Monday, January 25, 2016

My New Garden Toy

I spend a little time over at the Square Foot Garden forum through the winter.  There's not much to talk about, plant wise, but it's nice company in the dead of winter with like minded folks who are also itching to start planting.  One of the people there said she got an Aerogarden for Christmas, and not really knowing what that was, I decided to spend some time researching it.

What I found out is that Aerogardens are small hydroponic systems that take the thinking out of hydroponics.  When I think hydroponics, I usually envision crazy tubes and light setups, plus lots of ph testing and carefully balanced nutrients.  Apparently, the Aerogardens are set up so it's neat, compact, comes built in with everything it needs, and takes a universal liquid nutrient.  Then you just pop in seed pods that the company sells, push a button, and it pretty much grows itself.

Now you might not think I'm interested in something like this.  I mean, I may not have a very big yard, but I do in fact have a yard and soil and gardens to work with, and I don't really need to depend on a hydroponic system to grow food.  However, if you were thinking that, you clearly don't know me very well.  The instant I saw these adorable little growing devices, I started wanting one something fierce.  I mean, how cool would it be to have fresh lettuce in the middle of winter, or a fresh vine ripened tomato?  Just being able to watch something grow, even herbs, would fill up my dreary winter days!  I suppose I could plant some seeds in pots and put them under my grow lights in the basement, but somehow that's not the same.  Partially because, once seed starting season comes (mid February for me), I could no longer grow indoor lettuce because I would be starting outdoor onions, which are far more important and pressing.

The thing about Aerogardens are that they're very expensive, in my opinion.  The smallest, cheapest one sells for $65 on Amazon, and the extremely nice ones are nearly $300.  I would certainly pay that much if it grew as much as my outdoor garden, but not for a device that has up to 9 slots to grow things (that's for the big one; the small one grows 3 plants).

Well, as luck would have it, Chad and I were walking through Walmart last night, looking through their outdoor gardening section (yes, I am obsessed), and I happened to spot a display of small Aerogardens on clearance.  They were the small cheap ones, originally selling for $50 in Walmart, marked down to $30!  So I grabbed one.  I figured this is a cheap way to see if I like the system.

It's the one with three holes to plant in, and it came with the herb kit of basil, dill and parsley.

It came with the device, a bulb, three seed pods, and a bottle of nutrients.
I'm not exactly a fresh herb person.  I like growing herbs, but I always forget to use them.  I mean, what would I use fresh dill in, anyway?  I rarely use the dried dill I have.  And although I like parsley, it doesn't exactly have an amazing flavor or anything that would make me want to use fresh over dried.  I do, however, really enjoy fresh basil, even if I don't use it very frequently.  So I ended up digging the seeds out of the dill and parsley pods, and putting in some Black Seeded Simpson lettuce and some Baby Oakleaf lettuce seeds in those pods instead.

Now it's all set up and running.  Since getting this yesterday, I have found out that this particular model is the worst one they sell and it's not uncommon for the motor to stop running or the light to burn out.  Still, even if I only have a 60% chance of having a good experience with this thing, it'll be fun trying.  I set it up in our dining room so I can watch it grow, although I think I want to move it to somewhere more out of the way.  The light is really bright, and kind of takes away the nice ambiance I have going on.  The nice little trickling water sound it makes is a nice touch, though.

Yes, that's a fruit basket on the right, and a fruit basket shaped cookie jar on the left.  Why do you ask?
I may be getting the largest, nicest version of the Aerogarden, but there's a story behind that and I'm also not 100% certain I'm actually going to receive it, so we'll save that for another day.  Until then, at least I have this little beauty trickling in my dining room.  Lettuce usually takes about three days to sprout when I grow it in seed starting mix, so I think by the 26th or the 27th it should be up!  I'll be certain to post updates.

No comments:

Post a Comment