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I’ve been asked this a lot, and my answer is always the same:
It depends on how much you enjoy gardening.
Enjoy may not actually be the right word. I enjoy gardening, but I don’t always have a lot of spare time or energy to dedicate to it.
If I had a massive garden, a lot of free time, a lot of money, and perhaps a gardener, then soil would be the clear winner.
The Aerogarden is perfect for what it’s designed for – a little garden that you can grow herbs or tomatoes in on your kitchen counter. You can’t grow root veg or acres of produce in it, but if you just want a some parsley or fresh lettuce, it’s PERFECT.
I’m not going to mention cost as a comparison here, because a lot of people complain that Aerogarden’s are pricey. I have a whole article here explaining why Aerogardens are definitely worth the money. I grew veg in two 4x4ft raised beds last year and it is NOT cost efficient.
Don’t get into veg gardening to save money. Farmers are professionals who know how to maximise yield so they can be competitive. We are not.
It is fun and incredibly rewarding though!
The Aerogarden is more efficient
If you’ve ever grown tomatoes outside you’ll know how thirsty they are. An Aerogarden uses up to 95% less water than plants growing in soil, and up to 60% less fertiliser.
Even if we don’t consider that growing plants hydroponically is just…very efficient, there’s no wastage. The water is kept in a reservoir and not a lot can evaporate – same with the fertiliser.
We also have 6 plants using the same reservoir of water. If you had six plants outside they’d need separate pots, all of which would need watering – sometimes daily – in warm weather.
In the Aerogarden, even when the plants are large and you’re having to top it up every day, you’re still using far less water.
The different sizes vary in terms of cost/month to run in terms of electricity, but even the biggest ones cost around £6/month.
The Aerogarden is practically foolproof
It’s very much a plug and play type deal. There’s an unlimited number of ways you can fuck up gardening in soil that simply aren’t an issue with the Aerogarden. Things like light, soil type, planting companions.
You still might get pests, but if you get things like slugs, you’ve only got yourself to blame.
Water when the blue light is flashing, fertilise when the green light is red.
The Aerogarden takes up little of your time
If you keep a jug next to it, you can complete all daily tasks in under a minute. And it doesn’t really have daily tasks. When you’re beginning it only needs water every few days.
The Aerogarden only creates minimal mess
There’s no soil! You might get water splashes from when you fill it up, but that’s about it. The plugs it comes with are very compacted and don’t tend to make a mess.
The Aerogarden has a much shorter learning curve
You can have problems with the Aerogarden, such as pests, but getting started with soil gardening when you’ve got no experience is so much more overwhelming.
With the Aerogarden, you get everything you need in the box and you can get started right away.
You don’t need to make beds, orbuy soil or anything like that.
The Aerogarden doesn’t care about seasonality
You can grow tomatoes and herbs in winter! The Aerogarden doesn’t care!
That being said, you’ll need to keep it somewhere warm in winter if you want produce year round. Your kitchen should be fine, but don’t keep it in a conservatory or unheated room.
Aerogarden isn’t stocked in Europe that widely
You used to be able to get their stuff on their website and on Amazon, but now you can only buy a few products on Amazon.
This isn’t that big of a deal, because you can still buy their Aerogardens and Grow Anything kits, but you can’t buy the tomato or herb pods separately anymore. Booo.
There’s very limited space
The one big issue with the Aerogarden vs growing plants traditionally is that the Aerogarden is always going to be more limited on space.
Even the massive Aerogarden only has space for 24 pods, which is a lot, but also…not as many as you could fit in a field.
And even then, those massive Aerogardens are for more seasoned professionals (like fields, I suppose).
If you love gardening, and have plenty of time and space to devote to it, go for it. If, like me, you planted some perennials once and hoped they came back*, but like the idea of growing a few herbs, then Aerogardens are a really good product.
I also use mine for propagating plants, and you can grow flowers and loads of different types of veg in them, like chillis, courgettes, strawberries, etc.
*We’ve just bought a house, and the garden was a hellscape of fake grass. We added some flowers and the petunias have really taken off. We’re also growing morning glory up the wall and have sniggered every time we’ve mentioned it.
We’re trying to reuse all the previous owner’s old pots 1. because we should, and 2. because we have no money left.
It needs tidying up, but that comes under the title of a Procrastination Activity, and I’m only allowed to do those on a Sunday.