Like this, but without all that pesky outdoors stuff.
If it hasn’t already been established thoroughly enough, I have a black thumb. If I’m tasked with any gardening duty beyond cutting a lawn, I’m most likely going to kill it dead. That’s why I was skeptical when Miracle-Gro sent over their latest project for me to tinker with.
What Is It?
It’s a giant box, but worth it.
The Miracle-Gro Twelve is an “indoor growing system” that uses hydroponics, grow lights, and a little bit of smart tech to grow herbs and vegetables indoors. Housed in a modern-looking black and white end table, the Twelve brings functional greenery to any room and makes you feel like a gardening genius (without actually being one).
How Does It Work?
One of my fondest memories is going to EPCOT at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. There, you can take a boat ride through The Land pavillion. It’s a surprisingly soothing look at the future of food growing. You learn about their research into alternate crops, soil-free growing, and, you guessed it, hydroponics.
Hydroponics planters have been around for a bit, mostly in the form of large-scale tower planters that you need to dedicate a large chunk of real estate to (and still need sunlight). The Twelve takes those hydroponic ideas and mashes them up with an LED light and smart tech to create a completely enclosed growing system.
Nicely organized and ready to build.
Pop open the Twelve app before you get started. It’ll walk you through account creation and assembly of your system.
How Does Your Garden Grow?
Let’s get this started!
Once you get the system in place and filled with water, it’s time to add some plants! Eventually, you’ll be able to get seedlings from Miracle-Gro’s partner, Bonnie Plants through the app. But in the meantime you can either buy them directly from the site, supply your own seedlings, or grab a few packs of seeds and get to work!
Either way, all the materials you need to get your plants started come in the box – peat liners if you’re transplanting seedlings or peat plugs and smaller filler cups if you’re using seeds. Once you get your plants set, you let the app know what you’ve planted.
Set up and ready to grow (sorry, it’s the only time I’ll use this pun).
For now, you’re limited to leafy greens and a few different herbs, but hopefully more plants will be added in the future. While you don’t have to stick to the plants listed in the app, if you do you get expert advice on how long it will take for them to be ready for harvest, how to harvest, when to feed your plants (by adding fertilizer directly to the reservoir), and more. And yes, everyone who saw it asked if I was growing…ahem…medicinal plants.
But Does It Work?
The app gives you everything you need to know about your system.
The LED grow lights operate for a recommended eight hours a day (you can dim the light or turn it off as needed). Tell the app when you want the table to turn on and it will make sure your plants get all the “sun” they need to be healthy.
The reservoir is constantly pumping water over the roots of your plants, ensuring they’re getting enough water and fertilizer. When operating and full, it’s surprisingly quiet. The only time you’ll ever really notice the sound is if the water has gotten low or you’ve shifted a plant so that it’s not quite in its own stream of water anymore. I’ve had one in my office for months and can conduct meetings without any interruption.
Thinking back to those lessons I learned from Disney’s The Land, I was certain that this little hydroponic system would work. I just wasn’t prepared for how well it would work.
From seedlings to full grown plants (cat not included).
I watched the plants shoot up over the course of a month (especially the Italian parsley), went away for a weekend, and came back to them positively overflowing the space under the table.
I had enough basil to make three batches of pesto (with plenty left over for sandwich garnishes and marinara sauce). I have so much Italian parsley that I’m frankly at a loss as to how to deal with it all. And I’ve got mint for days. I’ve made feta and watermelon salads, mojitos…actually that’s all I’ve made because I could really use some additional mint recipes.
The Twelve system will recommend how long to keep your plants around and when to sunset your crop and plant something new. Then you get to start the process again. Indoors. Where it’s cool.
Where Can I Get It?
That site is where you’ll eventually be able to sign up for a plant subscription service that will send plants and fertilizer on a monthly basis. Hopefully the subscription will be variable, because the plants that you grow in the Twelve can last for two months or more depending on how often you harvest them. That, and the subscription is a fairly steep $39.99 per month.
In fact the price is really my only sticking point with the Twelve system. I appreciate what Miracle-Gro is doing and everyone who’s seen it in my home has asked about it. But $300 to start and potentially $480 per year is a very big ask to grow greens and herbs inside your home. There’s also the electric costs to consider. While it’s not huge, the extra draw from the Twelve system has made enough of a difference on my monthly electric bill for me to notice (though, that amount isn’t more than it would have cost to buy packs of fresh herbs at the store).
That said, if your only consideration is whether or not you can grow vegetables and herbs in the comfort of your own home without making it look like a greenhouse, Miracle-Gro’s Twelve growing system undoubtedly fits the bill.
Twelve makes growing effortless, easy, and fun and adds a nice bit of greenery and light to any room. If it works for a black thumb gardener like me, it’ll work for anyone. As long as you’re not put off by the cost, I highly recommend the system.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — Brown County residents with a green thumb were able to partake in garden-themed activities Saturday afternoon.
Extension Brown County and the Farmory held “Gardening: Exploring Cultural Roots” from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. at the Annunciation Community Garden located on 411 Gray St. in Green Bay.
The free event had interactive garden tours, featured foods, stories and traditions from diverse community gardeners.
Community Garden Coordinator of Extension Brown County Margaret Franchino said the garden’s produce is grown to be given out to the community.
“We’ve got 11 spots and almost 400 plots for people to rent a space, and again, really focusing on decreasing hunger, increasing food security and helping people maintain ties of culture for community connections,” Franchino said.
The Farmory uses the Brown County UW-Extensions garden to grow their produce.
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I’m getting more questions about growing bananas, which means Mississippi gardeners are interested in creating a tropical feeling in our landscapes. Good news: Bananas are one of the easiest plants to grow. But they’re not only for coastal Mississippi. There are selections that are hardy for all landscapes in Mississippi.
Japanese Fiber is widely considered to be the most cold-tolerant banana selection. The coarse-textured, bright-green leaves can be 6 feet long and arch out from the top of the thick trunk. In Mississippi’s coastal counties, this plant has the potential to reach up to 10 feet tall. Other locations can expect a 5-foot-tall plant. Even at 5 feet, this banana plant has a strong presence in the landscape.
Thai Black banana is one of fastest-growing landscape bananas. It has a deep, dark purple coloration on the trunk. The midribs arising from the trunk carry this coloration and fade back to the dark green of the foliage. Be careful where you plant it because it needs a lot of space! Some specimens reach more than 15 feet tall in many landscapes across Mississippi.
In my opinion, any plants with red in the foliage are landscape winners, and I really like the various bananas with red leaves. I’m growing Siam Ruby, one of the prettiest selections. The stem’s rich burgundy color is stunning. The irregular variegation of bright green on the burgundy foliage seems to shimmer. Siam Ruby will probably reach 4 to 5 feet tall. It is more suited to zones 8 and 9 and will die back to the ground each winter.
Bordelon banana has leaves adorned with maroon splotches. The back is solid red, which is very visible as the new leaves begin to unfurl. Based on trial data, Bordelon may be the most cold-tolerant of the red-striped banana varieties. This plant was first discovered near Bordelon, Louisiana, as a sport mutation of a Sumatrana banana plant.
Red Abyssinian is another personal favorite of mine. The leaves are bright green with a red midrib. As new growth emerges, it is flushed with burgundy and almost appears to be hand-painted in shades of red, burgundy and green. Red Abyssinian is in the genus Ensete. Plants of this type do not produce offsets or pups; after flowering, they will die. That said, this is an outstanding banana to grow in a large container on the porch or patio.
The extra-large leaves of bananas look great but need protection from strong winds that can quickly cause them to shred. But even this is a matter of preference, because I think the shredding adds character and movement.
When growing bananas in containers, you need to use commercial container mixes. They are lightweight and have good drainage. And don’t forget about the container itself. Choose one large enough to remain in proportion with the plant itself. Be sure to maintain consistent moisture in the dry weather we frequently experience in Mississippi. A heavy layer of mulch is critical in maintaining soil moisture for optimum growth. Bananas are heavy feeders, so use a balanced slow-release fertilizer, such as a 14-14-14, lightly scratched in around each plant. For containers, use water-soluble fertilizers on a weekly basis in the regular watering schedule.
The coarse-textured foliage is right at home in almost any garden setting, including yours.
For more information on growing bananas in your landscape see the Southern Gardening TV segment Cold Tolerant Bananas, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXBErev4hcc.
• Dr. Gary Bachman is an Extension and research professor of horticulture at the Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi. He is also the host of the popular Southern Gardening television and radio programs. Contact him at [email protected]
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University of Guelph researchers are the first to uncover how the cannabis plant creates important pain-relieving molecules that are 30 times more powerful at reducing inflammation than Aspirin.
The discovery unlocks the potential to create a naturally derived pain treatment that would offer potent relief without the risk of addiction of other painkillers.
“There’s clearly a need to develop alternatives for relief of acute and chronic pain that go beyond opioids,” said Prof. Tariq Akhtar, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, who worked on the study with MCB professor Steven Rothstein. “These molecules are non-psychoactive and they target the inflammation at the source, making them ideal painkillers.”
Using a combination of biochemistry and genomics, the researchers were able to determine how cannabis makes two important molecules called cannflavin A and cannflavin B.
Known as “flavonoids,” cannflavins A and B were first identified in 1985, when research verified they provide anti-inflammatory benefits that were nearly 30 times more effective gram-for-gram than acetylsalicylic acid (sold as Aspirin).
However, further investigation into the molecules stalled for decades in part because research on cannabis was highly regulated. With cannabis now legal in Canada and genomics research greatly advanced, Akhtar and Rothstein decided to analyze cannabis to understand how Cannabis sativa biosynthesizes cannflavins. READ MORE…
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