Emily Pilloton

AEROGARDEN: Tabletop Aeroponic Garden

by , 02/13/07
filed under: Botanical, Green Kitchen

AeroGarden, hydroponic garden, organic garden, herb garden, kitchen garden

Instead of giving cut-flowers with a 5-day lifespan this Valentine’s day, why not go the more sustainable (yet equally romantic) route and provide living, breathing plants to your loved ones instead? Living plants not only last longer, but are much more environmentally-friendly option as well. One fun and useful option for your kitchen is the AeroGarden – a high tech, NASA-tested, aeroponic garden gadget that grows an array of plants and herbs without soil or chemicals. Its Plug ‘n’ Grow BioDome Seed System allows you to plant tomatoes, gourmet herbs, salad greens, chili peppers and more, then stand back to watch the flora sprout with only the nourishment of air, water, and nutrients.

And for those of us who aren’t blessed with a green thumb, AeroGarden also integrates a Computerized “Smart” Garden System, which notifies you when to water and add nutrients, as well as monitoring your plants’ light levels and water flow. And even if you live in a dark basement apartment, the AeroGarden’s energy efficient lighting system provides appropriate levels of full-spectrum daylight to let your herbs photosynthesize to their hearts’ content.

+ $149 from Sur La Table
+ AeroGarden

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31 Comments

  1. Lit Auckley November 9, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Wow, really interesting machine. My family like this machine very much. Every member of family has their own plants request to grow. Each of us happy to watch their plants closely everyday. Even my youngest kid can grow his veggies since aerogarden requires very less knowledge about gardening. Very helpful to emerge kid’s interest in gardening and love of planting.

  2. Sajid August 16, 2010 at 6:32 am

    Nice stuff

    A couple of more Garden Gadgets here

  3. lukeskywilliams June 16, 2008 at 5:59 am

    You might want to check out http://www.Aerogardeners.com The New aerogarden Photo Sharing Community

  4. Karen March 12, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Another good method is to use the Starbucks lids from those drinks that you can buy at the grocery store as covers. They fit perfectly and gives your garden some style. LOL. I got the idea from someone at the AeroGarden forum. She posted some pictures there http://www.aerogardengrowers.com/index.php/topic,21.0.html

  5. Kell Brigan February 29, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    A note about the four-pod experiement — I made my own spacers, i.e. hole covers, of opaque paper in order to discourage algae from growing in the three empty holes. (This is similar to what one gets with the Cherry Tomato kit — four plants and three “spacers”.) Seems to be working fine.

  6. Kell Brigan February 29, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Checking in…

    We’re now at the beginning of my fifth month. The lettuces were wonderful and delicious, but the plants reached the end of their life cycle and started bolting (i.e. going to seed), so I cleared out that garden (Gave it a wash inside and out, cleared out the roots from the pump and ran the cup of bleach through the system, per the instructions.) and replanted with green beans.

    The herbs after five months have grown like crazy (yes, the basil’s on steroids), and five of the plants show no signs of stopping (chives quit outright, and the cilantro’s looking iffy), so I’m keeping them going with 1/2 teaspoon of Miracle Grow in the water every two weeks now that I’m out of the original fertilizer tabs. (I’ll be on vacation in June, so my plan is to see if I can keep the parsley, basil and mint going until then, and then clean out and put both garden’s on hold while I’m out of town. That should be right at the end of the green bean’s cycle, too.)

    About regrowth after “big harvests” — the rule of (green) thumb is to not harvest more than a third of the plants at a time. I suspect after about two months, when they’re well established, you could probably harvest about half and not have any problems. A bigger “problem” is what to do with all the extras — fortunately, I like working with dried herbs, so I’m drying the surpluses. Note of warning: basil on sandwiches is addictive! Harvesting/pinching back/pruning is defintely good for keeping them bushy and out of the lights, so more “harvesting” is probably better than too little in the long run.

    A note about the green beans — since these things do grow like gangbusters, I’m trying an experiment of growing four pods in the regular 7-pod garden instead of seven, and using half the fertilizer (i.e. one tab instead of two.) I’m in the fifrth day, and three of the four pods are already 2-inches high (fourth one’s having issues, but there are signs of sprouting, so I suspect it’s OK.)

    Still using the same bulbs from five months back — they’ve not dimmed that I’ve noticed. I did have to request two replacement floats for the water level indicators. Apparently there was one batch that had bad glue on the floats. Customer service sent them out for free, and installation was no big deal.

    Yes, it’s still love. I may be buried with these things…

  7. Apartment Gardner February 1, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    I have 3 units and totally agree with Jason Bartlett and Kell Brigan. I’ve had my first one for a year and not replaced the bulb yet. They did replace the pump for the Pro. Customer service is wonderful. And if you position other plants nearby — they love the light. Like having a free plant light. I have mini soiless pots sitting all around mine. Crafty — get one in a hurry — you will love it. Maybe even two. For Joe — My basil grows like a weed on steriods. I’ve had mixed success with the others. Mint & chives were respectable. Thyme, Oregano & Parsley quit after a month. I think it could be my city water though. They also have the new mini. I have that one too. Because it is the newest one it does have a few growing pains. But it works great if you only need 3 of the herbs, When the herbs are gone, I’m thinking of trying the flowers – just for fun. Thanks to AeroGrow I have a regular little greenhouse going here. If you can afford it — buy it. If you can’t — I’m working on DIY plans for an apt size unit. If it works I’ll post it here.

  8. Crafty December 19, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    I am a shut in, and go to the store perhaps once a month. Keeping fresh veggies/herbs is a challenge for me. My apartment has no spot for a garden, and the light is terrible.
    *
    This product sounds like the answer.

  9. T. Small December 3, 2007 at 6:07 pm

    To those of you who have been running an aerogarden:
    I am a fanatical herb user. What has your experience been with regrowth rate for frequently used herbs. A tablespoon here and there is fine I’m sure, but what if your making an awesome italian dish using a big handfull of basil? Have 2 plants going at the same time? Using widely accepted practices of pruning for regrowth, what is an approximation of return growth rate for another handfull?

    To Kell Brigan:
    Your review was most helpful. 20usd/month for 6 servings of salad plus 6 dishes using fresh herbs would save me at least 10 bucks, when you consider the driving expense plus taxes for the last minute run to the store.

    Thanks!

  10. Kell Brigan November 2, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    I have two aerogardens running (lettuces and herbs). I did a cost projection over two years, and came out to an overall cost of less than $20.00 per month. This was for all options (i.e. buying my own seeds & rockwool and reusing the seed pods; extending the growth for each “planting” using cheaper regular fertilizer to eight months instead of five, replacing bulbs, etc.) This estimate did not take into account foods costs, i.e. the greens I don’t have to buy. In my case, I’ll about break even, but the convenience makes the difference (for me). Uses less water than conventional gardening. Fewer/no bug problems, and no pesticides required if they do show up (just rinse them off). Fertilizer (from Aerogrow) is from organic materials — still a processed product. Electricity for each unit’s equivalent to a 60 watt bulb on 18 hours/day. In my case, a slight savings, since I’m turning on lights in the living room less often. (My reading chair’s about four feet from the two units, and light’s just fine for reading.) I contacted the company — they’re looking into starting a recycling program for the bulbs. Meanwhile, my local waste management folks also have a recycling program for fluorescents. In my case, outdoor gardening isn’t possible (too hot = >100 degrees regularly outdoors, no space on patio, cats dig everything up…) About pumps — they’ve gotten better (the first batch issued had problems). Pumps may need to be cleaned once or twice a year — comparable to cleaning an aquarium filter, i.e. no big. My verdict: very cool. Slight environmental advantages (water, transports, pesticides.) Little or no economic impact, personally. High culinary impact (convenience, flavor). And, it’s fun. (Also, I’ll probably be placing some plants-in-dirt between the units to use up the “extra” light, too. To be continued…)

  11. Jason Bartlett October 17, 2007 at 2:30 am

    To all the environmentalists denouncing the aerogarden–GET OVER YOURSELVES! Not all of us can afford to own land, and many of us live in crowded urban environments. I have a 600sq ft. apartment with a western exposure on the balcony, but it’s blocked by two 40 storey skyscrapers. Should I just continue to buy overpriced, pesticide drenched veggies, or should I do what I can in my limited way to eat better and grow my own food? Besides, it’s fun! I get about 4-5 months worth of salad greens for 20 bucks! That beats my supermarket, even on their best day. Instead of blowing off the rest of us (who don’t live on acres of beautiful rolling prairie) why not make suggestions on how we can use the aerogarden to it’s best possible extent? I’m sure this is just the beginning of an emerging trend, and I hope it is perfected in the next few years. Even if you don’t use it yourself, don’t complain about those of us who don’t have much choice. At least we’re trying. What are you doing (besides complaining?) And FYI, I just got a second aerogarden and planted the tomatoes yesterday. Can’t wait for the juicy bruschetta!!!

  12. herb man July 21, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    i think this will be great, i can grow weed in my apartment now

  13. Mary Beth May 14, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    If anyone here has one for sale, please email me at persephone1961@roadrunner.com

    Thank you!

  14. drew April 21, 2007 at 9:49 pm

    its great for growing pot

  15. Jog March 19, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    My pump broke on this damn aerogarden. I came home from work and all of my plants were dying. I now have them all in little shot glasses filled with a small amount of water. I am going to call those poeple tomorrow and chew them out….

  16. tommie March 12, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    Well it’s not true Aeroponics, those would have integrated foggers which are really expensive.

    The AeroGarden runs the solution over the roots instead, but the roots are suspended in the air/water so it still grows plants faster than bioponics and hydroponics. It’s almost “set it and forget it”, the only thing you do is add some nutrient tablets and refill the reservoir every couple of weeks or when your plants have consumed it all. If you were growing these in soil, you’d have to at least double the amount of water.

    If you think the seed packs are expensive — you don’t have to use theirs, you can make your own seed pods and buy your own nutrient solutions for a lot less, although this can be too technical for some people. This is not recommended by AeroGrow but is still possible and can save you a few bucks.

    It’s a great gift for anyone and can be educational, not everyone knows that plants don’t require soil. They have peppers, cherry tomatoes, salad greens, strawberries, and a big variety of herbs.

    Cheers

  17. Dee March 9, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    I saw this on TV and thought what a great idea but expensive. 2 weeks research revealed that other systems were either too big, even more expensive or did not have a light wich is also expensive. So if you have very little light, space, time, and a bad memory when it comes to watering plants, it is great. The convenience and health benefits of having fresh veggies & herbs ALL YEAR will be priceless. My research gave me get ideas on how to maximize its potential. I took advantage of the bright light (and it is very bright) to start 4 little 1-inch pots in zip loc bags on top. Will move those to something else (undecided yet on what) right next to the Aero. One thing you should know — the Aero’s pots are TINY which could explain why the herbs die after about 4-6 months, with massive roots clogging up the system. Transplanting them could extend their life. If you are hung up on buying more seed pots, they have the MasterGardner’s kit so you can use your own seeds and mix/match plants. Park’s BioSponges might also work. There are some reports on faulty pumps and such so I ordered directly for AeroGarden. Delivery was just over a week. And if there are problems I am dealing directly with them and from all reports they seem to be very responsive. I’ll update in about a month on my experiments. But I think this is going to be one of my best gadget’s yet!!!!

  18. jp March 7, 2007 at 1:28 pm

    I see that many of you are not using your garden; my family really wants one or two but can’t afford them. If you’d sell us your unused aerogarden i’d appreciate it!!!
    jeanpierreparent@yahoo.com
    (in LA but will pay shipping)
    Thanks!

  19. ALTON February 24, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    TO ALL YOU “NAY SAYERS” YOU PROBABLY HAVE A HORSE & BUGGY IN YOUR GARAGE TOO!

    THE AREO GARDEN IS AFFORDABLE WHEN YOU CAN NOT HAVE A REAL GARDEN, & IVE SPENT MORE

    ON HERBS ATGROCERY STORES THAT ROTT AWAY IN A WEEKS TIME.

    THIS INVENTION IS INGENIOUS, AND JUST PLAIN THRILLING TO HAVE RIGHT IN THE KITCHEN,
    ALWAYS FRAGRANT, ALWAYS GROWING & BEAUTIFUL, WOW!!!

  20. Vickie February 23, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    Blah! Way too small and very expensive! If you use the AeroGrow Gourmet Herb Seed Kits at $19.99 apiece then you will have about 2 pounds of the world’s most expensive herbs. Even if you do not count the price of the machine or the elect. to run it….$10.00 per pound for herbs or tomatoes is highway robbery!

  21. Michael February 20, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    Just because I shower, shave, use deoderant, co-mingle with main stream Americans, work a professional job, have no interest in hugging trees, eating bark, wearing hemp underwear, am ever able to run my fingers through my wife’s underarm hair or aspire to be a self righteous eco-monkey, I still like to eat healthy. Great Product!!! No matter what you pink-o hippie meat-heads say.

  22. Sean February 15, 2007 at 4:50 pm

    Who needs the sun when you can just plug in an overpriced appliance? Give me a break. The greatest fault of the Neogreen movement is the overreaching crush to sell you all new things in stead of TRULY recycling and reusing.

  23. kristen February 15, 2007 at 11:51 am

    good way to grow your own herbs in a tiny, not very much light, new york city apartment. What could be more environmentally friendly than that?

  24. Alice Williams February 14, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Its an amazing item, hiowever, I am on a tight budget,and something requiring more electricity is not in my future! I have a large pot, I use soil, water and grind up my kitchen waste for fertilizer!! Works like a charm every time! Even in Mn. winters!!!

  25. Tom J. Schmitt February 14, 2007 at 10:52 am

    I think this is ingenious! Technology at it’s finiest!

  26. An Earthling February 13, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    I believe you are greatly mistaken to label aeroponics “sustainable” or “environmentally-friendly”. Lovers of the earth should be skeptical of such technology, which is, in essence, anti-earth (and therefore anti-ecology, anti-environment, etc.). Do we really kid ourselves into thinking that growing the likeness of vegetables WITHOUT SOIL is a good thing?

    However scientific, it’s pure lunacy. Call me old-fashioned.

  27. J. February 13, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    Great idea & great looking. Only drawback is price :-(

    On the one hand, current price probably isn’t unfair in the overall scheme of things, but it’s simply not that affordable – especially continuing to buy their fertilizer, etc. – and especially if you have to add in coversion rate when not earning U.S. $s.

    Aw well … “real” dirt is fun to play in too :-) .

    Cheers from J.

  28. Nick Simpson February 13, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    You’ve really got to be kidding me…

    I thought this was an environmental website? In which case how does a “PLUG ‘n’ Grow Biodome Seed System fit in? As it goes, I’ve got the low tech version of this – it’s called a plant pot (and didn’t cost me $149 either)… Admittedly I have to put it in the window instead of using a 24hr electrical light and seeing as the plants grow in “dirt” (look at the subtle use of language on the website – who wants to eat tomatoes grown in nasty, dirty dirt?!) they grow five times slower than this AeroGarden, but it seems to suit me well enough…

  29. mrs. deane February 13, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    I don’t know what went wrong, but I was going to add I just bought my Valentine a bunch of organically grown tulips, probably from http://www.florganic.nl/english.html

  30. Jonathan February 13, 2007 at 11:40 am

    I saw that on an infomercial the other day. My wife said it didn’t go with out kitchen decor. She has no vision. I think it would be a fun experiment.

  31. Michael Hessling February 13, 2007 at 8:49 am

    We got one of these for Christmas! It’s still in the box, regretfully, since our small and already crammed apartment is a bit miserly with space.

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