Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies, but I live in a hot and humid climate, which limits what I can grow and when.
Since most of the herbs in my outdoor garden bed can’t keep up with Florida’s blistering summer heat, I decided to check out the Edn SmallGarden, which promises quick and easy indoor gardening.
Here at Reviewed, we've tested other similar indoor growing systems like AeroGarden, a popular hydroponic option, and Gardyn, an eye catching, vertical smart garden. However, Edn stands out from the pack, as it integrates with Apple HomeKit, meaning you can use Siri voice control to help your garden grow.
The smart garden once appeared on an episode of Shark Tank. While it didn’t get any bites from big investors, the Edn SmallGarden has gained online popularity, giving gardeners a smarter, more connected way to grow plants indoors.
What is the Edn SmallGarden?
The garden is an indoor, Wi-Fi-enabled seedpod grow system that uses LED lighting in place of sunlight. The kit comes with one garden base that’s made from sustainable materials like real walnut wood and anodized aluminum, a power supply, and 10 basil seedpods.
Edn also sells a “Plant Your Own” seedpod if you’d rather customize the indoor garden with your own herbery.
How does the Edn SmallGarden work?
Plug in the garden, download the Edn app (iOS only), and sync your garden. To add the garden to Apple HomeKit, scan the six-digit code, which can be found next to the lights. Place the seedpods in the garden, add water, and track the plants’ growth in the app. The pods are pre-filled with seeds and plant food, so all you need to do is add water, adjust the lights, and watch your garden grow. The app sends smart alerts when it’s time to tend to your garden.
The overhead lights, which serve as artificial sunlight, need to remain on for 12 hours a day for the garden to grow properly. In the app, you can set the lights to a schedule so they will turn on automatically. (A 2.4 GHz internet connection is required.)
What we like
Functional, space-saving design for year-round gardening
One of the biggest perks of an indoor garden is that you can grow during any season. Outdoor gardening has plenty of weather-related limitations, especially here in Florida where the intense afternoon heat makes my basil plants bolt. I normally skip basil in the summertime for this reason. Using Edn’s indoor garden, I didn’t have to worry about my crop being impacted by the outdoor temperatures.
Since you don’t need to worry about sunlight, you can place it pretty much anywhere inside. Measuring 16-inches long and 6-inches wide, the apparatus is small in size and compact enough to leave on a bookshelf or office desk.
Helpful reminders to manage your garden from anywhere
The Edn mobile app sends helpful push notifications when it’s time to water, prune, and harvest your budding bounty. Each notification includes clear instructions on how much water to add and helpful imagery that shows you exactly how to properly trim and maintain the garden. If you’ve ever struggled to keep up with growing a garden before (or you’re new to the game), you’ll appreciate Edn's gentle nudges and detailed tips.
The app, which has a clean design and is easy to navigate, is also where you can set the smart indoor garden’s lighting schedule, check in on water levels, and dim the lights.
Reusable design that quickly grows delicious herbs
It took less than a week for the first basil sprouts to appear, and about another two weeks before it was time to harvest my first batch of basil. Following the in-app instructions, I pruned my basil pods and tossed the tasty clippings into a bowl of pasta salad. The basil has a sweet, full-bodied taste that’s better than any pre-packaged herb kit you might find at the grocery store.
The garden is reusable and feels durable enough for years of use. It’s a versatile way to garden indoors, as you can mix and match seedpods and grow a variety of herbs and flowers at once.
To save money on future pods, Edn has a membership program that gets you 30% off seedpod refills. When you join the program, Edn pods will be shipped out to you automatically when your current plants are nearing harvest time.
From start to finish, Edn makes it easy to put your green thumb on autopilot and grow delicious, fresh herbs from the comfort of your home, for years to come.
What we don’t like
It’s difficult to water without making a mess
Watering the garden proved to be the biggest challenge for me. On one end of the garden is a vertical slit to pour in water. It butts up against the overhead light, which gets in the way and makes it difficult to pour in a glass of water. I tried coming at it from an angle with a measuring cup but I still made a mess.
It attracts house flies
About a week or two after I set up the garden on my home office desk, the gnats started showing up. House flies can be a common problem when you have indoor plants, but they are a nuisance nonetheless.
I left a bowl of vinegar out on my desk to help get rid of them, but they eventually seemed to taper off on their own.
The smart home integrations are limited (and there’s no Android app)
From a gardening perspective, this thing is awesome. But from a tech perspective, it’s got a lot of limitations. The Edn app is only available on iOS devices. The website lists the Android mobile app as “coming soon”.
It does, however, work well using iOS devices since it appears in Apple HomeKit. If you want to use HomeKit to control the garden when you’re away from home, you’ll need an Apple HomePod to do so. The HomeKit integrations are very basic. All you can do is turn the light on and off from the Home app—and that’s all you can do with Siri voice control, too. It would be nice to see more commands available like, “Hey Siri, does my garden need water?” or “Hey Siri, set the garden lights to turn on at 10 a.m.”
Should you buy it?
Edn is ideal for anyone who is interested in gardening but doesn’t want to fully invest in a sprawling garden bed. It offers minimal upkeep, helpful smart alerts to keep your plants looking in tip-top share, and it is great for year-round gardening whether you live in a sprawling mansion or studio apartment.
It’s not a perfect product, though. At the time of publication, there is no support for Android users. The only way to access the garden’s smart features is by using an iOS device (like an iPad), which limits who can use the garden. While it does work with Siri, which is a perk for Apple fans, don’t expect much in the way of smart home compatibility or functionality.
This is a functional, space-saving way to grow herbs, flowers, and other small plants indoors anywhere, anytime no matter what the weather is outside.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.