* I was gifted the Vegepod to review. The content below is based on my experience using the product.
Last year I visited the Melbourne Horticulture Show. One of the first stands that caught my eye was Vegepod. The gorgeous display of healthy plants in a self contained pod really appealed to me. I read the banner sign outlining the features and was drawn to start a conversation about the product. I was so impressed with the features of the Vegepod I later made contact to beg Vegepod to let me try one in my own garden. I admit it is an indulgent thing to do as I absolutely do not need additional garden space for planting. I have plenty. My garden beds currently have gaps to plant more things BUT….I anticipated the value of such a set up and really wanted to try it to see if it was as good as I thought it may be.
I know from speaking to my readers and community that busy mums often forget to water their garden, they begin with the best intentions but the enthusiasm can quickly deplete and the plants die. Many families give up after pests attack and eat their newly planted seedlings. Sometimes plants simply fail to thrive and that is enough of a disappointment to never grow again.
It is my dream for all Australian families to grow their own vegetable garden, or at least a few things that can be used regularly in family meals. To help with this I recently created and launched the Kitchen Garden Box . Customers who told me they have a “black thumb” have since shared their photos of what they are growing, excited to discover that they can grow their own vegetables. I love helping people to discover the joy of a productive garden. I am always on the look out for products or tools that may help new, or experienced, gardeners to get started or get better results.
Vegepod were nice enough to give me a medium sized pod, 1 m x 1 m, to test. I knew that we were heading away on holidays for 2 weeks over the Christmas period, a period where the weather is traditionally un-predicatable and prone to days of heat. I set up the Vegepod two weeks prior to leaving to see how it would go on its own while we were absent.
My intent with the Vegepod was to plant salad ingredients and herbs so that if all else failed in the garden when we were away I’d have some basics on hand. I was keen to see how plants that are prone to bolting in high heat would grow in comparison to being the garden beds. I am talking specifically about:
These are the main plants I added to the Vegepod.
At the time I planted the seedlings into the Vegepod I also added the same plants to my garden beds as a direct comparison of growth.
The picture above shows the plants when I first added them. The base of the Vegepod is has a wicking (self watering) system, it has cavities that hold water that has filtered through the soil you have added to your pod when you set it up and it continues to water your plants as they grow and the roots reach downwards to access the water. If you are interested in how this works you can review the images and information on their website (link at the end of this post)
Setting up my Vegepod was very simple – I added the soil, a combination of blood and bone, compost, soil and cow manure. Next I added my chosen plants and watered well until the water flowed from the overflow holes at the base.
Put the cover on if you want to create your own little protected garden bed and watch it grow.
There is a spray mist watering system that can be hooked up to a watering system but I have not bothered using that. I just watered my plants every few days until they started to progress and then again the day prior to going on holidays. I generally open the pod if the weather is nice but if it is extreme I leave the lid closed, and also close it at night to keep pests out. Earlier this week we had a 44 degree day so I was out in, my garden early watering and putting up shade cloth. It took me more than an hour. I walked past the Vegepod, checked the lid was secure and left it for the day.
Growing in absence:
The day prior to going on holidays I watered the plants deeply until the overflow again came through the holes in the base, I clipped the cover securely into place and left for 2 weeks.
When we were away on holidays the temperatures reached high 30 and into the 40’s on multiple days. That kind of weather always makes me anxious when I’m away because I want to come home to check on everything! We have a decent sized garden that feeds our family throughout the summer months. If it was to be destroyed by high heat while we were absent we would loose months and months of fresh produce – tomatoes, eggplant, capsicums, cucumbers and zucchini. This would equate to me having to go to the shops and pay for what is usually abundant for us over this period.
I had very low expectations of survival rate of my summer garden upon my return.
The plants in the Vegepod thrived and were healthy and happy upon our return. I must say that I am super impressed with this set up. After 2 weeks of not receiving any water in extreme weather conditions there were no signs of stress from the plants. This is the picture I took when I returned (see below). The lettuce in the garden had all bolted but was glorious and healthy in the Vegepod. The coriander was cause for celebration.
The picture below is of the coriander that was left to endure the unstable weather over the same period of time in the garden. Not exactly edible….The Vegepod is housing my only supply of coriander at the moment. It’s generally a struggle to keep it going and avoid having it go to seed as summer progresses.
Benefits and Uses:
Overall, the experiment showed me that the Vegepod provides great value for the backyard enthusiast who wants to grow a bumper crop of problem plants that struggle due to heat, attention or pest attack. It could also be used to house a particular type of plant or one that has a specific soil requirement such as blueberries. Obviously it would also make the perfect growing space if you do not have a garden at all.
I am already planning for my broccoli and other brassica to go into the Vegepod over winter because I think it will do a great job of keeping the slugs and white moths at bay. I’ll keep you posted on how that pans out.
While I had doubted an ongoing use for the Vegepod in our garden, given we already have plenty of space, I am now looking forward to working out which plants I will put into it’s “protective custody” each season. It has proven to be a valuable addition to our backyard.
Other uses I can see for the Vegepod include:
- Balconies and small spaces such as courtyards
- Schools, cafes and community centers
- Gardens with contaminated or poor soil
- Protection from possums, rabbits snails and other garden pests.
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