The AeroGarden is a revolutionary home growing system that uses light and water, but no dirt, to grow an indoor countertop garden of fresh herbs, lettuce or vegetables. This item is perfect for apartment and condo dwellers, as well as anyone who lacks the proper space for an outdoor garden. In many ways, the AeroGarden is even superior to outdoor gardens, as every element necessary for growing (light, water and nutrients) is regulated for you, so there’s no guesswork. Even if you’ve never grown a plant in your life, you’ll find success with the AeroGarden.
Available in your choice of black or white, the AeroGarden consists of a flat base, an ark-shaped growing bowl and a removable lamp hood. The initial unpacking and set-up takes just a few minutes, and the system comes with an easy-to-follow, step-by-step manual. When assembled, the AeroGarden measures approximately 16 inches wide, 10-1/2 inches deep and 15-1/2 inches tall with the lamp arm set to its lowest level. Keep in mind that you’ll need to raise the lamp as your plants grow, with the tallest lamp level reaching a height of 21 inches.
The AeroGarden can grow a variety of plants indoors at any time of year, so you can have (for example) fresh cherry tomatoes and herbs in the middle of winter. Prepackaged seed pods (available separately) come ready for planting, and all you need to do is insert them into the grow-surface openings on the bowl. Up to seven pods can be planted in one growing cycle. Specially designed nutrient tablets are placed directly into the water-filled base, and unique fluorescent bulbs in the hood provide the “sunlight.” The lights are quite bright and remain on for approximately 16-1/2 hours, then cycle off for the remainder of the day. A built-in timer regulates the light, and you can adjust the cycle if necessary.
The AeroGarden comes with one gourmet herb seed kit to get you started. Additional seed kits include a selection of salad greens, cherry tomatoes, chili peppers and basil, to name just a few. We planted the salad greens kit, which promised germination in 1 to 3 days and harvesting in about 3 weeks. AeroGarden-raised plants grow as much as two times faster than plants grown in standard soil, and our salad plants sprouted in less than 2 days.
The system’s aeroponic chamber simulates a rain-forest environment by pumping nutrient-enriched water through the base. The seed pods act like mini-greenhouses to speed germination, and the roots (once established) are suspended in a 100-percent humidity, oxygenated environment for maximum growth. Some plants reach harvest time in as little as 3 weeks, while others take up to 12 weeks. The AeroGarden’s control panel lets you select the type of plants, and the system adjusts the nutrient delivery, light cycles and water flow accordingly. The control panel also has status lights to remind you to add nutrient tablets or refill the water tank.
It is necessary to follow the instructions carefully, as important guidelines are supplied with each seed packet. Only room-temperature water should be used, and it should be municipal tap, bottled or purified water, as well water or softened water has extra minerals that may be harmful to aeroponically grown plants.
If you long for fresh herbs, greens and vegetables at any time of the year, the AeroGarden can make your dreams come true.
Pros: Year-round gardening, all growing components automatically regulated
Cons: Bulky, bright lights stay on for 16 hours or more each day, only one seed kit included
1 month, seed kit; 6 months, bulbs; 1 year, on the rest