This past Christmas my sister gave me an AeroGarden and I finally got around to planting it a couple weeks ago. I was of the Age of the Terrarium (remember those?) so I'd been a bit curious about these, but never got around to checking one out. Wish I had set it up right after Christmas because it was so easy to do, but thinking it would be involved, I sort of pushed it to the side until recently.
It's a hydroponic system, which basically means that the plants grow without soil, in water, with the addition of a mineral nutrient and a pump to circulate the water constantly. You may have heard about the hydroponic gardens at Disney World's The Land Pavilion gardens at Epcot. The pump is actually pretty quiet - sort of like a small aquarium pump. I barely notice it. This unit also has a grow light that is set on an automatic timer that turns on to provide light for 17 hours, and then automatically cuts off for 7.
The one my sister gave me was similar to this 3 pod AeroGarden kit model. Mine came with seed pods for thyme, dill and basil, several packets of nutrients and some garden shears. While you can certainly build your own hydroponic system, the AeroGarden is a neat little self-contained unit with a footprint about the size of a mid-sized potted plant, so it doesn't take up much space at all. I could totally see a shelf with a few of these on it to keep kitchen herbs going all year long, and the best part ... no worries about sunlight, or bugs!!
I'll keep y'all posted on how it does, but thought I'd give you a little sneak peak of how mine is doing so far. It's really kinda cool to have the plants so close to you inside where you see them up close everyday, and can watch them grow from day to day. Having one of these would be a cool way to get your kids involved in growing something too, without a lot of commitment or time.
The unit was super easy to put together. Couple of pieces, just snap together, slide in the grow lamp in, add water into the base, pop the self-contained little seed pods into the holes, add the nutrient, and plug it in.
When you first insert the seed pods, you place these domes over the top of each of them until you see a sprout form. This was when I planted the unit on February 21st.
|At Planting - February 21st|
|February 28th - Week 1|
As I mentioned, the unit automatically turns on and off depending on how you set it, and when it's time for water or nutrients, a red light will come on and let you know. The rest is just watching the plants grow!
|March 6th - Week 2|
These units are designed to grow and harvest from, but after doing a Google search I see that some people have successfully started their plants in one and transplanted them into the outdoor garden. (Don't forget to do this gradually and harden them out), and in fact, you can even purchase a unit specifically designed as a garden starter.
Course, I'll have my regular raised bed gardens going again this year as always, and as always, I'll be fighting the heat and the bugs, but at least with this little garden, I don't have to worry about either one of those. I've managed to save my rosemary, thyme and mint from last year, and it's waking up out there, plus I picked up a few volunteers from the compost that are starting to look like they may be tomato plants! In the meantime, it'll be kinda neat to see how my little indoor garden grows!
Check out this time lapse on the AeroGarden up against a traditional soil garden. Impressive!
AeroGarden on Facebook
AeroGarden on Twitter
Nothing to disclose here! My AeroGarden was a gift, bought and paid for by my sister, and the good folks at AeroGarden don't even know who I am. I just wanted to share a neat product that I am falling in love with. In fact, I'm looking at buying a larger one!