Published on July 10th, 2006 | by Greg0
Aerogrow: Indoor Gardening Made Easy
We don’t have green thumbs around here. What do you expect- we’re technophiles, gadget lusters, neuromancers. Plants, and living things in general, are beyond our normal scope here at Truly Obscure.
But the Aerogrow Aerogarden is aeroriffic. By which we mean, really cool. It’s not cheap, of course- but it’s gardening for the gizmo-inclined. Plants need little maintenance or care, short of adding a nutrient tablet once every two weeks and occasionally adding more water. The plants grow really quickly, and are extremely healthy.
It’s a self-contained garden, basically, aimed at home growers- especially apartment dwellers who might not have much green space or time or knowledge. About the size of a small microwave, the unit consists of a base tray filled with water, with slots into which you place the seed pods. Above it all is a set of lights, which are on around ~18 hours a day, making that whole “sun” thing seem kind of quaint. The pods themselves are proprietary- no garden variety seeds either, and special nutrient tablets are required and included. This means that even after the initial purchase of the unit ($150 which comes with your choice of one kit), you’ll need to continue paying them $20 each for seed kits.
Is it worth it? Absolutely, because the plants are guaranteed. And they turn out beautifully, provided your indoor environment in relatively cool (the un-air conditioned Hawaii apartments killed our first batch, if you keep it hotter than about 70 or so you might want to reconsider or find another place). It’s a simple way to get into growing, and within 4-7 weeks you’ll have large plants ready for harvesting. They offer kits with salad greens (approx. 75 salads over two months), herbs (chives, dill, cilantro, harvest continuously over 4 or more weeks), and more (cherry tomatoes, variety basil, even chili peppers).
You probably won’t need pesticides, but you will need power- the unit eats a far amount of electricity, and you’ll need to be near an outlet. On the plus side, it makes a kitchen area look great.
The Aerogarden Aerogrow is pretty close to the ultimate way to grow plants- the only downside being the required $20 per seed kit. If you want fresh herbs, or feel like going organic (well, pretty much, they can’t quite promise the nutrients are organic for mostly FDA-bureaucratic reasons), this is a great way to start, and it’s pretty much mistake-proof. You can ignore the weather, grow in any season, and get a whole lot of dinner salads or chili peppers without getting your thumbs too green.