Purple Light and Green Lettuce

journal garden niwa

The seeds have sprouted!

But the Niwa showed me a surprise before that.

The Niwa has a bright grow lamp, which is to be expected. What the publicity photos don't show you is that this light is bright purple.

The Niwa with its grow light on. Everything is drenched in magenta light.

Seriously, it looks like I've got a chunk of purple kryptonite in there. If a technological box were any more fabulous, it would be Mettaton. I'm pretty sure this is visible from the street at night.

The photos don't quite do this thing justice, because I don't know how to optimize my phone's camera for such odd lighting conditions. The second reflection shows the true colors of the LEDs better than the direct view does; in person, you can see this directly just fine.

It shouldn't be all that surprising, really; grow lamps do have to go into the UV spectrum for the plants' benefit. My Dad used to use a cart with lights on it to start seeds indoors, and its light bulbs were a slightly purple-leaning fluorescent. But Niwa doesn't warn you about this level of purpleness, except in the user-submitted photos that are starting to come in.

Anyway, when the seeds have yet to germinate, this light comes on for an hour starting at midnight, every night, until you progress to the next phase.

One thing I also haven't shown off yet is the "To-Do List", which is accessible from the menu in the upper right of the app. You need to keep an eye on this, because it tells you when to do things like change the water. It would be nice if this had the option to push notifications, or if it had some way for me to "check off" the tasks it presents, or even if it just brought the notice front and center when I do something that triggers a new task, like moving to a new growth phase.

A screenshot of the Niwa app's To-Do List.

But enough of that! Sprouts!

Closeup of sprouted lettuce.

As soon as I told the app I could see a small leaf, it turned on the grow lamp for a while and asked about multiple leaves, but there's no option to say yes yet. Presumably this phase has a minimum length. (You'll also notice I changed the temperature display to Fahrenheit, what with my being American and all. That option is in "Account Settings".)

A screenshot of the Niwa app's Dashboard.

The To-Do list also updated with instructions to change the water and add more fertilizer. To do a water change, you need to unplug the unit entirely so it doesn't try to run the pump while there's no water, and so you don't handle anything electrical while it's plugged in. The settings are all saved in the app, so when you plug it back in, it re-connects to the network and picks up where it left off.

So, the lettuce is on its way.

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