After getting an end-of-year bonus at work, I decided that I could splurge and treat myself to a My Gardyn system. This is a home hydroponic system.
What I Got: I decided to pick up the My Gardyn 2.0. The other option was the 3.0, but after comparing the two packages, it didn't seem like the 3.0 was different enough to warrant an extra $300. The My Gardyn 2.0 system has a 12"x24" base and stands about 5-feet tall. It's pretty straight-forward to set up, but there is also an easy-to-follow manual. It comes with two built-in grow lights and two built-in cameras. It connects to the Gardyn app. You get the option to have the Kelby feature, which is an AI assistant for monitoring your gardyn - I got this feature for 1 year. It comes with some pre-seeded pods, but you can also purchase empty pods (for your own seeds) and you can purchase additional seeded pods (over 50 to choose from). There is an online community via facebook, if you feel the need to be part of that. Also, it does have "vacation mode".
Price: $599 (but I was able to pick it up cheaper due to a holiday sale)
BONUS: Use code rfjessie81678 to get $125 off
Photos: The Gardyn product photo (top); my just put together gardyn system (bottom)
What I Like: This is a simple system to use, just follow the easy directions. When you have your pods in the pod holders the whole thing is automated. I adjusted the time on the lights so they shut off at 6:30pm. When it is on a watering cycle it is quiet. I have an open kitchen/living room, so this thing is right there. There isn't any sound interference at all. I thought it was going to be super bright, but it's really not bad - especially in the dead of winter. I mean, it is super bright, but not annoying. In fact, directly across from this [in the room] I have a painting I'm working on. I kind of like the additional light. I'm still waiting for my plants to grow - which started pretty quickly. I also ordered a mini-cauliflower, a bok choy, and some empty pods so I could get some cabbage and tomatoes going.
What I Dislike: The 2.0 model required a little effort to get it set up, really not a lot. I had it up in about 30 minutes. What I had an issue with was connecting the water tubing at the base of each tower. That was a real pain in the ass and my hands got a little sliced up from the plastic. If you have trouble with the water tubing connections, get someone to hold the tower up (you get very little room to work) and use some needle-nose pliers to help connect the tubing. That worked super well for me. That's my only complaint. It would have been nice to have a little extra tubing to make that connection easier.
Why I Got This: I picked this up because I eat a lot of produce. It might seem like a solid chunk of change at first, but in the long run it pays off. I'm looking forward to a reduced grocery bill and the variety of leafy greens I'll soon be able to add to my salads. I have seen other grow systems, like the Lettuce Grow, which are round. It seems like you have to have a bigger space for that. This is a rectangle-based system which just works better for me. I've been thinking about getting a house or building one - something like that - and I keep coming back to this question of "what is the new futuristic home going to feature?" I think a grow system should be a new normal thing because people should never be denied fresh produce. Basic necessities are food, shelter, and water. With a system like this, you may end up broke at some point, but you can still eat something healthy.
Overall: I would recommend this system. It's easy to set up. It's easy to use. If you look at the photo from my phone of my garden system, you'll notice some plant growth going on. I've had the system for about a week and a half at this point. Beginners and experienced gardeners can use this thing. It's going to take a good month before anything is really big enough to harvest, but once that production starts happening, it will make a big difference in healthy consumed food and the grocery bill. It will also be easy to have some things on rotation so I'm never waiting on the next group of lettuce to grow or something.