The AeroGarden is a sure cure for brown thumb. The AeroGarden/AeroGrow family of products offers everything from the Sprout with 3 growing pods, priced at about $56 on Amazon, all the way up to the nine pod stainless steel Bounty Elite, which sells for about $304 on the company website. We tried out the AeroGarden Bounty, one of their top models, with room for nine seed pods. AeroGarden is basically a tabletop hydroponic gardening system that is pretty close to foolproof. You can get herbs, greens, even berries and tomato seed pods. You plop them in their holders. The system provides low energy bright LED lighting. You add water and nutrients (from the company’s MiracleGrow parent), and voila, in a few weeks you have edible stuff. The company claims the plants grow five times faster than they would in soil. We planted some herbs, lettuce, and cherry tomatoes just over three weeks ago and today had the first salad with some of our own lettuce. If you’re a little braver, you can get AeroGarden seed pods and add your own seeds for veggies, flowers, or whatever. And, if you live in a place where you can grow your herbs and veggies outdoors, you might grab the AeroGarden seed starter tray for about $24. It will let you germinate your seeds under the lights, then you can transplant them outside.
Each of the AeroGarden units has its own set of bells and whistles. The Bounty has a touchscreen pad that adjusts lighting and lets you know when to add water and nutrients. It only took a few days for our seeds to germinate, and now they are a mini jungle. The plants will grow up to a foot or so, and the lights are on a telescoping rod so you can raise them as the plants increase in height.
When you’ve harvested the last of the current crop, you clean out the reservoir and start over again with a fresh bunch of pods. We’ve got our eyes on strawberries next go round.
After three weeks of rapid growth, we have yet to hear the plants cry out, “Feed Me, Feed Me” (apologies to Little Shop of Horrors), but we swear they are growing so fast you can see the difference hour to hour. In any event, here in New England we’re months away from being able to harvest anything outdoors, and while we’re not going to be able to feed the whole family from the AeroGarden, the idea of having fresh greens all year round that we can harvest at home is gratifying. And fun.
The AeroGarden Bounty is available from Amazon.com for $310.