I know how to grow vegetables, and I don't even know it myself.
Since I was a child, I didn’t distinguish between the four bodies and the five grains. When I faced the ridicule that “growing vegetables is the racial talent of the Chinese”, I didn’t waver in my heart—the people who knew it belonged to the older generation, and it had nothing to do with me. Grandmothers often plant some garlic, shallots, garlic sprouts, and coriander for seasoning, which is quick and long-lasting. If it's my turn, I have to ask, what is the relationship between garlic sprouts and garlic.
It sounds stupid, but it's true.
▲ One of the best vegetables that can be grown in half a month. Image from: YouTube Daily Harvest USA
Fortunately, a quarantine at home will let you understand that growing small vegetables is not that difficult. It was a consolation in a time of material scarcity, a special choice for nothing to do, and an alternative carnival of life.
As the saying goes, the sky is clear and I am isolated, I think I can do it again.
Planters that became popular overnight, some brands have disappeared for 6 years
Whenever a person chooses to stay at home for a few months, many ordinary and even unpopular consumer goods will explode. Last time, the combination of Switch + fitness ring became the number one Internet celebrity in epidemic isolation, this time it was a vegetable planter.
Data from Vipshop shows that this year's smart vegetable planting machines have attracted much attention. Compared with the sales in the fourth quarter of last year, the sales of vegetable planting machines in the first quarter of 2022 will increase by more than 30%. The order growth for smart vegetable machines far exceeded its average level.
Taobao's data is the same, growth is nothing to say. Compared with last year, the smart vegetable growing machine, which has increased by more than 200% in the same period, is an Internet celebrity item in the first quarter.
▲ Intelligent vegetable planter
But this category also has a big problem. There are many brands, but there is a lack of well-known and popular brands. Shopping around the e-commerce platform, you can see a bunch of planters without any signs. It's like a MacBook without an Apple logo, a luxury bag without an old flower pattern, and a tea drink without any innovative packaging. It doesn't look very reassuring.
Cai Duoduo is probably the most prominent exception, with a white and green color scheme that is eye-catching. However, the reason why it can become the most reassuring existence among the planters for sale is because it belongs to the big brand Haier and has also appeared in the TV series "Ode to Joy 2".
▲ There are many dishes in "Ode to Joy 2"
On the JD.com website that has been removed from the shelves, you can see the introduction of Haier Cai Duoduo hydroponic planting box – less than 1 square meter, intelligent lighting, temperature control, oxygen supply, and remote control of mobile phones to meet everyone's needs for intelligent planters. All imagine.
The only regret is that it has no way to buy it from official channels.
Although I can see a vegetable planter with a price of 598 on the e-commerce platform, Haier told Aifaner that the products we found were not on the shelves. "This product has not been launched since 2016. The products found on the e-commerce platform are not on our shelves. We will communicate with the platform to remove this product from the shelves. Thank you for your clues."
▲ Caiduoduo planters that have been removed from the shelves
This is a real story. The middle way collapsed in the middle of the interview, and the store that was selling vegetable planters was accidentally exposed.
But this at least tells us that the business of planters is not so prosperous, otherwise Haier would not have stopped this product in 2016.
Similar product, different time.
Maybe it's just the wrong time?
▲ Krydda/V xer, the IKEA family hydroponic vegetable growing product, can no longer be found on the official website
Xiaomi Youpin has more say in this matter.
At the beginning of 2018, a company dedicated to the research and development, production, sales and service of indoor planting solutions for plant factories appeared. In 2020, when Chinese users have been quarantined at home for the longest and largest scale, this company has also come into the sight of Xiaomi Youpin.
Xiaomi Youpin discovered this brand based on user needs, and was attracted by the concept that you can still use it to grow vegetables easily at home. From the inside: "It can be placed anywhere in the home, and it is a product that can truly grow vegetables at home."
Because of these characteristics, this product called Xiaoludi Intelligent Ecological Planter completed crowdfunding on the Xiaomi Youpin app in 2020. What followed was a long period of publicity. On the official platform of Weibo, the last content update of Little Green Brother will be in January 2021.
▲ This planter is still being sold on the Xiaomi Youpin app
By 2022, there will be many new brands and new categories of products, which are a little different from the original products.
Photosynthetic Future's Chopping Board is one of them. Unlike previous planters, it can also control light and temperature, and its design is more to control "soil". Of course, it is not real soil. The selling point of this small cutting board is that soilless cultivation does not drop slag, and it does not need to spend pesticides, which can avoid pest problems and enjoy the fun of planting. Of course, the size of the small cutting board is much smaller, and the price is cheaper than the planters that often cost more than a thousand.
The three brands and three products mentioned above are certainly not all that is grown at home.
▲ Vegetables grown on a small cutting board priced at 120
IKEA showed its own kitchen farm at the London Design Festival in 2017. This series called Krydda/V xer is also LED-illuminated and hydroponically grown, but you can’t find any results on IKEA’s official website today. LG is also in a similar situation. They released a home vegetable planter at CES in 2020. It looks like a refrigerator with multiple doors. By adjusting the temperature in the box, it replicates better outdoor planting conditions, but this is still something you can’t buy. to the product.
Large companies do not launch, or launch only a short active period.
▲ LG's planter
Why do they treat the smart vegetable planter so much, don't they want to make money with it?
Maybe it's because trying to sell it to people who are willing to grow vegetables at home is harder than you think.
Growing vegetables is not enough to eat, raising cats and growing bamboo to make lettuce
Before he could not get out of the community, Xingxing, who had two cats, was "planted" by a vegetable planter.
She saw the introduction of the vegetable planter in Xiaohongshu. The annual output of 300 catties once made her very tempted, but the comment area also allowed her to quickly complete the process from planting to weeding. "Comments say that there will be bugs, and then they will be spoiled by cats and dogs. Calm down and think about it, the annual output is 300 catties, and the average is less than a catty a day."
This is a dissuasion from the user's real comments, but the changes in the real world have made her think a little differently. The community where Xingxing is located is in the medium-risk area. Since this week, the community has only been in and out. It has become a very tempting option for her to eat green leafy vegetables every day.
▲ The interior view of the LG planter, which can cultivate more green leafy vegetables
Xingxing said that after the community was closed, she felt that it was the most difficult to own green leafy vegetables. Although bought a lot of green vegetables through the platform before the closure. But among the hoarded ingredients, green leafy vegetables will also be the most difficult to keep for a long time.
It's just that in such an environment, she still has no plan to purchase a planter. One is that the courier cannot get in, and it may be unsealed to receive it; the other is that the planter vegetables grow slowly and cannot keep up with the demand.
The Iron Eater, who has been banned for two months in Shanghai, is deeply moved by this. Her circle of friends are all vegetable growers, and there are all kinds of plants, even strawberries. In this wave of vegetable growing, she herself has also grown some leeks and lettuce. But she said very directly: "Growing vegetables is also a pleasure, mainly relying on group purchases."
Since the closure of Shanghai, the Iron Eater has almost started growing vegetables. For two months, she planted leeks "one after another, but they were successful." However, successful planting and conversion into food are two different things. After all, the small garden at home cannot be used, and the planting area is limited. It is still difficult to eat the vegetables you grow every day.
▲ The iron eater who can't get out of the house grows bamboo at home
From the beginning of growing vegetables to now, there are not many opportunities to personally taste the fruits of my labor. So far, the Iron Eater has eaten leeks twice and hydroponic lettuce three times. The lettuce grown in the soil grows the slowest and only eats it once. For her, this growing experience has taught her more about plant growth rates: hydroponic lettuce > growing leeks > growing lettuce.
From the Iron Eater's point of view, the purpose of growing vegetables is not so strong. If she wanted to feed herself on the vegetables she grew, she might starve to death. It's just that when she can't get out of the community or even walk on the rooftop, growing vegetables provides her with a different kind of fun, which is the peace that KTV and offline script killing can't give her.
▲ The leek of the iron-eating monster
In addition to planting vegetables, she also picked up bamboo from outside to plant it, and now the bamboo has grown to the second floor. During the isolation period at home, growing vegetables, teasing cats, and raising bamboo are all her recreational activities. However, she is also very honest, saying that after the lockdown is lifted, she should not be able to grow vegetables.
During the quarantine period, growing vegetables is a decompression activity. Even if you know these dishes, you can't get enough to eat. Watching the green leek seedlings grow is a kind of consolation and comfort to the quarantined people who still need to snap up group purchases.
But this state of affairs will not last long.
When the quarantine is lifted, the opponents of the vegetable seedlings are the community group purchases that are guaranteed to be delivered within two hours; it is the pre-made dishes where the potatoes are shredded, and the seasonings, ginger and garlic have been cut into separate packages; Hot takeaways that can be eaten in hours.
▲ The hydroponic lettuce of the Iron Eater lacks a little competitiveness in the face of take-out
After the quarantine is over, maybe someone can really find peace of mind in this planting experience and continue to plant in the future. But most people will wave goodbye more like the most hated "ex" in the love experience: "Our fate is over, and I'm going to start a new life."
Since then, the water has not been changed, the soil has not been turned over, and finally I have ordered takeout.
Grow vegetables at home, enjoy the emperor
In the face of fast-paced urbanites, it is unrealistic to expect that they will continue to fall in love with growing vegetables. But the vegetable planter is still meaningful, and it provides every user with an emperor-like experience.
The emperors of ancient China had the custom of going to the fields to "encourage the farmers" in person. In fact, it is to plant the land in person in front of everyone, telling you that farming is very important, but it cannot be abandoned.
But the emperor's farming was completely different from that of ordinary farmers. Farmers don't build huge sheds for you to rest in while growing vegetables, and no one specially puts sifted fine soil on your fields so that the emperor can plow them with less effort.
▲ persuading farmers
From this point of view, the planting machine we experience today is similar to the previous “farmers”, giving us an emperor-like experience.
Non-excellent seeds, extreme weather changes, pests and diseases, working under the sun… You almost never experienced the pain of drought and flood that did not guarantee harvest in the original farming. What you're experiencing is a gentle, better version of farming. Just send the seeds, nurture it, and change the water properly, and then you can enjoy the fun of planting – watching the seedlings you cultivate grow vigorously day by day. The rest of the temperature, humidity, pests and so on, just leave it to the planter to solve.
Real vegetables are for a living, and you are for a living.
▲ A lot of dishes that have been offline can also make you grow vegetables like an emperor
The planter is like different experience courses such as baking experience class, flower arrangement experience class, oil painting experience class, etc. It sells you an experience service. You don't need to wash dishes, pass away, filter flowers, and you don't need to practice basic skills for ten years. As long as you spend money, you can have a purified version of the pleasant experience in the experience class.
In addition to the experience, planting itself is also an educational thing.
The "South Garden Green Cloud" roof garden designed by Eleven Architectural Design Studio for Shenzhen is also a way for users to experience planting. As the country's first urban village roof garden, citizens can rent responsible fields, which are managed and maintained by apartments. Of course, you can also visit often to take care of it, or bring your children to know different plants and explore the growth process of the whole plant.
▲Nanyuan Green Cloud. Image from: © Wu Siming yehyehyeh Innovation Club
It has a similar effect as the roof garden in Hong Kong. This is an attempt by the social enterprise Rooftop Republic. They grow vegetables on abandoned tarmacs and public terraces in Hong Kong, and offer vegetable cultivation training courses for citizens. The Roof Republic operation team once said to yehyehyeh Innovation Agency :
We hope that a wealth of knowledge of organic farming practices will not disappear with this generation.
In fact, letting you experience growing vegetables and teaching you how to grow vegetables may be a very important part of the planter business.
Many planters are not intended for adults in the first place. Xiaolvdi intelligent ecological planters told Aifaner that their imaginary target users include users in first- and second-tier cities for home planting; flower and grass planting enthusiasts can plant in different spaces; educational institutions can also use it as ecological education very important component to use.
When asked if he would change the positioning of products and children's education, Little Green gave a firm answer – no.
Ecological education is an indispensable part of children's education and learning. Walking into nature, understanding the mysteries of plant growth, and exploring the growth process of life together can improve children's abilities of observation, hands-on, learning, and thinking, and can also promote parent-children Interaction to improve the added value of the product itself.
▲ Little Green Brother's Planter Promotion
For today's urbanites, the planter is the most interesting educational experience instrument, allowing both adults and children to feel the joy of planting and learn to cherish food.
From when I was a child, "Who knows how hard it is to get a Chinese meal on a plate?" to "It's shallow on paper, and you know you have to do it." All you need is a planter.
This is a "new era teaching aid" that is more educational, less difficult, and more fun to plant.
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