What if I told you there’s a gardening system so simple you didn’t need to worry about buying or planting seeds, figuring out watering logistics, or weeding? Instead, all you’d have to do is take a deep breath and push a starter ball of parsley into its pre-marked slot. The UrbMat wants to make gardening that easy.



The UrbMat is marketed both as a gardening intro for busy people living in small spaces and as a fail-safe learning experience for tiny, clumsy-fingered children. I’m sure toddlers appreciate any excuse to play in the dirt, but I think we all know it’s the dumb-thumbed adults among us who are dropping the wilted lettuce and moldy carrots to do the slow clap. 

The three-by-two foot mat comes with 30 non-GMO, shade-tolerant seeds in starter balls. You just have to provide soil and a planter box as well as water the thing occasionally. Think you can handle that, champ?

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Founder Phil Weiner says in an ad for the mat, “It’s a great way to teach the next new generation about how to grow their own food.” Or, you know, this generation.

At $69, the UrbMat isn’t for people who are growing food to save money. But it’s not too high of an entry point for those of us who yearn to garden but are slow learners or too lazy or busy to spend much time with plants. Plus, with every purchase, two meals are donated to low-income U.S. kids through Feeding America and 2 Degrees Food.

If the LEGO approach to urban farming seems like your salvation, we won’t judge you. But if your garden STILL fails to grow, you should probably just go live in the Chef Boyardee aisle of a 7-Eleven.

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