Gadgets 155

Published on July 10th, 2006 | by Greg


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.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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