Love indoor plants but feel they don’t love you back? Boulder’s edntech builds indoor gardens that (mostly) take care of themselves.
There are smart phones. Smart thermostats. Smart windows. Smart cars. And now, there are even smart gardens. Boulder-based edntech got offers (but ultimately no deals) from two of the sharks on Shark Tank, and has set itself the mission of “changing the way that people experience nature,” says founder Ryan Woltz, who has both an engineering and horticulture background. What’s that mean? “Bringing in flowers to create a beautiful experience in your home, but also growing herbs and vegetables, with the longterm goal of having products that can produce enough to sustain a whole family.” That mission is still a ways away, but, in the meantime, the company offers the 10-plant SmallGarden, $199, and the WallGarden,$699, both of which grow plants without soil, sun, or fertilizer; software manages and schedules waterings and grow lights. Woltz gave us the low-down on his budding business.
What gave you the idea for edntech?
“I went to Clemson, where I was surrounded by nature. When I moved to downtown Charleston, I missed all that nature. I loved having plants in my apartment, but I was always either too busy or forgetful to take care of them and they would die. In 2014, I figured if I could just build a computer to take care of plants for me, they might have a good chance of survival, so I did that. Instant green thumb.”
What did it take to develop your first product, the Small-Garden?
“We knew that we had to have great technology, but also great design, because this thing was going to live in people’s homes and take up a valuable piece of real estate on a kitchen countertop. So it had to be beautiful, made of top-quality wood and aluminum.”
Who is your dream customer?
“Everybody, because it’s human nature to love plants. We work all year to go on vacation and be outside at the beach. We climb the corporate ladder so we can have a corner office and see the outdoors. But from a demographic standpoint, city dwellers who don’t have a yard or balcony love these gardens for growing herbs or veggies in the home for cooking, or just to have flowers indoors. It’s like living art. I have a Small- Garden of marigolds in my house, and it keeps blooming over and over again, like slow-motion fireworks.”
How does the garden know what to do?
“After you buy a garden, you set it up, plug it in and download our app, which will show you how to pair it to your WiFi. The app will say, ‘What time would you like to turn your lights on and off?’ Then we have a moisture sensor that will let you know when the water is getting low and send you a text message. There is a water reservoir to use, but you have to fill it up every once in a while. It will also keep track of each plant in your garden and tell you when it is time to harvest it so it will continue to produce for you.”
Maker of smart indoor gardens for homes.
3550 Frontier Ave., Boulder