Looking for an affordable indoor smart garden? So was I! Here’s my review of Ahopegarden’s intelligent hydroponic planter and whether the budget friendly garden is worth trying out.
As usual, I was thinking about growing more veggies indoors so I wanted to get another hydroponic system.
I have a couple Aerogardens (the OG company to make indoor hydroponic gardens), but nowadays there are so many competitors on the market that I was curious about the more affordable options.
So, I took a chance on Ahopegarden.
Here’s my review after using Ahopegarden for a couple months.
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I’m obsessed with hydroponics because it’s a much cleaner, faster and more efficient method of gardening – and it allows you to do everything indoors!
Hydroponics is basically gardening without soil.
Plants grow in a water environment, are fed nutrients and receive light through LED panels. Because there’s no soil, the chance of getting pests is very low, and because all the conditions are controlled, plants grow up to 5x faster than they would outdoors.
It’s a very simple and effective set up.
Unboxing + Setup
Ahopegarden is available on Amazon.
Set up was very easy – the garden comes as one piece so there really wasn’t anything to put together (which I love)!
The garden does not come with seeds (you’ll need to use your own) but it does include everything else you’ll need to get growing, including
- grow bowl
- plastic pods
- dome caps
The Ahopegarden is really cute and compact.
It weighs just over 2 pounds so it’s quite light, and it only measures 11 x 7 inches, so it fits very nicely on my tiny NYC apartment kitchen countertop.
You can use it to grow herbs or small veggies.
I really liked how tiny the unit is. It’s a great option for anyone who lives in a small space.
And best of all, the garden has room for up to 8 plants.
If you’re growing larger veggies, like cherry tomatoes, you may not want to use all 8 slots, but for herbs or small lettuces it’s nice to be able to grow 8 at a time.
The Ahopegarden comes with a built-in 15 inch grow light.
You simply pull up the light to raise it as your plants grow taller.
The fact that this tiny garden has over a foot of grow space is pretty impressive! The grow lights themselves run on a built-in timer of 16 hours on, 8 hours off.
The moment you plug in the light is when the schedule starts.
So while you can’t manually adjust the light schedule, you can just plug in the lights when you want the cycle to start.
The nice thing about these indoor gardens is they basically run on their own.
With the automatic light schedule and water pump, your plants can basically thrive without needing too much help from you.
One difference with the Ahopegarden system is the way the LEDs operate.
Most grow lights these days are ‘full spectrum’ LEDs – meaning they have a range of colors to stimulate natural sunlight and enable plants to grow strong roots, healthy leaves, flowers and eventually fruit.
With Ahopegarden, you’ll want to toggle between different modes depending on what you’re growing and what stage your plants are in.
There are 2 modes:
- flowers and fruit
If you’re growing herbs, lettuces or any simple type of plant that doesn’t produce fruit, then you can simply keep the lights on Vegetable mode.
If you’re growing cherry tomatoes, hot peppers or any type of plant that does produce fruit, you’ll want to start the garden on Vegetable mode and then toggle the lights to fruit mode once the plant develops flowers.
It’s a nice way to ensure that the LED lights are tailored to the appropriate stage of growth.
The garden comes with two bottles of dehydrated nutrients.
You just add water to each bottle (A and B) and add 3 capfuls of each nutrient to the water tank every ~2 weeks or so.
The garden is made out of one piece of plastic, so it’s very easy to clean.
There aren’t too many parts or bells and whistles, so it’s a simple system that gets the job done. What I like is the little window on the front of the grow bowl.
This allows you to see the water level without lifting up the grow deck and making a mess.
When the water runs low, you’ll want to top up the garden with additional water.
There is a pump inside the garden to circulate water and provide extra oxygen for plants. The pump itself is very quiet and runs on a timed schedule every 30 minutes.
I just use tap water with my garden and it works fine!
But, if your local water source is hard or has too many minerals, you may want to use distilled water for the best results.
What to Grow
You can grow almost anything inside with hydroponics – you’re just limited by space!
Right now, I’m growing an entire garden of rainbow swiss chard. They’re colorful, easy to grow and quick to reach maturity.
If you have an outside garden, you can use the Ahopegarden to quickly start plants and then transplant them outside when they get larger. Or, you can grow start to finish indoors as long as the plants are compact.
I’ve grown everything from bok choy to thai basil to dwarf cherry tomatoes and hot peppers inside my hydroponic gardens.
Some people even grow little alpine strawberries!
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