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One of the most common questions I get about the Click & Grow is about DIY’ing their pods.
You definitely can add your own soil to the little cups, pop in your seeds and it’ll work like a charm.
Can you put your own soil in the Click & Grow?
One of my favourite things about the whole Click & Grow thing is how sturdy the pods are. With an Aerogarden, the refills are basically the whole pod, but with the Click & Grow, it’s a little puck of soil with the seeds in it, like this:
They sit in the cup, and water is wicked into the bottom of the cup by a, er, tube thing:
All you need is soil and seeds (and fertiliser!) and you’re good to go!
What’s the best soil for the Click & Grow?
All that being said…the entire raison d’etre of the Click & Grow Smart Garden is that you don’t need to do ANYTHING other than set it up, plug it in, and add water every couple of weeks. It’s all about convenience. That being said, you could use your own soil and seeds, wait until they get going, and then stick a few little slow-release fertiliser granules in the soil.
You could also add nutrient water to the reservoir but I wouldn’t do that until the plants are well established, because there’s no easy way of getting the water out (that I’m aware off) and if the water’s sat there for a while it could go manky and you’ll have to pull it all apart and clean it.
So really, the best soil for the Click & Grow is the Smart Soil it comes with, because they’ve been designed to complement one another.
What is Smart Soil?
Smart Soil is the soil used in Click & Grow pods. It contains all of the nutrients required for your plants so you don’t need to add any additional nutrients. It’s specially formulated to provide nutrients, to your plants, doesn’t contain any ‘icides’ and it holds enough water that your plants will thrive, but not so much that your plants will get root rot.
If I’m being honest, I didn’t check any of Click & Grow’s claims about how good Smart Soil is, because…that would be weird. The only proof I needed that Smart Soil is the best option for me is that I have nine thriving plants in the corner of my kitchen.
Actually ten – if you look at the very bottom of the picture you can see a ‘spare’ tomato plant. I recommend only growing one plant per pot for maximum yield (sounds counterintuitive, but tomato plants are very territorial) but this one plucked out with a perfect set of roots so I got him straight into leca.
Next we’re gonna go through the benefits of Smart Soil. I want to mention here that ot\s based on NASA technology. That’s neither a pro nor a con in my eyes, but it is an interesting bit of information.
What are the benefits of Smart Soil?
- It has no pesticides/fungicides/insecticides/weird hormones
- It comes with slow release fertiliser added
- It’s reusable – if your plant’s come to its natural end you can add the soil to another plant, The nutrients are probably mostly gone, but it might have some life left. I hate throwing out soil – since I fertilise my plants regularly (she said, humbly) I don’t really mind if the soil’s nutrient levels are depleted, as long as it can house my plant’s roots.
- It keeps the water evenly distributed in the pod
- It’s airy enough that your plant’s roots won’t rot – this is important in these systems, because the soil is constantly kept damp. If you use the wrong soil (or use a plant that doesn’t take up much water) you’ll end up with a rotten mess
Problems with Smart Soil
- It contains peat – awesome for plants, but harvesting it is bad for the environment.
- It’s more expensive and more difficult to get than regular potting soil you’d get in a garden centre.
That’s it really. None of the other cons I’ve seen people mention, such as it’s propensity to grow mould, are unique to Smart Soil. All soil can get mouldy – it’s rarely harmful to the plants.
I’m definitely going to try using my own soil mix in the Click & Grow system once my plants are done. I do love the convenience of Smart Soil, and it clearly works really well, but…I wish it didn’t contain peat. I’d be surprised if the people at Click & Grow HQ weren’t working on an alternative though.