Discouraged because it doesn’t seem you have a green thumb? It’s time to reconsider. Don’t have space for a garden? Try this indoor vertical garden instead. Live in a tough climate for growing? Indoor growing solves this problem as well.
Every person should have access to quality food. Gardyn makes that happen.
How Does Gardyn Work?
Gardyn is a hydroponic system that includes a six-gallon reservoir. The water tank is big enough that you might not have to add water for weeks at a time. And when it is time to add water, the assistant (called Kelby) will let you know.
While the Gardyn technology is innovative, it is easy to understand and manage.
The Gardyn tower utilizes a proprietary technology called the hydroponic system to recirculate water in a closed-loop. This process better circulates air and nutrients, but it also reduces consumption by up to 95% compared to traditional methods, which is one of the reasons the water reservoir lasts so long.
But what if you don’t have much natural light? No worries. The Gardyn system has LED lights strategically placed to provide the perfect amount of light to each of the 30 plants. Gardyn’s full-spectrum lighting mimics sunlight with 75W LED grow lights.
Of course, we are getting ahead of ourselves. The Gardyn indoor gardening system starts with seeds packed in yPods (also called yCubes), which you plug into the device’s columns.
The yPods look similar to single-serve coffee pods, but instead of coffee grounds, the yPods include seeds packed in Rockwool to help them grow. Rockwell is a mineral derived from basalt salt that helps the seeds to germinate and develop strong roots.
And by the way, all of the seeds that Gardyn uses are organic, non-GMO seeds sourced from local farmers across the United States. Whether you want to grow an indoor herb garden or enough delicious produce to provide your family with daily salads, nutritious food starts with the seeds.
It’s also good to know that Gardyn will send yCube replacement pods for any Starter Kit pods that have not germinated within 28 days. Since the Gardyn system collects environmental information, the Gardyn team will work directly with customers to address any ecological factors inhibiting germination after the starter kit.
Once the yCubes are installed, the smart assistant (Kelby), the hydroponic watering system, and the smart LED lighting combine to create optimal growing conditions for your indoor garden.
Can You Use Your Own Seeds in Gardyn?
If you have already purchased Gardyn, you might be wondering if you can grow your own seeds in a Gardyn device. While Gardyn offers a wide variety of plants to choose from, there may be different plants you want to grow. Fortunately, Gardyn offers empty yCubes that you can put seeds into.
You can always contact the customer service team if you have specific questions, but before you start growing exotic plants, consider how much space they might take and what type of root system the plant has. Some plants will work better in Gardyn than other plants.
Plant Food & The Gardyn System
The Gardyn subscription includes a package of plant food as part of the monthly subscription. Once you are all set up, the Gardyn app will provide further instruction regarding any plant food that needs to be added.
If you need to purchase additional plant food, you can do so through the app once you’ve set up the garden and connected to WiFi. Additional plant food is sold in 8 oz. packages.
The Gardyn team recommends that you stick with Gardyn plant food, as it is specifically developed to work as part of the overall ecosystem. Growing plants with mainstream organic plant food may be appealing, but doing so isn’t advisable for a hydroponic system.
Gardyn plant food is considered mineral plant food, which is adjacent to organic plant food, but not usually categorized together. The term organic has become a loaded term, but the main thing you need to know is that growing plants with mineral plant food is safe and effective.
How is Gardyn Different Than Other Hydroponic Systems?
A Gardyn device is part of a smart system that includes small cameras that monitor the health of your plants and an AI-powered assistant named Kelby that provides insightful feedback. The Gardyn app and Kelby assistant truly set the Gardyn apart from most other hydroponic systems.
A Gardyn device fits as many as 30 plants, which means that in a few square feet inside your house, you can grow as many plants as you could in 1,300 sq ft outside. While a few other hydroponic systems like the Lettuce Grow Farmstand might rival this, popular countertop gardens can’t compete.
How Does the Smart Assistant (Kelby) Work?
Once you have purchased and installed the Gardyn, you will also want to install Kelby on your phone. Kelby is the name of Gardyn’s smart assistant, accessible through the Gardyn app. The app itself offers countless tips and tricks, but the real benefit is that Kelby notifies you when you need to add water or plant food.
Don’t underestimate Kelby. It isn’t just a set of timers that will let you know when to add water and plant food, and it is much more than an app to control your Gardyn’s grow light. Sure, if you need to adjust the intensity of the lights or the lighting schedule, the app can help you accomplish that, but that is just the start.
The Gardyn collects environmental information such as temperature, humidity, and water level to use as data points, and also captures pictures to gauge the health of your plants or potential problems.
Kelby combines all of this information to provide the owner with insights to address any issues and keep your garden growing fresh produce. Whether you head out for vacation or just lead a busy life and need help with your gardening routine, Kelby is a game-changer.
Does the Gardyn Have Cameras?
And yes, the Gardyn does have built-in cameras. More specifically, the Gardyn has two built-in cameras that help Kelby monitor the health of your garden. You can review the pictures, which are taken every half hour, in the associated Gardyn app.
Kelby utilizes the images to provide growing insights to ensure the best leafy greens, basil, and other favorites if you have a monthly subscription.
You might have some privacy-related questions, which we understand entirely. The first thing to know is that the cameras are stationary and built-in to focus exclusively on the plants, and as mentioned, you can see what the cameras see in the app.
If the cameras make you uncomfortable, you can disable them in the associated app. Keep in mind that the cameras act as Kelby’s eyes, so disabling the cameras will hamper the efficacy of your Gardyn as a smart device, but the cameras can also be re-enabled later on if you decide you want Kelby to have the additional insight.
At first glance, the subscription seems a little pricey. After all, $40 per month is a lot for a smart assistant that other brands don’t have or need, but there is more to the story. The Gardyn membership is designed to replace some of your grocery spendings, so consider your grocery bill should be going down.
More specifically, Gardyn members can order up to 10 plant yCubes each month, with free shipping. And if members want to substitute plant food, they can choose nine plants plus plant food each month.
Since the Gardyn system is large enough for 30 plants, the idea is that you will have a constant supply of lettuce and veggies in the pipeline, preparing for harvest.
Pre-paid memberships can be purchased for discounts, depending on how long you pre-pay for. Your pre-paid membership will activate once your Gardyn has paired to WiFi and you have activated the system via the company’s app.
For those concerned about leaving a minimal footprint, the idea of using a human-made indoor garden might be unsettling when you could use the ground outside. Still, you can’t grow year-round outdoors, and gardening food in traditional soil isn’t nearly as easy. Fortunately, Gardyn has made every effort to minimize its footprint.
The Gardyn device, including the columns and reservoir, is made from FDA-compliant plastics that are 100% recyclable. The same goes for the yPods too. Each piece of the main unit is strong enough to be washed in the dishwasher if needed (little care is generally required) but still recyclable and easy on the planet.
Also, keep in mind that Gardyn yPods are filled with non-GMO seeds. Whether you harvest tomatoes, peppers, or other fresh produce, it’s a big relief to have access to quality food that you know was grown the right way.
The Gardyn system was named the best invention for 2020 by TIME magazine. Still, it is essential to do your research and understand your options, and we’ve done the same.
We are big fans of AeroGarden and Click and Grow, so it is worthwhile to compare these other leading systems to the Gardyn system.
AeroGarden vs. Gardyn
While the Gardyn systems work best for growing greens and salad fruits at scale, AeroGarden is well-suited for kitchen counter herb gardening. AeroGarden has a much larger variety of products, ranging from small, three pod starter kits to much larger home farms.
Still, if you plan on growing at scale, Gardyn is your best bet. Gardyn’s vertical design allows for larger plants in a smaller footprint, and none of the competitors have a smart assistant like Kelby.
Nonetheless, AeroGarden’s Sprout and Harvest Series products are great if you are looking for a place to get started before jumping into a full Gardyn. The AeroGarden system claims to grow plants 5X faster than if the seeds were planted in the soil. It’s an impressive claim, but each hydroponic garden company could make a similar claim.
AeroGarden makes an excellent indoor hydroponics system. Anecdotally, we also like that you can watch the roots growing deep into the water tank. But which should you choose?
Consider AeroGarden (or Click and Grow) if you are looking for a place to get started or just want to grow a few herbs, but if you’re going to grow lettuce in addition to your basil, we recommend you start with Gardyn.
Also, keep in mind that many of the AeroGarden and Click and Grow devices sit on the countertop and only have room for 3 to 9 pods. The Gardyn system sits on the floor and has enough room for 30 plants.
Click and Grow vs. Gardyn
The Click and Grow devices are very similar to AeroGarden’s smart devices. While AeroGarden has more products to choose from, we appreciate Click and Grow’s product portfolio’s straightforward nature. The Click and Grow Smart Garden 9 Pro is the smartest device made by any of Gardyn’s competitors. The Smart Garden 9 Pro features app-controlled grow lights, but it doesn’t have the cameras or environmental sensors featured on Gardyn.
Click and Grow’s Smart Garden 3 and Smart Garden 9 would both work well for an indoor herb garden growing on your kitchen countertop. In fact, we prefer the Click and Grow system to AeroGarden’s in some ways because of the focus on simplicity.
On the other hand, if you want to grow lettuce and other salad greens at scale, Click and Grow offers the Smart Garden 27 (a vertical stand featuring three Smart Garden 9 devices) and a Vertical Wall Farm.
The Vertical Wall Farm features enough space for 51 seed pods, making it the most extensive indoor garden we’ve reviewed. It’s worth noting that Gardyn is designed to use minimal floor space (less than 2 square feet).
The Vertical Wall Farm looks like a large bookcase and takes up substantial space. If we needed that much produce, we would install two Gardyn’s next to each other. Doing so would be less bulky and allow room for 60 plants to grow. This would also be cheaper than installing the Vertical Wall Farm.
For the most part, we prefer Click and Grow to AeroGarden, so if you are looking for something a little smaller, Click and Grow should be your pick. Of course, if you are growing anything other than herbs, the smaller devices don’t produce enough to feed a family or even an individual repeatedly.
If putting a salad on the table is your goal, it makes more sense to get something larger, like the Gardyn, which is big enough to grow a variety of lettuce and more.
And while Click and Grow’s technology is sufficient, Gardyn’s technology stands head and shoulders above any of the alternatives.
Tower Garden vs. Gardyn
The most directly comparable hydroponic garden compared with Gardyn is the Tower Garden. It has a vertical design, but the 360-degree design makes the lighting a little awkward. Similar to Gardyn, Tower Garden is designed so that seed pods are installed on a vertical column, but Gardyn’s forward-facing design will more universally fit into most rooms, in our opinion.
The only discernible advantage we can see with the Tower Garden system is that there is a FLEX system that can be moved outside during the warm season. Still, the Tower Garden doesn’t feature the AI-level technology provided by Gardyn’s Kelby personal assistant.
There is no earth-shattering price difference between these two vertical indoor hydroponic gardens, so we recommend Gardyn because the personal assistant provides advice based on environmental factors and because the Gardyn membership provides for on-going plant shipments. If you are serious about growing an indoor garden, there isn’t a better option than Gardyn.
What Plants Can You Grow in Gardyn?
The Gardyn team offers seedless yCubes, so you can grow almost anything you set your mind to growing. That said, the company has rigorously tested an entire portfolio of products to handpick the type of plants that will be most successful for its customers.
Specifically, the plants chosen by the Gardyn team have short growth periods and don’t take up excessive space. They also work well with the hydroponic system.
Honestly though, Gardyn offers nearly any plant you might want. You can grow greens, including arugula, celery, kale, romaine, watercress, and wheatgrass.
Of course, if you want to grow your own salad, you probably want a little variety beyond greens. Gardyn offers several fruit plant pods that will work great with a salad, including cherry tomatoes, jalapenos, sweet peppers, strawberries, and sugar snap peas. Yes, they are all considered fruits.
And, if you want to add a little color to your living space, you can select from a variety of flowers, including campanula, chamomile, lavender, oopsy daisy, and petunias. Some people grow the flowers on the Gardyn system before moving them around the house to add that fresh pop of color.
In some ways, the yCubes are similar to Keurig cups (K-cups). And in the same way Keurig revolutionized coffee making to make it easier, Gardyn makes home gardening much easier with their indoor vertical garden system.
How Long Does It Take Gardyn To Sprout?
Once the plant pods are installed and the system is ready to go, Gardyn seeds typically start to sprout within a matter of days. Since the indoor garden feature optimal conditions to grow plants, most of your vegetable garden will be ready to harvest in 4 to 5 weeks.
When Should Gardyn Be Pruned?
Since the Gardyn tower has as many as 30 plants growing simultaneously, it is important to manage the growth of any individual plant. As your plants reach 8 to 12 inches in height, you can snip off the top of the plant to stop additional vertical growth. This will also encourage your plants to fill out rather than grow taller.
Benefits Of An Indoor Garden
An indoor garden usually benefits from simulated sunlight, plenty of water, and controlled plant food. As a result, indoor gardens often grow much faster and produce a larger harvest than new plants grown in soil outdoors.
Indoor gardens enable the user to grow their own vegetables, fruits, and leafy greens in a relatively small amount of space. You don’t need a large yard, intimidating tools, or years of experience.
A device like the Gardyn comes in a sleek design, with a growing assistant and lighting schedules, and an easy to use format. Growing your own food has never been so easy, we all could use more fresh veggies.
Is Gardyn Organic?
The Gardyn device use mineral plant food, which is safe and effective. Certain corners of the organic universe would say this disqualifies Gardyn plants from being considered organic, but the Gardyn team disagrees. Gardyn plants require no pesticides, and mineral plant foods work better in a hydroponic system than do other organic plant foods.
You should take pride in knowing that fresh vegetables and leafy greens that are grown on a Gardyn device are as healthy as anything you might buy at the local grocery store.
How Do You Use Fresh Herbs?
As you might imagine, herbs work wonderfully in vertical indoor gardens. The plants themselves are smaller, and they are potent, so you don’t normally use as much as you might with the greens or fruits.
Still, it is incredibly convenient to have your own herb garden, and with Gardyn, you can grow basil, chives, cilantro, dill, Italian parsley, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, and more.
The trouble with fresh herbs is that most of us are more used to using dried herbs. But here’s the thing, dried herbs have a more robust flavor than fresh herbs. Fresh herbs have a more natural and subtle flavor. So, with a little practice, you might more frequently use your fresh basil or curly parsley.
Here is one hint that might be helpful: If you cook with fresh herbs, add them toward the end of your cooking time because the flavors are more subtle. Adding them too soon might minimize the flavor. Since flavoring is concentrated during the drying process, you should also consider tripling the number of herbs you include in a recipe using fresh herbs.
Is The Gardyn Membership Worth It?
There is no denying that the Gardyn system is a significant investment for most people, but it is also an investment worth making. Over time, you can grow exactly the plants you want, and since the membership comes with ten yCubes each month, you will have an endless supply of your favorite fresh produce ready for harvest.
Plus, since the Gardyn is designed vertically, you can grow as much food in this indoor garden that takes up 2 square feet of space as you could in a full-blown outdoor garden covering 1,300 square feet. That’s not even to mention you won’t have to use pesticides, as pests are much less likely to appear in indoor gardens.
In Fact, Gardyn’s yCubes are made of an inorganic material and seeds to eliminate the possibility of external contamination (meaning any pests would have to come through a door or window).
So whether you are mainly drawn to the idea of growing your own salads, or there are other types of plants you are interested in, the Gardyn is worth considering.
Love The Gardyn Indoor Gardening System
Based on our Gardyn review, there are few alternatives that provide so many insights. The Gardyn smartphone app is the only app that comes with a full-AI smart garden assistant.
And don’t forget about Kelby. Multiple brands are selling indoor gardening kits, but only Gardyn has a smart assistant that provides feedback based on your plants’ environmental surroundings and pictures. This is cutting-edge stuff, and since it is based on an AI-like platform, it will only get better over time.
If you are looking for a small herb garden kit that you can nourish on your kitchen counter, you should consider AeroGarden or Click and Grow. Otherwise, Gardyn offers the best-of-the-best technology and insights to cultivate success.
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