If you are a gardener and have been looking for an easy way to grow your own vegetables from home or have a countertop herb garden, then the Aerogarden is perfect for you! In this blog post, we will go over how to set up and care for your Aerogarden. We will also discuss some common problems that can occur with these gardens and how to fix them.
For a full comparison of the various models and their features, check out the Ultimate Aerogarden Comparison: Pros and Cons of the Top Aerogardens
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What is an Aerogarden?
An Aerogarden is a soil-less, LED Light assisted indoor hydroponic garden system. The term ‘Aerogarden’ is a trademark of AeroGrow International. Aerogarden manufacture and supply Aerogardens and accessories in various unit sizes. From as small as a food processor that can grow table-top herbs, to wardrobe-sized Aerogarden systems that can grow a full-scale garden.
These Aerogardens are available on Amazon from $65 for the smallest ‘Sprout’ coffee machine-sized garden to the ‘Farm 24Plus’, the wardrobe-sized garden system. The aero gardens come inbuilt with all the essentials a plant needs- water tray, grow LED lights, liquid plant food, and detailed instructions on setting it all up.
Aerogarden offers a variety of seeds starting kits or pod seed kits which are ready to plant, making it super easy for beginner gardeners. Furthermore, this hydroponics system is equipped to tell you when to add more food and water to keep up with the growth cycle! There are several more models available; the Aerogarden Harvest Elite and Aerogarden Bounty Elite that range from $150 – $300.
The larger Aerogarden farm models require assembly. However, sufficient product instructions enable quick assembly without any professional assistance.
Aerogarden systems are not only self-sufficient, but they are also smart. Their handy app will alert you about the various needs of your garden and track its growth cycle via an inbuilt control panel – it doesn’t get much easier than that! Aerogardens are also compatible with home automation systems like Alexa.
How does Aerogarden Work?
The AeroGarden works by suspending the plants’ root-ball above a reservoir of nutrient solution. This ensures that there is always an adequate supply of water and nutrients to maintain plant growth. The roots dangle freely in this nutrient-rich solution, ensuring they stay healthy and active without becoming too saturated or drowning due to excess water retention.
A full spectrum LED lighting system simulates sunlight and promotes photosynthesis in the root system. LED lights are able to be placed much closer to the roots without worrying about damage. Aerogarden systems can be located anywhere in the home; not limited to a window for sunlight.
The nutrient solution has a high level of oxygenation, which facilitates better absorption by the plant’s root system. These techniques enable a rich Aerogarden harvest with minimal manual intervention.
Additionally, Aerogardens can provide a high level of customization to your garden. The smart app allows you to control light duration and brightness according to your plant’s needs.
For additional indoor gardening tips, check out my recent post on Growing Vegetables Indoors for Beginners
Advantages of an Aerogarden (Gardener’s Perspective)
Aerogardens allow you to grow a variety of herbs, salad greens and vegetables in your own home. In fact, on average an Aerogarden grows five times faster than plants grown in a regular garden! They are an easy way to start gardening without much prior knowledge or experience. Furthermore, they have the following advantages:
- Aerogardens require little maintenance. In fact, cleaning is as simple as removing excess plant matter from time to time.
- Growing your own vegetables is a cost-effective way to ensure you have fresh produce and fresh herbs on hand all year round.
- Aerogardens can save up to 90% of the cost involved in buying from supermarkets and other retail outlets.
- Aerogardens do not require soil or sunlight so that you can grow your plants in any season. No soil means little to no mess!
- Aerogardens take up a relatively small amount of space. You can place gardens anywhere in the home.
- According to reviews, these gardens hardly need any pesticides, which makes them a healthier option. Being in an enclosed space and the absence of soil, protects Aerogardens from bug infestation.
- Aerogardens have automatic systems that monitor and control the water level, light intensity, pH balance of nutrient solution, and air temperature according to the plants needs. This ensures your garden thrives with very little effort on your part!
- There’s a great selection of herbs and vegetables that can be grown in an Aerogarden!
Common Problems (Cons)
A few common Aerogarden problems that may arise are:
- The pump in the nutrient reservoir could stop working, causing your plants to wilt. This is usually because you have not added sufficient water or it has run out completely.
- If not checked regularly, plant’s growth can be stunted by insufficient light and humidity levels. You might also miss the right time to add water and nutrients.
- Conducting initial research into which plants you want to grow is vital. This is because certain plants can grow quite large, which might become a problem if you own a smaller garden system.
- Following on from the point above, the height of the LED lamp is an issue if you were wanting to grow larger plants. The stand has a limited height. Those who want to pull the light higher could augment the system with an additional auxiliary grow light.
- You have to keep buying new seed pods. The older seed pods might not be reusable. However, this does not mean that it is impossible (requires some extra research).
It’s important to consider both the pros and cons of an Aerogarden before purchasing. As you can see, the main problems centre around lack of planning/research and forgetting about your plants (which to be honest, with the app is pretty hard to do!) By keeping an eye on your garden, you can easily eliminate most of these common problems.
How to Clean Aerogarden?
An Aerogarden is easy to clean. They are especially designed to avoid dirt and other contaminants that could affect the nutrient solution. However, you do need to clean at regular intervals. This ensures your plants are getting the optimal level of water and nutrients to thrive.
You should also clean your AeroGarden if the water pump is not working, which most of the time means dirt and debris is clogging it.
Step by Step Guide for Cleaning Aerogarden
It is recommended that you clean and sanitize your Aerogarden system before starting a new seed starting pod kit. This eliminates the potential growth of harmful root pathogens as well as keeps your system in good working order.
- Remove and dispose of excess plant matter in your bokashi or compost bin
- Use a screwdriver to disassemble all parts of the grow light so it can be cleaned. You will find that cleaning the grow light is necessary when it has become dirty over time or if excess moisture forms around it due to poor ventilation.
- Remove all loose debris from your garden with a brush and wipe down the main components with a paper towel (like the reservoir). Be sure NOT to use any soap-based cleaners or other chemical based cleaning agents to clean your garden.
- Take the pump apart and clean it thoroughly. Calcium deposits can form around this component (when nutrient solution source is hard water).
- Fill the water bowl with warm water and 1/4c chlorine bleach OR white vinegar (5 cups) You don’t need to use water if you choose the vinegar option instead of the bleach solution. Vinegar is a great way to clean and prevent calcium deposit build up in your Aerogarden.
- Allow the pump to circulate the mixture for a good 5 minutes then empty and repeat for another 5 minutes with just clear water. Empty and repeat the water rinse one more time to ensure all bleach is removed from the system.
Aerogardens are a cutting-edge aeroponic indoor gardening system. Designed to be automatic systems that monitor and control the water level, light intensity, pH balance of nutrient solution, and air temperature according to the plant needs. This enables your garden to thrive with very little effort on your part!
With this new revolutionary, affordable, easy to manage indoor gardening system, it’s possible for anybody to grow their own food all year round.
About the Author
Elle Reed is a passionate gardener and advocate for teaching beginner gardeners how to grow their own food. Elle’s mission is to inspire and empower people to get back to basics, grow their own produce, and embrace a sustainable lifestyle. “Whether it’s a few herb pots in an apartment, a potager or a full garden plot, we can all ‘start somewhere’ to grow our own food, and in doing so, provide healthier food for ourselves and those we love”.