Exploring the Aerogarden
As spring quickly approaches, I find myself thinking about growing my own vegetables and herbs. It is an annual event that invariably ends the same way – scraping the whole idea.
I just can’t seem to get it together when it comes to growing my own.
I search the Internet and find so many people who seem to be able to do it with their eyes closed. Apparently my thumb is quite brown.
If I am being honest, the real truth lies in my ability to keep on top of my crops and not being lazy. My beloved plants end up drying out or not given what they need to thrive.
This year I decided to take a different approach and honestly identify why I want to garden and what gets in the way of success.
Why the Heck do I Want to Garden?
After some thought, I came up with these reasons:
- I like the idea of watching the plants grow and thrive – knowing that I did that
- I would love it if I could offset some of my grocery bill
- It feels like that is just what you are supposed to do when the weather cooperates
- It would be nice to have preserved food to eat in the winter, when vegetables and herbs are so expensive
The most legitimate reason I have is that I like watching the plants grow and knowing that their success is because of me.
Growing a garden to offset my grocery bill, is not really a good reason for me. In my case, I have very little room to garden and it would actually cost more to set up a garden and tend it than it would if I just bought the food in season.
My desire to have food preserved for the winter is certainly legitimate. But, I would need to learn how to preserve them as well as gardening. Committing this much time just isn’t in the cards.
Why Doesn’t it Work for Me?
This is where I really had to be honest.
- I am very lazy when it comes to watering and tending a garden
- If the garden is not right in front of me, it is forgotten
- I hate bugs
Ok, this is where the rubber really meets the road. These are the things that get in the way, even if my reasons to garden are all legit.
If I know ahead of time that I am lazy when it comes to watering and tending a garden, I really have to be aware of this and decide whether I want to commit to it.
In my situation, a full garden would not be within my line of sight at all. I would have to leave the house completely and walk around to an area infrequently used. I know it seems frivolous, but it is honest.
Aside from my laziness, I simply forget about it if it is not right in front of me.
The hating bugs issue is weird, but honest. Has it gotten in the way of helping plants thrive in the past? Yup. So it is definitely a thing.
Now that I know what I am dealing with, it is time to make a decision: Should I consider a garden?
My Gardening Decision
I have decided that I do indeed want to grow a garden so that I can watch it grow. I also want to offset my grocery bill.
To achieve these things, I will focus on growing an herb garden. I rarely use fresh herbs because they are so expensive. Growing them myself will definitely save money.
- It is set up in my living room (right in front of me every day)
- The machine tells me when to water and feed my herbs
- The possibility of bugs is much less
One of the best things is that this little machine will help teach me about the needs of an herb garden. Perhaps, down the road, I will be able to take that knowledge and grow more things successfully.
What is an Aerogarden?
The Aerogarden is a hydroponic smart garden that grows plants in water instead of soil. It regulates the time that the grow lights are on or off and has reminders for when to add nutrients and water.
This means that plants can be grown anywhere indoors. No need to worry about how much light my windows get. I could grow my plants on my desk in my windowless office, if I wanted to.
What About the Cost
Using a machine like this does have its costs and savings:
- Yes, there is an upfront cost. The Aerogarden comes in many different sizes and price-points. But, the newer machines come with LED lights that have a lifespan of up to 5 years. Older machines were more expensive because they used fluorescent lights that needed to be replaced every 6 months or so.
- The consumables can be expensive, but there are lots of ways to make the seed pods yourself and lower the cost of the nutrients.
- These machines go on sales a lot. Even Costco will sometimes offer 2 machines for a lower price than buying a single one. Keeping an eye out for sales is a definite money saver.
- There is an electricity cost, but it is minimal because of the use of LEDs
- Using a machine like this can actually use much less water than growing in traditional pots and soil. Less water is lost to run-off and evaporation.
- Less nutrients are needed in these systems compared to adding nutrients to potted herbs.
My Aerogarden Experiment
I decided that I would document the process of growing from start to finish. Just in case anyone else has questions about it.
I will upload images and videos of the progress and pass on any information I learn along the way.
When the Aerogarden arrived, we did an “unboxing video” so you could see the set up of it.
If the Aerogarden does what I hope it will, then I can focus on buying produce in season and explore preserving them for the winter. I already have ideas for my abundant herb harvests.
Do you have an Aerogarden? Do you have any tips or tricks to offer? Let us know in the comments below.