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We tried a clever tool that grows herbs on its own — and it's worth it

Suddenly, my son finds eating his greens seriously fun!
by Donna Freydkin / / Source: TODAY
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Fresh basil from the Click & Grow garden!Donna Freydkin

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In my alternate life — where I don't live in a Brooklyn walk-up with no outdoor space — I’m an urban gardener and chef with a thriving oasis of greens. My son and I wander around, filling baskets with plump berries and gorgeous red apples. And, in that parallel universe, giddy grower Jennifer Garner is my best friend.

In reality, I can't garden. I strive to buy my veggies and fruits at local farmer’s markets, when there’s stuff in season, and eat locally whenever possible — it just tastes way, way better.

I covet my friend Jen’s neighboring rooftop haven, where she grows tomatoes and peppers and herbs. Unfortunately, the last time I attempted to tend anything in my former yard, we wound up with dead, dried-out, shriveled plantings — and a very active rat population.

And then, I met the Click & Grow garden while scrolling through Instagram.

Click & Grow Smart Garden 9, $199, Amazon

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Also available at at Brookstone for $200. There's also a smaller version perfect for growing herbs available on Amazon for half the price.

It was culinary kismet. It’s a fully automated, portable gardening system ... no green thumb required. You get pods that you insert into a sleek, white contraption that lights up on a schedule, so plants get as much sun as they need. You add water to the base, which they soak up. And, within days, you have a thriving garden.

Veggies thriving in my Click & Grow
Veggies thriving in my Click and GrowDonna Freydkin

This automated garden is beautiful and bountiful

Look, I have little counter space. So, anything that I bring into my kitchen has to be aesthetically pleasing. No eyesores allowed. The Click & Grow, as my friend Judy told me, “is just sexy.”

You'll grow vegetables indoors in no time

It works! I almost cried with glee when I spotted my first actual, green, delicate little tomato. Ditto for the time I served mozzarella with basil sourced directly from my counter. Thank you, very much.

The system is almost foolproof

The only downside for overly-enthusiastic wannabe farmers such as myself: If you overwater, your pods can get moldy. If that happens, just drain out the water and add a little back at a time and peel off the mold —which takes a second.

Otherwise, the system is perfect. It saves you from yourself.

It's great for kids too

You wind up showing your kids that vegetables and fruits don’t have to be trucked in from other countries — when you can grow them yourself.

Is it worth the investment?

My answer: A very resounding yes.

It's easy to use. And, as a parent, I truly believe that the more you can connect your kids to the earth and the bounty it gives us, the better. Even in a major city like New York, my kid sees that we are what we eat, produce doesn't magically appear in our fridge and, if we tend to something, it will flourish.

Click & Grow Smart Garden 9, $199, Amazon

There's also a smaller, less expensive version

Click & Grow Smart Garden 3, $100, Amazon

It has similar automated functionalities to the larger Click & Grow garden that I use, but it's not quite large enough to grow vegetables. If all you yearn for is fresh herbs that basically grow on their own, this one is for you!

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