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.

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!

8 Fun Bookmarks to Keep Your Place

iStock
iStock

Why settle for a torn piece of paper or receipt when you can have something way more exciting? These bookmarks are for readers who want to add some extra whimsy to their reading routine.

1. Sprouts; $12.50

These ingenious silicone markers don’t work like normal bookmarks. Shaped like adorable sprouts, they fit inside your book and mark the exact line you’re at on the page. Because they’re made with a flexible material, you can close the book easily with the sprout inside and it will spring back to shape when you open the book again. The sprouts come in sets of six. For a little luck, check out the four-leaf clover iteration.

Find it: Amazon

2. Butterflies; $10


If you've ever wanted to have a real Disney princess moment, consider buying these bookmarks, which will make it look like butterflies have perched on your books. The set comes with 10 pieces in a variety of designs.

Find it: Amazon

3. Crocodile; $13

These clever placeholders create the illusion that a crocodile is lurking on top of your book. When you lift up this intimidating bookmark, it shows the reptile’s sharp teeth, warning others not to dare lose your place. (If mammals are more your style, there is also a hippo option.)

Find it: Amazon

4. Lamp; $13

Let this lamp-shaped bookmark illuminate where you left off. The lamp shape sits on top of the book while the yellow light-beam fits snuggly between the pages. It comes in three colors: white, red, and gray.

Find it: Amazon

5. Literary Feet; $24

Remember that scene in The Wizard of Oz when the house fell on the Wicked Witch of the East and only her feet stuck out? You can recreate that iconic movie scene with a bookmark. Even better, the design isn’t restricted to just the witch: You can get all kinds of famous book character feet to stick out of your book. Just some of the literary legs available include Alice from Alice in Wonderland, a direwolf from A Song of Ice and Fire, and a magician from Harry Potter. There are also some non-book selections, like animals, ballerinas, and Yoda.

Find it: Amazon

6. Food; $30

Let some of your favorite food keep your place. The plush bookmarks feature a slice of pizza, ice cream, coffee, and an ice cream sandwich.

Find it: Amazon

7. Magnetic pals; $5

You’ll be even more motivated to read if you have a small buddy smiling at you from the side of your book. You can attach them to any place on the side of the page, so you know exactly where you are in the story.

Find it: Amazon

8. Pointers; $7

These bookmarks also mark the exact place in the book, but without the help of magnets. Instead, they come with stretchy loops that wrap around the entire book. A hand pointing can pinpoint the exact word, in case you’re the type that stops reading mid-sentence. They come in packs of three.

Find it: Amazon

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.

Get Cozy With Bob Ross Slipper Socks

Always Fits
Always Fits

Setting aside the evening to binge-watch The Joy of Painting videos is a foolproof way to have a relaxing time. In case Bob Ross's inspiring mantras and soothing landscape paintings aren't comforting enough, now you can boost the coziness factor with a fluffy pair of slipper socks branded with the beloved artist's likeness.

These socks from Always Fits capture the warm and fuzzy feeling of watching Bob Ross craft his masterpieces. The inside is lined with wooly sherpa material, and the outside is made from a velour blend. Non-skid grips protect the bottoms, so you can pause your binge session to get a fresh canvas or refill your tea mug without slipping across the floor. The socks are patterned with cartoon versions of Bob Ross—complete with his paintbrush, easel, and signature perm—against a background of happy little trees.

The comfy footwear is available in two sizes: small/medium (women's shoe sizes 5 to 8) and medium/large (sizes 8 to 10). One set is available for $18 online, with discounts applied to bulk orders of five or more.

If you're looking for more ways to get in the Bob Ross spirit, you don't have to stop with slipper socks. Mugs, T-shirts, and coloring books inspired by the artist are all available to purchase.

Bob Ross slipper socks.
Always Fits

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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