7 Foolproof Products to Help You Grow a Garden Inside Your Home

The iHarvest
The iHarvest
IGWorks

It can be tough to grow fresh vegetables or herbs at home when you don’t have enough yard space or free time to tend a full-blown garden. Fortunately, there's another way. Countertop gardening systems take the guesswork out of growing herbs and other plants at home. They’re easy to use, even if you’ve never planted a seed in your life, and some are even fully automated, with sophisticated watering and lighting features. Many are hydroponic, meaning they don't even require soil.

Not sure where to start? Here are seven of the best indoor gardening systems you can buy online right now.

1. The BlueSkyGrow Indoor Vertical Garden

A woman chops vegetables next to her indoor garden

BlueSkyGrow, Amazon

If you want to recreate the aesthetic of the verdant bouquets arrayed on the shelves of your local supermarket, this is one way to do it. BlueSkyGrow's hydroponic system lets you grow up to eight fresh herbs and flowers in your home, no soil necessary. It's basically foolproof: Its self-watering drip system means you don't need to do any maintenance for several days at a time, and a touch-screen control panel lets you know when to replenish the water supply.

Buy it from Amazon for $97.

2. The iHarvest

The iHarvest system is ideal for someone who has little time to invest in their garden but still wants to reap maximum rewards in the form of ripe tomatoes, juicy strawberries, fresh basil, and more. It uses LED lamps and recycled water to nourish up to 30 plants at once, and there are hundreds of different plant types to choose from. The iHarvest’s vertical design makes it more compact than your average planter bed, but it still might be a good idea to make sure you have a place to put it first. This garden measures 2 feet, 8 inches wide and covers 2.5 square feet of space.

Buy it from Kickstarter for $599.

3. Mindful Design LED Indoor Herb Garden With Timer

Three potted plants in a Mindful Design garden system

Mindful Design, Amazon

If you’re looking for a garden with some decorative flair, this indoor herb garden from Mindful Design would look great on a kitchen counter or windowsill. It doesn't require any natural light—though it does need to be near an outlet. The apparatus is equipped with LED lights that switch on and off automatically to mimic a plant’s natural cycle. Unlike other indoor garden systems, it also doesn't require any special seed pod. Just grab a pot and add the seed or plant of your choice—as long as it won’t be too tall to fit—and watch it grow!

Buy it from Amazon for $38.

4. The EcoQube Sprout

Not ready to invest in a full-scale garden? Consider starting small. The EcoQube is a “microgarden” that lets you grow microgreens like spinach, kale, and arugula. It can grow up to $20 worth of veggies in 10 days, and additional stackable garden cubes can be purchased to double or triple your output. The EcoQube is also extremely low-maintenance—just add water to the base, put a seed pad in place, and drop in the seeds. The seed pad will automatically absorb the water when your plants get thirsty.

Buy it from Indiegogo for $20 to $60.

5. MoMA's Self-watering pots

If you'd like to keep your garden minimalist, check out these self-watering pots created by Swedish designer Nils Plöjel. Made of terracotta and encased in hand-blown glass, they are as attractive as they are functional, which is how they ended up in the Museum of Modern Art's Design Store. Just fill the glass portion with water, and the plants will soak up the moisture through the terracotta pot as needed. They’re dishwasher-safe and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, as long as the forecast doesn’t call for frost. (Unlike some other systems, they don't have built-in LED lighting, so you'll need a natural light source.) The pots come in three sizes, with the smallest being able to accommodate one or two mini cactuses, and the largest being able to hold an azalea or fern.

Buy it from the MoMA Design Store for $34 to $74.

6. The Dragon-Lily Smart Succulent Planter

A succulent planter

Dragon-Lily, Amazon

Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a place that enjoys sunny weather year-round, indoor succulents can be surprisingly easy to kill. This “smart” pot from Dragon-Lily aims to make it a little easier to prolong the beauty of an indoor succulent, regardless of where you live. Its dimmable LED grow light is self-timed, and it also has built-in fans for ventilation purposes. If succulents aren’t your thing, you can also use it to grow a small moss garden.

Buy it from Amazon for $40.

7. Spigo indoor garden

A small potted garden

Spigo, Amazon

This mini garden would be a good starter kit for someone who is new to gardening and wants to keep it simple. Like many of the products above, it relies on automatic LED lights, but you can also dim the lights at will. While it’s comparatively smaller than some of the other gardens on this list, it can still hold a few plants at once, including edible herbs, nettle plants, and succulents. It also features a water gauge so you’ll always know when it’s time for a refill.

Buy it from Amazon for $65.

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Never Worry About Uneven Frames Again With This Picture-Hanging Kit

Hang N Locks
Hang N Locks

After struggling to hang a picture on the wall with some combination of hooks, nails, Command strips, and wires, it can be painful to see the frame is slightly off-kilter. No matter how much time you spend positioning a photograph or piece of art so it looks just right in your home, all it can take is one bump to turn it into an eyesore. But you don't have to choose between uneven frames and bare walls—the Hang N Locks Hanger, currently raising money on Kickstarter, is a tool that automatically keeps pictures level for you.

The picture-hanging kit comes with two main components—a hanger and a wall receiver. Before displaying your picture, you can secure the receiver to your wall with a hammer and nails. The larger plastic piece snaps over the wire attached to the back of your frame. When the picture is ready to go on your wall, the hanger slides easily into the receiver.

Unlike traditional hanging methods, a frame hung with Hang N Locks won't slide around when disturbed. Whether it's bumped a during party or a cleaning session, the picture always settles back to its original position level with the ground. The locking design means that the only way to move the frame is to lift it out of the receiver, adjust it manually at the angle you like, and return it to the wall.

Hang N Locks launched on Kickstarter on June 3, and it has until July 4 to reach it's $10,000 funding goal. If the project is funded, everyone who pledged $15 or more will receive a 5-pack of Hang N Locks, with delivery estimated for September.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

These ASMR-Ready Headphones Promise to Lull You to Sleep

AcousticSheep
AcousticSheep

What do hushed whispers, gently tapping fingernails, and Bob Ross’s voice have in common? They’re all examples of triggers that may cause what’s known as an autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), or, as Dictionary.com succinctly explains it, a “calming, pleasurable feeling often accompanied by a tingling sensation” that can be triggered by soothing stimuli. ASMR has recently been recognized as an effective relaxation technique for those looking to calm their nerves; now, ASMR enthusiasts and novices alike can experience it in the form of a sleep-ready headband.

Upon first glance, SleepPhones: ASMR Edition may look like just a fabric headband, but the device actually features flat speakers tucked into soft, stretchy, eco-friendly material. Unlike regular headphones, SleepPhones can be worn comfortably to bed, even if you sleep on your side, and they come preloaded with content designed to help you relax. They feature eight hours of built-in ASMR content by 16 different ASMR artists (or ASMRtists), including but not limited to tracks with rhythmic tapping and "peaceful Italian whisperings."

A close-up of the SleepPhones speaker technology
AcousticSheep

The speaker components of SleepPhones
AcousticSheep

Using SleepPhones is designed to be a stress-free experience. The speakers have the ability to play for 20 ad-free hours with a mere three-hour charging time in between. There are also zero cords involved, meaning you won’t get all tangled up as you lie down or if you have a tendency to toss and turn at night. The small button located in the back of the headband allows you to start, pause, or skip tracks and control the volume.

For people looking for ways to relax beyond yoga and meditation, ASMR may be the way to go. One study observed that subjects watching ASMR videos not only reported feeling that aforementioned pleasant tingling, but were also found to have reduced heart rates.

You can get a pair of your own SleepPhones on Kickstarter with a pledge of $75 or more. They come in three different sizes with seven colors from which to choose.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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