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Getting Started with the AeroGarden – Apartment Gardening

Welcome back to more apartment gardening! Two weeks ago I shared our Petomato and showed how easy it is to use. The same day, I also assembled a new AeroGarden (but haven’t blogged about it before now). There are many shapes and sizes of AeroGarden, but I purchased the 7 pod LED light version. After two weeks of use, I’m pretty pleased with it. Today I’m sharing how easy it is to put together, the progress our lettuces have made, and one thing I don’t like about the device.

I don’t know if this is how the AeroGarden looks on a store shelf, but this is how it was boxed from Amazon. It wasn’t particularly attractive packaging, but I ordered it online and that didn’t really matter to me! It was actually packed inside a larger box, not shipped like this.

aerogarden LED box

At the time of writing, the Amazon price was $249, but I purchased it for under $200. The price seems to fluctuate a lot, so I think it’s worth watching the item for a few days before purchasing.

The box contained the base unit, light hood, a support pole, a bracket trellis system for tomatoes, a seed kit, and instructions. The AeroGarden came with an herb mix, but I also ordered a salad green kit.

aerogarden unboxed

The seed kit contains seed pods, nutrient solution, grow domes, and a measuring cup. This is the salad green kit, not the herb kit, but it looks pretty much the same.

salad green kit

Getting started with the AeroGarden is super easy. Just snap the support pole in:

insert pole

Then place the light hood on top (you’ll also need to plug it in on the back):

attach light hood

Fill with water to the interior fill line:

fill with water

Add nutrient solution:

fertilizerInsert your pods and cover them with grow domes:

insert pods and cover

All that’s left to do is plug the unit in and make your setting selections!

The lettuces had great germination rates and speed. I “planted” them on 10/16, and here’s one of the pods on 10/23.

lettuce week one

Woah! Right?

Here’s a pod on 10/29.

lettuce week two

A packaging insert assures me that the dots are totally normal. It’s a red leaf lettuce, so, like a baby deer, it has spots before gaining its full color.

Overall, I’m pleased with the AeroGarden and just have one “complaint” from an apartment gardening perspective – it’s super bright! The AeroGarden is, by far, the brightest light in our apartment. The LED lights may be brighter than the conventional models, but I chose them because they don’t need to be replaced every six months, don’t use as much energy, and don’t shed as much heat. The settings instruct you to run the light 16.5 hours a day for lettuce, and I quickly discovered there’s nowhere to place this in our apartment that completely hides the light in the morning/night. I put it in our laundry area, but we have louvered doors that allow lots of light to escape. I’ve been throwing a towel over it at night and, sometimes, just shutting it off an hour or two early if I want to sleep and it’s distracting me. The lettuces don’t seem to be suffering from that “lost” hour of light!

In spite of the super bright light, I’m pleased with the AeroGarden so far and look forward to enjoying homegrown lettuces in a week or two!

natashal

 

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Splendid Little Stars November 2, 2014, 3:35 pm

    That’s very interesting! I haven’t grown anything from seed indoors in a long time. Recently, in my Master Gardening class, I got some good information on the subject. Maybe I’ll try growing seeds indoors near the end of winter.

    • natashalh November 2, 2014, 3:59 pm

      I’m surprised you event looked at a post about gardening after the rigors of that course! It sounds really interesting, but so intense. I bet it’s really helpful, though! I’ve never done more than grow herbs or sprout tomatoes for transplant indoors, so this is a fun challenge. So far so good – the lettuces have more than doubled in size since those photos were taken.

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