Best Things to Grow in an Aerogarden
I was an early adopter of the Aerogarden. I got one of the first ones that came out. I thought they were amazing when I first discovered them, so I asked for one for Christmas. I have a rather large outdoor raised bed garden. But, I do live in Pennsylvania so our growing season is limited.
The Aerogarden, which is a hydroponic system for home, enables me to save money and get fresh produce year-round. However, it was not without quite a few mistakes. If see see the ads and pictures of an Aerogarden, well, let’s just say the reality is a little bit different.
Now I have 2 Aerogarden units and am looking to add the giant Aerogarden Farm (!!!!) to my Christmas list this year.
Where to Buy an Aerogarden
An Aerogarden unit is not cheap. I found one on sale, and combined it with some discount codes at Macy’s, so I got is for around $70. Still, I don’t have $70 to just throw out if this doesn’t work out. If you shop around, you can get them for well under $100, even though around $100 is the suggested retail price. Kohl’s is another great option because you can combine discount codes, Kohl’s cash and so on.
But, it’s a great gift idea for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, birthdays and even housewarming. I love mine and now I am on the hunt for more. Keep your eyes on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for people who gave up on theirs. I’ve seen them for as low as $40 there.
Aerogarden is Not Quite as Easy as it Looks.
The ads and marketing for Aerogarden oversimplify it a bit, in my opinion. It is not a matter of just setting it up and walking away. Your plants will need water, pruning and some love and attention. If you ignore it, this is what you get.
Getting Started with Aerogarden
I’m going to share some of my best tips so that you can be successful with your Aerogarden. I’ve had to adapt and trial & error a few things over the past 5+ years. But, now I’m in a rhythm and I love it.
Best Aerogarden Tips
- Know that the lights are very bright. I say this because I got my first one at Christmastime and put it on the kitchen counter. Depending on the layout of your home, the bright lights from the Aerogarden may wake you up or keep you up at night. We have since dedicated a separate table and area of our basement for the Aerogarden units so that we don’t see the bright lights.
- Start with the seeds they give you. You can choose from a multitude of items-herbs, cherry tomatoes, lettuces. But start with the pre-seeded pods that they come with and find success with those first. Then you can buy just the plain pods and add your own seeds.
- I think they have too many pod holes or it’s too crowded. It depends on which unit you get, but I have never had success with filling every pod hole on day 1 and growing it. It just gets too crowded, and one plant always crowds out another (see photo above) and it dies. I either only use 3-4 at a time, or I stagger them. Start two pods today. Then two more in 2-3 weeks and so on.
- Learn to store or use produce. I have had a tremendous amount of success growing lettuces in our Aerogarden. Too much success! But have a plan for your harvest. The problem we ran into was too much lettuce ready to harvest at once. There were many times that I should have cut or harvested it, and stored it in the refrigerator. Instead, I thought “maybe tomorrow we’ll eat it” and before I knew it, it was overripe and gone and I had to start over. Same with herbs, you can freeze many herbs, so learn how to do this so you don’t waste.
- Make it part of your routine to check on your Aerogarden. Their website boasts “3 easy steps!” and mind you, it is much easier than my outdoor garden. And, weeds and deer are not ruining my Aerogarden. But, if you ignore it, you will lose your plants.
We love our Aerogardens. So much so that we may be graduating to an Aerogarden Farm soon.
It can be a great family activity–you can work on so many things with your child, disabled or not. You can teach fine motor, sensory, STEM, eating/food issues, executive functioning (planning it out and maintaining it) and much more.