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I’m a massive fan of my Aerogarden, and I definitely think it’s worth the money BUT it really depends on what you’re after.
If you’re after a cheap supply of herbs and tomatoes, then an Aerogarden is not for you. It would take you a really long time to just break even, if you don’t get bored of it before.
Consider blankets. If you’re cold, you can go to Amazon and buy a blanket for £20. Or, you could spend (easily) twice that amount on some yarn and knitting needles and make your own. Both are perfectly acceptable avenues to go down, but they’re catering to different people.
It’s the same kind of thing with Aerogardens.
What is an Aerogarden?
An Aerogarden is a smart, compact hydroponic, er, grower. Unit. It comes with an adjustable light on a timer, a pump, and little holders for your plants.
The beauty of an Aerogarden is that they really are easy to use. When the water needs topping up, the blue water button turns red, and the food button does the same every two weeks, so you can add nutrients (that come included).
If you’re looking to get into gardening (or your kids are) they’re a great, easy way to learn the basics of plant care without having to commit a large portion of your time, energy, and garden to it.
There’s also no soil, so they’re waaaay less messy. The only substrate used (other than water) are little coir plugs, which are really firmly packed together, so…no mess.
Which Aerogarden should I get?
I have the Aerogarden Harvest, and it’s great. It has space for 6 plants, and only takes up, er, this much space:
I know it’s quite hard to see how big that is, but that’s a standard 30cm ruler, and it’s smaller than that. The light goes higher but is adjustable.
You can see the buttons on the front there. Once you’ve turned it on and added water and the pods (I think you can choose what pods you get, but usually it’s herbs) you’re good to go. I can’t remember how long before you can start cutting herbs, but it isn’t long.
The light comes on automatically, I think for about fifteen hours, but I just do it manually (press button for on, press button again for off) because I think 25 hours is too long (in my learned opinion, lol) and I don’t want to blind my neighbours (it is BRIGHT) at 9pm.
Do Aerogardens really work?
Very well, actually.
I’ve seen a few reports of the pods not sprouting, but Aerogarden seem to be pretty good about sending out replacements.
Don’t get me wrong – they’re not an economical way of growing herbs. At least, they’re not here, where you can buy a pot of basil for a pound. But if you want to grow your own herbs (or flowers, or salad, or whatever) and you don’t have the time, space or inclination, to do it the traditional soil way, an Aerogarden is a great introduction to hydroponics.
How long do Aerogardens last?
There are few different answers to this question, depending on what you mean:
- the actual units are pretty robust, and Aerogarden can do replacement lights, pumps etc. I’ve had mine a couple of years and it’s still going strong.
- How long the actual plants last varies a lot depending on the type of plant, but Aerogarden claims the herbs last four months and the tomatoes last nine. My herbs lasted WAY longer (a good year) but then I was using them regularly.
I gave away the Thai basil because, er, I don’t like it, and the others got aphids (more on that later). I potted the basil, coriander, and dill in leca and put them outside so the predators could eat the bugs. The basil died come autumn, the coriander went to seed (not a lot you can do about that) and the dill just…died.
The parsley, however, went outside into my raised bed. It did NOTHING for months (I thought the transition into soil killed it) and is now doing super well!
Do Aerogarden get bugs?
And they’re a pain to get rid of, because you have to clean every inch of the Aerogarden. Seriously, the extremely clever people who came up with the whole Aerogarden concept SURELY must be able to make it bug proof. I’m only kinda joking.
As I mentioned above, my herbs got aphids. It was my fault – if I was to give ONE recommendation for using the Aerogarden it would be to keep it as far away from other plants as possible. Perhaps in its own special bug proof box. Again, I’m only kinda joking.
You can use pesticides on your Aerogarden, but…then you can’t eat them. Unless you do a tonne of research on plant-friendly bug killers.
All you can do is rinse them under the tap (EVERY DAMN DAY) and hope they don’t come back (they will).
What can I grow in an Aerogarden?
Pretty much anything that grows above the ground. There are various Facebook groups out there where people document what they’ve grown in an Aerogarden.
You can grow all kinds of salad leaves, flowers such as fuschias…whatever.
As well as growing full plants, you can buy a seed starter on Amazon that fits into your Aergoarden (make sure you buy the size that fits your garden). This has a lot more holes than a regular Aerogarden tray so you can start, say 24 seeds at once. The tray also comes with the coir plugs, and you just pop in whatever seeds you like.
The benefit of using an Aerogarden to start seeds is that they’re not going to either dry out or become waterlogged like soil can, and you know they’re getting good light.
If you put, say, 3 seeds in every pod, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get a plant in every pot, ready to pot into the garden.
Can you transfer Aerogarden plants to soil?
Yes, you can, BUT I recommend that if that’s your plan, try to time it so that the roots of the plant aren’t coming too much out of the coir. The more roots you have, the more difficult it will be to switch over.
That being said, I switched my parsley into soil and it rallied magnificently after a few weeks of looking like it was already dead. Plants are pretty incredible.
The good thing about using the Aerogarden is that the plants are pretty much at optimal health, so they will take change and upheaval a bit better than a plant that has a weaker root system and leggier growth.
What are the advantages of using an Aerogarden?
- Everything – light, food, seeds – all comes in one package. You just fill it with water, plug it in and you’re away
- It’s not as messy as soil. Trust me, as someone with a LOT of plants in soil, it’s deinfitely a benefit when plants are just in water
- The plants grow pretty compact and strong, due to the fertiliser regime and great light
- You can put it on your kitchen counter, so your fresh herbs are always ready to go
- Aerogarden customer support is pretty good at replacing faulty parts and pods.
- The herbs are delicious. I’ve heard mixed reviews of the lettuce and tomatoes BUT I think that there’s more skill needed to grow them optimally (there are tonnes of videos on YouTube that will help though)
Any problems with Aerogardens?
- It’s expensive. There will undoubtably be far cheaper ways to make a much bigger hydroponic system, not to mention that it’s definitely cheaper to buy herbs and veggies from professioan growers.
- The bugs are a pain to get rid of
- After a certain amount of time, the plants get too big unless you prune them. They grow surprisingly quickly!
Would I recommend Aerogardens?
Yes, I would, if you understand that it’s more of a toy that produces delicious food than it is an economical farming tool.
If you love the idea of growing fresh herbs, salad, or tomatoes on your windowsill, but they always die, an Aerogarden is for you. If you’re struggling to stretch your budget to fresh herbs, an Aerogarden is NOT for you. You’re better off looking at this post and learning how to make those supermarket basil plants last waaaay longer.