Introduction to Aerogarden Indoor Hydroponic Gardening Systems
The Aerogarden is an innovative type of indoor hydroponic gardening system that allows anyone to easily grow fresh herbs, vegetables, flowers, and more right on their kitchen counter. With Aerogarden’s patented water-based, soil-free technology, you can experience the joy of gardening even if you don’t have an outdoor yard or any previous gardening experience.
In this comprehensive Aerogarden review, we’ll provide a detailed overview of how these countertop hydroponic systems work, their key features and benefits, recommended models, tips for getting the best results, and whether Aerogarden is worth the investment for your indoor gardening needs.
(Image Credit: Amazon)
What is an Aerogarden Hydroponic System?
An Aerogarden is a self-contained, indoor hydroponic gardening appliance that sits conveniently on your countertop. It features adjustable grow lights, a water pump, and pre-seeded seed pods that contain everything needed for plants to thrive.
Hydroponic systems like the Aerogarden replace soil with nutrient-rich water as the medium for growing plants. This hydroponic method allows roots to absorb nutrients more efficiently without having to spread through dense soil, resulting in faster growth.
Aerogarden uses a technique called aeroponics, which is a specific type of hydroponics. Plant roots are suspended in air while nutrient-misted water nourishes them.
This garden system provides an ideal controlled environment for growing indoors by automatically delivering water, nutrients, and calibrated LED lighting customized for each stage of plant growth.
AeroGarden Bounty Basic
(Image Credit: Amazon)
Overview of Aerogarden Models and Features
Aerogarden offers several different models to fit various spaces, gardening needs, and budgets. Some popular options include:
- Harvest: Compact 3-6 pod countertop model perfect for small planting needs
- Bounty: A larger unit with space for up to 9 plants. Ideal for small families.
- Farm Plus: Versatile 24-plant model with taller grow height for larger plants and higher yields
- Harvest Elite: Features upgraded lighting and remote monitoring capabilities
Core features available in most Aerogarden models:
- Adjustable full-spectrum LED grow lights optimized for indoor growing
- Hydroponic water reservoir for soil-free planting
- Automatic low-water reminders and nutrient alerts
- Vacation mode to suspend lighting and watering
- Easy-access control panel and operational buttons
- 1-year warranty included
Optional accessories like seed starting kits, trellises, and additional seed pods allow for further customization and productivity.
AeroGarden Harvest Elite
(Image Credit: Amazon)
Benefits of an Indoor Aerogarden System
Growing food with an Aerogarden offers many benefits that make it a worthwhile investment for indoor gardeners, including:
- Convenience of an automated, soilless hydroponic system requiring minimal work
- Plants achieve up to 5x faster growth compared to conventional gardening
- Grow fresh herbs, lettuces, vegetables, and more regardless of weather or season
- Compact size perfect for countertops and apartments with limited space
- Low maintenance with handy reminders for water and nutrients
- Fun for gardeners of all skill levels and great for beginners
- Higher yield potential than many outdoor gardens in small spaces
- Automatically calibrated spectrum LED lights optimized for each phase
- Satisfaction of growing your own healthy, homegrown produce year-round!
With excellent user-friendliness, flexibility, and proven performance, the Aerogarden is a versatile option for botanists looking to pursue their passions in urban settings or harsh climates.
AeroGarden Bounty Elite
(Image Credit: Amazon)
How Does an Aerogarden System Work?
The ingenious functionality of the Aerogarden leverages hydroponics and aeroponics to offer optimized indoor growing. Here’s an overview of how it cultivates plants:
- Nutrient-rich water in reservoir pumps through circulating system when activated
- Water molecules saturated with minerals mist over roots dangling in air
- Suspended roots absorb nutrients more efficiently without hindrance from soil
- Custom spectrum LED lights automatically calibrate output for each growth stage
- Integrated timer controls lighting schedule to provide ideal photoperiods
- User simply adds water, nutrients, seeds and enjoys the growth!
This innovative operation is perfect for kitchen herb gardens, salad greens, greenhouse flowers, and other edible or ornamental plants needing a perfectly controlled indoor environment to thrive in.
The Aerogarden’s elegant symbiosis of hydroponics, aeroponics, and purpose-built LED lighting provides a clean, automated way to unlock your inner botanist without the challenges of outdoor spaces.
Now that you understand the basics of what an Aerogarden is and how it delivers robust indoor growing, let’s explore the ideal setup, planting, and care for these innovative hydroponic systems.
AeroGarden Farm Plus
(Image Credit: Amazon)
Aerogarden vs Other Indoor Gardening Methods
How does the Aerogarden compare to other solutions for growing indoors? Here’s a quick rundown:
- More productive than basic potting soil methods
- Less complex than DIY hydroponic rigs
- Quicker growth than greenhouse kits or mini indoor greenhouses
- Lower maintenance than elaborate aquaponic systems
- Less mess than outdoor container gardening can bring indoors
- More flexibility than pre-grown grocery store herb pots
For most home growers seeking simplicity, cleanliness, and productivity on the kitchen counter, the Aerogarden hits a sweet spot between complexity and results.
Let’s continue exploring the specifics of using an Aerogarden and how you can maximize success cultivating your indoor edible garden!
Types of Plants to Grow in an Aerogarden
One of the best aspects of the Aerogarden is the diversity of seeds compatible with its indoor hydroponic system. You can grow:
- Herbs: basil, parsley, cilantro, oregano, thyme, mint, rosemary, dill
- Vegetables: tomatoes, peppers, salad greens, beans, radishes
- Small fruits: strawberries, dwarf cherries, mini melons
- Flowers: petunias, pansies, snapdragons, impatiens
- Sprouts: wheatgrass, microgreens, broccoli, peas
Leafy greens that don’t require much root depth, like lettuces, kale, arugula, chard, and herbs, are especially well-suited. The Aerogarden is also great for starting seedlings you can later transplant outdoors.
We’ll cover specific planting strategies and care tips to get optimal results from your Aerogarden. But first, let’s go over getting your system set up properly.
Unboxing and Setting Up Your Aerogarden
When your Aerogarden arrives, you’ll want to carefully unpack it and get familiar with each component before assembly. Here’s an overview of what’s included and how to put it together for use:
What Comes in the Box?
Every Aerogarden model comes with everything you need get started except for the seed kits which are purchased separately:
- Hydroponic grow deck with holes to insert seed pods
- Water reservoir base
- Integrated pump and water tubing
- Adjustable overhead LED grow light panel
- Power adapter and cord
- Liquid plant food concentrate
- Comprehensive setup guidebook
You’ll also receive a manufacturer’s warranty registering your purchase. More details are available in the instruction manual.
Some units come with a few starter seed pods, but you’ll typically want to choose specialized seed kits suited to your needs.
Step-by-Step Assembly and Setup
Assembling your Aerogarden takes just minutes and requires no tools. Just follow these steps:
- Carefully unpack all components from the packaging
- Select a level, stable area with a nearby power outlet
- Fill reservoir base with room temperature water up to fill line
- Insert grow deck and plug in pump tubing underneath
- Add initial dose of included plant food to water
- Insert seed pods in holes around grow deck
- Attach LED light panel and adjust to starting height
- Plug in electrical cord to power on
- Set the timer and customize settings as needed
Be sure to place your Aerogarden away from direct sunlight and heating/cooling vents that could impact temperature. The ambient environment will influence the rate of growth.
And just like that, your Aerogarden will spring to life! The pump will begin circulating water and nutrients, while the lights activate on their preset timers.
Now, you just need to add some seeds and tend to your garden as it grows.
Choosing Seeds and Planting Your Aerogarden
One of the joys of the Aerogarden system is selecting which fresh herbs, vegetables or flowers you’ll cultivate. Let’s explore recommending planting options and how to correctly introduce seeds into your indoor garden.
Recommended Seed Kits
Aerogarden offers a wide variety of seed kits targeted to different botanical needs. Consider your goals and available space when selecting:
- Herb kits: Popular options like gourmet, tea, pizza, pesto and salsa kits
- Vegetable kits: Salad greens, cascading tomatoes, chili peppers
- Flower kits: Cherry blossoms, petunias, calla lilies, orchids
- Starter kits: Choose from herbs, veggies, or flowers to plant
- Grow anything kits: Blank seed pods and nutrients to plant your own seeds
You can also find seed kits for juicing, sprouts, microgreens, mushrooms, and more. Look through all the options to find varieties that excite your green thumb.
When to Introduce Seeds
Timing is important when first planting your Aerogarden. Most seeds should sprout within 2-3 weeks.
- Direct sow into moistened grow deck right after assembly
- Use included dome lids to lock in humidity for sprouting
- Keep lights on 24hrs for warmth until sprouts emerge
- Transition lighting to 18 on/6 off cycle once sprouted
- Time replanting mature plants every 2-3 months for continual harvests
The timed grow lights will automatically transition from 24 hours, to 18 hours, then to 12 hours as plants mature, mimicking outdoor photoperiods.
How to Plant Aerogarden Seed Pods
Planting pre-seeded pods is simple. Just moisten pods, insert them into deck openings, cover them with domes, and let your garden grow!
For blank pods:
- Soak growing sponges in water until saturated
- Carefully place 1-3 seeds in each sponge using tweezers
- Insert sponges in pods and label varieties
- Moisten domes and attach over sprouting pods
- Water thoroughly after planting and close lid
Within 1-2 weeks, you’ll begin to see sprouts emerge as your Aerogarden springs to life!
Now it’s time to cover caring for your thriving indoor garden.
Caring for Your Aerogarden Indoor Garden
While the Aerogarden automates most plant care needs like water, light, and nutrients, you’ll still need to provide some occasional maintenance. Here are key tasks for keeping your indoor garden flourishing:
Watering and Nutrients
The Aerogarden grow deck sits above a reservoir that pumps water to roots as needed. But you’ll need to top off the tank every week or so.
- Check water levels daily and refill the tank to the line when low
- Add liquid plant food each time the alert light activates (every 2 weeks)
- Use only purified or distilled water to prevent mineral buildup
- Replace water monthly to avoid algae and bacteria growth
Keep an eye on the water and nutrient alerts, and your plants will thrive!
Pruning and Harvesting
As plants mature, pruning and harvesting is important to encourage new growth.
- Harvest outer leaves from lettuce and herbs frequently
- Prune back overgrown herbs like basil to avoid overcrowding
- Snip ripe vegetables and fruits with clean shears or scissors
- Remove any dead leaves or decaying plant matter
Frequent harvesting improves yields and air circulation.
Proper LED positioning is key to maximizing growth.
- Keep lights 2-4 inches above plants as they grow
- Raise the light panel incrementally to avoid burning leaves
- Ensure all plants receive equal light coverage
- Lower lights for seedlings and sprouts for warmth
Using the height adjustments, you can customize the lighting as needed.
Cleaning Your Aerogarden
While cleaning is low maintenance, you’ll need to periodically sanitize and refresh components.
- Every 2 months, replace tank water with a clean batch
- Remove and rinse the grow deck and clean the pump filter
- Use a bleach solution to fully disinfect all parts
- Remove any mineral buildup or residue
- Wipe light hoods to remove dust
Thorough cleaning prevents problems like algae or clogs.
With consistent care, your Aerogarden will produce abundant harvests for months on end! Next, let’s examine some troubleshooting tips for avoiding issues.
Troubleshooting Aerogarden Problems
While Aerogarden systems are designed for simplicity, you may occasionally run into problems. Here are some troubleshooting tips:
Seed Germination Issues
If seeds fail to germinate after 2-3 weeks:
- Ensure pods are getting sufficient warmth and humidity
- Increase water circulation under pods by lifting and lowering the deck
- Check seed viability and contact Aerogarden for replacements
- Consider using blank pods with fresh seeds
If plants appear stunted, discolored, or lifeless:
- Test and adjust pH to optimal 5.5-7 range
- Make sure to add plant food as scheduled
- Increase the strength of nutrients or frequency
- Ensure water circulation is reaching all areas
To prevent or remove contamination:
- Only use purified water to avoid mineral buildup
- Sanitize the reservoir monthly as recommended
- Remove any decaying plant matter immediately
- Increase air circulation with a small fan if needed
- Adjust the LED distance to avoid heat and humidity
Leaf Burn or Discoloration
If leaves appear burnt or yellow:
- Raise lights higher to avoid intense heat
- Check pH isn’t too acidic or alkaline
- Confirm timer settings match plant age recommendations
- Avoid direct sunlight, which can overheat plants
With preventative care and prompt troubleshooting, your indoor garden will stay healthy and thriving for maximal harvests.
Does the Aerogarden Really Work?
Considering the investment required, a common question is whether the Aerogarden delivers on its claims of enabling robust indoor gardening year-round.
Based on testing and cultivating multiple crops over time, our assessment is:
Yes, with some caveats
- Growth rates are noticeably faster than conventional methods
- Herbs, lettuces, greens thrive with minimal intervention
- Compact fruits like cherry tomatoes produce well
- Flowers and ornamentals grow successfully indoors
- Seamless end-to-end automation as advertised
However, limitations exist:
- Larger vegetables like full tomatoes underperform
- Fruiting plants like peppers yield less than outdoors
- Herbs tend to outgrow pods quickly and require frequent pruning
- Ongoing costs of new seed pods and nutrients
The technology excels at leafy greens, herbs, microgreens, and flowers, but can struggle with some fruits and vegetables. Overall though, it delivers on the core benefits of an automated indoor gardening system.
For most urban gardeners with limited space, Aerogarden’s plug-and-play functionality and rapid growth is a game changer for accessing fresh edible plants easily.
Key Success Factors
To get the best outcomes with your Aerogarden, focus on:
- Selecting suitable plants like lettuces, herbs, and greens
- Following the nutrient schedule diligently
- Pruning and harvesting frequently
- Monitoring water levels and pH
- Adjusting light height optimally
- Preventing contamination or pests
With reasonable expectations and consistent care, the Aerogarden enables near-effortless indoor gardening wins for the majority of users.
Now that we’ve covered the key considerations for setup, planting, care, and troubleshooting, let’s discuss which specific Aerogarden models are recommended.
Comparing Aerogarden Models
With a range of sizes and technical capabilities available, which Aerogarden system is right for your needs?
Here is an overview of their best-selling indoor gardens:
|Harvest Elite||6||Compact||20 inches||Upgraded lighting + remote access||$150-$200|
|Bounty||9||Midsize||24 inches||Family-sized capacity||$200-$300|
|Bounty Elite||9||Midsize||24 inches||Bounty features plus Wifi||$350-$400|
|Farm Plus||24||Largest||36 inches||High volume growing||$600-$700|
Harvest: Great compact starter model for individuals or couples
Bounty: Larger capacity for bigger harvests
Farm Plus: Maximize yields with 2′ x 2′ footprint
Also, consider available accessories like trellises and seed starting kits for added functionality.
Choosing the right size depends on your kitchen space, budget, and desired harvest volume. Any of these models can unleash your inner botanist!
Now, let’s finish up with some final tips and an overall verdict on the Aerogarden system.
Final Tips for Aerogarden Success
To get the most enjoyment and productivity out of your Aerogarden, keep these tips in mind:
- Select an out-of-the way location to avoid pets or direct sunlight
- Read instructions thoroughly and follow directions closely
- Start seeds at the proper depth and provide warmth for germination
- Use a conversion plug timer to control the lighting schedule
- Consider fabric covers to keep pests away from tender plants
- Wash hands before handling pods to avoid transferring bacteria
- Maintain optimal temperature of around 70°F for most plants
- Periodically test and adjust the pH of water between 5.5-7.0
- Research optimal lighting durations for your plant varieties
- Keep extra seed pods on hand
Final Thoughts: Is the Aerogarden Worth Buying?
After reviewing the range of Aerogarden systems and their capabilities for indoor gardening, our final verdict is:
The Aerogarden is absolutely worth buying for most urban gardeners, apartment dwellers, and anyone seeking simplified indoor growing.
These innovative hydroponic systems deliver on their promises of automating previously complex gardening tasks and enabling herb, vegetable, and flower cultivation in small indoor spaces.
While limitations exist in terms of plant variety support and productivity compared to outdoors, the magic of the Aerogarden lies in its elegant all-in-one functionality.
For the time-strapped gardener without expansive outdoor space, the exceptional convenience and accelerated growth rates make homegrown produce and blooms easily achievable.
If you’ve always wanted to dabble in hydroponics or are frustrated by poor yields from conventional container methods, the Aerogarden eliminates much of the struggle.
With reasonable expectations on outcomes and smart plant selections, your countertop will overflow with bountiful harvests and botanical beauty all year round, thanks to Aerogarden’s soil-free innovations.
Key Takeaways: Aerogarden Review
- Aerogarden offers automated, hydroponic indoor gardening systems
- Models like Harvest, Bounty, and Farm provide compact to larger growing
- Enjoy faster growth rates and higher yields than soil-based planting
- Grow herbs, lettuces, small veggies, flowers, and more
- Simple setup, integrated lights and auto-watering reduce maintenance
- Ideal for urban users with limited space and harsh climates
- Delivers best results with leafy greens, herbs, and smaller plants
- Upfront investment pays dividends over continual harvests
- Follow recommendations diligently for maximum ease and productivity
The Aerogarden ecosystem provides a nearly effortless way to grow fresh edibles and blossoms in your own kitchen using hydroponic techniques. Give your green thumb room to flourish with the magic of Aerogarden indoor gardening!