Grow With Me
New Austin co. digs into fertile delivery kit trend with tasty gardening boxes
There's a delivery kit now for everything, right? While some come loaded with pre-made products, even more arrive with everything you need to craft something yourself (usually an amazing meal).
But what if growing those ingredients — all by yourself — is the goal? Gardenio has taken the convenience and ease of a delivery kit and added expert advice and easy-to-follow instructions to ensure your plants grow, no matter the color of your thumb.
The founder of this urban gardening subscription box thinks that "green thumbs" and "black thumbs" are a myth anyway. Roman Gonzalez had always wanted to learn how to garden, and decided he wasn't going to wait until retirement to try it. He purchased 13 plants for his small home plots and then thought, "now what?" Without concentrated guidance and helpful tips, 11 of his original plants died. Even worse, he didn't know why.
Utilizing his background in user experience design and community organizing (he was an organizer for the 2012 Obama campaign in Ohio) Gonzalez realized that the traditionally archaic way of learning how to garden — stick some plants in the dirt, water, gather fragmented instructions and advice from dozens of different sources, and then hope for the best — was dooming amateurs and beginner hobbyists before they even really got going.
In contrast, Gardenio's starter boxes are delivered straight to your door with everything you need to start growing your own food right away: three appropriately sized planters, as much compost and soil as you'll need, three organic starter plants (not just seeds) of your choice, and care guides for how to grow them. A mobile app is in the works that will help users address common questions and connect the Gardenio community.
You choose the plants, the pot color, and one of two Starter Box options: a smaller one that fills three 6-inch planters for $50 (mostly herbs), and, if you've got a bit more room and sun, a larger option that fills three 12-inch planters (veggies and herbs) for $75. As far as herbs go, the larger option can produce up to four times the herb volume of the smaller box.
All containers come with proper drainage holes (something Gonzalez realized not everyone knew they needed), organic and locally sourced soil, and live plants. Gardenio chose to deliver live plants over seeds because it not only yields quicker gratification, but it forces people to start growing right away. The plants are great for balconies, patios, and the outdoors, because as Gonzalez says, "we want you to see the sun."
The care guides are easy to follow and accessible to even the newest of home gardeners — consider them cheat sheets to help you grow beautiful, delicious produce.
As cool as the starter boxes are, Gonzalez and the Gardenio team are on a mission to reconnect people, especially this new generation, to the way we've done it for 20,000 years: "dirt, plants, and people." Their core values are public health, sustainability, and food justice, and they actively partner with local artists and nonprofits.
Ready to grow? Gardenio currently delivers to 12 ZIP codes within Austin proper (check if yours is included on the website), and deliveries arrive on Saturdays between 10 am-6 pm.