About the same time I was occupying myself building our new chicken coop (ergo this annoying writing hiatus I’m trying to fight against) and knowingly inviting these dinosaur-like creatures back into our lives as if I never effectively recalled how much I missed having them around, the encouraging noises they make, I started an experiment just about the furthest from my too cherished comfort zone, as depicted on our Facebook page (to which you should subscribe if you haven’t already, like and follow, or not, considering this is just me obeying a modern language of demand): we want to rediscover traditional, non-industrial ways and customs that have been around for centuries and are worth exploring further, especially in these modern times.
Knowing this, you can’t possibly be more skeptical than I was when approached by this company saying I was eligible for a free smart garden, cleverly disguised as a fluke of luck derived from standing figuratively nude between these literally naked hence successful girls and apparently having sufficient followers to help them lure in the needy in this marketing driven wilderness we unjustly sustain, carefully minding all gaps.
Building On A Trust
For example “smart” in my book implies prefabbed, obviously, why would I not recognize this by now? Their smart soil is nothing if not building on a trust that’s not even established yet referred to as safe and pleasurable, serviceable even, assuming these marketing slogans are somehow all aligned. What I consider a garden tends to be a little bigger than the three-pods-containing-plastic-object I received, eliciting a grumbling statement from Ivory who’s opinion “so much effort for raising just three tiny plants” instantly painted an already rather dreary picture all the more darker. And inappropriately so, because if this company has been focussing on anything it must be effortlessness: upon unwrapping the box, all that is left to do is clicking the pods in their place, put in the smart soil plugs (and yes, they contain the seeds already, but to be fair, they do sell their soil seedless too, for the more adventurous smart gardeners among us who want to use their own seeds, self collected or bought – stay tuned if you want to hear about me experimenting with that, although it might take a while), fill the thing with water and connect the power plug. There’s even cute greenhouse imitating little domes to ecstatically finish off planting.
From that moment on this modern, smart nature will dictate its course, meaning the soon to be seedlings will have a water supply for weeks and are guaranteed food and light for 16 hours a day, counting from when you plugged it in first. It is a rather bright and noticeable led light, so I wouldn’t exactly advise to put this “garden” in your bedroom, unsurprisingly the usual place we nurture our frost-hating plants in winter, unless you tweak the exposure-schedule by unplugging the device when you go to bed.
At Les Pierres it therefore resides on the kitchen windowsill and by a smart move on my side, its enlightenment at eight in the morning is a useful reminder for me that it’s also time to free the chickens from their pen, because as you know intertwinement dominates my mind inescapably.
Ivory obviously was right in his touching on the limited number of plants you can grow in this device and I feel it’s my duty to mention they obviously sell larger ones, allowing nine, twenty five, fifty two plants to thrive and apparently they even sell garden-walls, which in my limited perception of the future would correspond to alien driven and hardly natural but at the same time I do realize there are different realities to appeal to and ours might just as well be labelled out of date, no matter the joy it still brings us. In a way, this device is very similar to the saucer topped with wetted cotton wool on which I sprouted beans as a child at school, learning all about life, just a little bit more fancy.
Those happy golden years are probably what shaped me into repudiating this kind of future naturally as a nostalgia-ruining negativity that tumultuously turns all my so carefully established aesthetics on its head and as a rebuttal, I fiercely endorse and proclaim its shortcomings: it will clearly never produce sufficiently. And I know, by blatantly ignoring the fact that this first grown bean wasn’t about abundance either, was it, I recognize having so much more fun back then in trying to get a grip on everything. The ill reputed grumpy old man syndrome must have somehow gained a foothold, despite my efforts to prevent its proverbial headway.
Beauty Over Efficiency
I cannot but wonder if it’s this same Not-In-My-Backyard- Syndrome that makes me persistently appraise natural beauty over efficiency (as if they were strict, uncompromising opposites), old school over novelty, traditional over modern and why the symptoms of this aberration tend to grow milder in Winter. Last year in January I started experimenting with an electrical pressure cooker, the Instant Pot or Autocuiseur Multifonction, as the French much more to the point call it and despite a similar reluctance this machine invoked on me, it has become a staple in most of my usually very traditionally driven kitchen activities. Not only does it cut down considerably on precious working times when making our cheeses for instance, it keeps the milk on an exact temperature throughout the curdle process, which makes a huge difference in the quality of the end product eventually achieved. And that’s just one of the very attractive perks this ugly machine bestows.
Absence must indeed make the heart grow fonder, because with no sun to speak of outside for days if not weeks to come, closely watching the basil sprout anyway and this early in the season, fooled by the artificial circumstances offered by this “smart garden” does make me intensely happy, not just because of the time gained by cheating nature but also because it confirms what I have always expected to be true: my many failed attempts to grow basil from seed were attributable to my inability to structurally provide the right conditions.
This is where, contrary to Ivory’s first impression, the Click and Grow smart gardens excel: effortless and systematic control. I would even go as far as claiming that its clean, clinical appearance makes spotting possible pests a breeze, even though they may target these seedlings because that’s what they do and they are as attracted to the warmth of its light. The company has so much confidence in their germination success rate that they guarantee a replacement if things don’t work out for the best. Pretty impressive.
After two weeks of closely watching these plants grow in their smart garden, it’s easy to acknowledge my initial aesthetic quibble becomes more difficult to sustain as there are certainly many advantages, even for old fashioned gardeners like me, muddling through.
With some adaptability I can see myself kickstarting many of our favorite vegetables in a controlled environment like this, cheating their way towards traditional apparent abundance, although admittedly it has to be a whole lot bigger, even for a tiny farm like Les Pierres, who’s garden only has to feed two. The success so far has made me look tempted at the Click & Grow 25, with its real oak wood panels more pleasing to the eye for sure, and it has a patented tray system that is specifically designed for growing leafy greens in a seamless planting and harvesting cycle of five weeks, but in my vast imagination could very well serve as a fledgling nursery for warmth loving seedlings, unless being raised in smart soil somehow disqualifies them for a future in Les Pierres’ less perspicacious yet more idyllic veggie or herb garden.
At the same time I’m persuaded to believe modernity naturally breathes greed and I should principally extent the experiment by re-planting these basil sprouts outside, in our very antiquated herb garden in front of the pink shuttered cottage, but not before Spring has finally sprung. Even in a smart garden, patience is a desirable and imperishable virtue.
Ivory knows me very well and to emphasize his grasp he now emails me articles about self drilling seed-robots, no kidding.
P.S. If you feel encouraged to obtain a Click and Grow smart garden of your own, please do so through this link as it will offer us a small commission. The coupon code LESPIERRES10 might even give you a discount!
We obviously all have our own perceptions of words and subjects. Click and Grow assured me their Smart Soil is inspired by NASA technology and creates the perfect environment for plants to thrive. More importantly, their growth medium is made of natural, renewable materials, and contains no pesticides, fungicides, hormones or other harmful substances.