Having the power to grow plants just about anywhere can help create a better diet, give your fresh produce, or help you create beautiful flowers and succulents. The AeroGarden is a popular garden system that brings gardening indoors with a safe, effective, and fast method. AeroGardens are easy to maintain, but with a few tips and tricks, you can help accelerate plant growth, increasing your harvest yields.
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What Is an Aerogarden?
An AeroGarden is a brand name for a hydroponic gardening system. The AeroGarden is small enough to be kept indoors, can be paired with other AeroGarden systems, and has available accessories to grow even more plant varieties. Although hydroponic technology has existed for centuries, AeroGarden takes hydroponic technology to bring easy, fast gardening to any indoor setting, no matter how small. With hydroponic gardening, no soil is necessary! You simply need access to light and water to grow healthy, beautiful plants.
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How Does It Work?
For a plant to survive, they need light, water, and nutrition. In a typical garden, soil helps hold the plants in place and acts as a vessel to carry nutrition to the plant. But, in a hydroponic gardening system, the soil is not necessary. In an AeroGarden system, the plant still gets nutrients, but the transportation method is different.
Plants are housed in “pods,” which are hung throughout the AeroGarden system. Plant food or nutrition is added to the system, which feeds the plant through the circulated water. A plant has all it needs to grow with the provided suspended light, available water, and nutritional source.
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AeroGarden systems have many advantages over traditional container garden systems. Hydroponic gardening is cleaner and neater, without dirty soil and fertilizer. Plus, the hydroponic system eliminates the need to fight off pests with insecticides or pesticides. The result is healthier and fuller fruits, vegetables, and herbs, better for your body.
AeroGarden Tips and Tricks
Keeping a healthy and lush indoor garden sounds like a dream to most people, but with the AeroGarden system, it is possible to have fresh produce in any home or apartment. With a bit of homework before selecting pods, a solid plan, and some routine maintenance for your system and plants, it is quite possible to have a continuous stream of healthy produce for your family. Below, let’s take a closer look at some AeroGarden tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your harvest.
Plan Your Garden
As exciting as it may be to start your new AeroGarden, you will want to resist the urge to start buying and placing new plants randomly. Before starting, plan what you want to grow and where it will grow. Having a plan in place ahead of time will require a little homework on your part but will pay off big with a complete and plentiful harvest.
For the best success, try to keep plants together with similar requirements. This practice means keeping plants together that grow at the same pace, have the same lighting needs, and require the same nutrients. You always want to keep plants about the same height together to avoid taller plants outcompeting smaller plants for light resources.
You can still keep multiple fruits and vegetables for a well-planned garden but have a logical path for success. Peppers and tomatoes can be kept together in a tray, while herbs should be grown together in their own tray. It may be possible to grow multiple types of greens or lettuce together, but be sure to dedicate a separate tray for each variety. Specialty fruits, like strawberries, should be allowed to grow detached from tall and leggy plants like peppers.
Know Your Garden
To ensure you can give your garden the best possible care, it is important to understand what each plant needs to not only survive but to thrive. Different plants have different lighting and nutritional requirements. Before setting out on your gardening journey, do yourself a favor and fully educate yourself on how to best care for your crops.
For beginners, try to start with some easy-to-grow plants that are fail proof. These plants require little maintenance and can be a great introductory garden for those just getting into the AeroGarden landscape. Some of the easiest plants to grow include:
- Bush Beans
- Leafy greens like Swiss chard or kale
Some fruits and vegetables may be easy to grow but require unique AeroGarden planter models to support the plant fully. While strawberries are easy to grow, you need to make sure you have the proper garden model that contains a grow bowl for the fruit.
Set a Timer
The AeroGarden system has an integrated timer to turn the lights on and off for the required duration to keep plants healthy, but the lighting schedule doesn’t always line up with the correct time of day. If your AeroGarden has the light on at night and your plants are getting natural daylight throughout the day, you could inadvertently be giving your plants too much light. Just as you wear a hat when you are outside so that you keep the sun out of your eyes, your AeroGarden needs a break from the brightness also.
Having a huge amount of light is great for plants like herbs, which will suck up all the light they can get, but other plants are more sensitive to the amount of light they receive. Blossoming plants, like tomatoes and flowers, need some darkness throughout the day to help them grow flowers which eventually turn into fruit. Without darkness, your plants may never produce any blossoms, which means your plants will never have fruit.
To correct this simple beginner mistake, be sure to program your AeroGarden correctly. Adjust the built-in timer to the correct time of day, so it turns off throughout the night and back on again during daylight hours. With a better lighting schedule, you’ll be able to produce healthier plants with more blossoms and a better harvest.
Keep Your Garden Trimmed
Although big and bushy plants may seem healthy, they are not reaching their full potential. Remember to regularly prune your plants to keep them healthy for the best results. When you prune a plant, you help direct valuable nutrients to where the plants need them most; their leaves. The healthier the leaves, the more light the plant can soak up, leading to healthier, tastier, and bigger harvests.
Some of the best tips when it comes to pruning your AeroGarden plants include:
- Prune Early – Before your plants get too out of control, start pruning to keep them small and healthy. Fast-growing herbs and big, bushy plants like tomatoes can grow quickly, so be sure to prune early and prune often with these plants.
- Prune New Growth – By pruning the newest leaves to form, you can help encourage increased leaf growth and more leaf propagation. The more leaves a plant produces, the less stem it will make. More leaves equal healthier plants.
- Rule of Thirds – Pruning is necessary to keep your plant healthy, but don’t go overboard. At most, prune about one-third of the plant in each pruning session.
- Share the Light – You’ll want to prune plants that grow horizontally more aggressively to prevent them from blocking light from other, competing plants. Try to cut back the stems on herbs like basil and mint that grow very quickly. Restrict your plants from growing no more than two inches from the grow light to prevent one plant from taking all the available resources.
- Rotate – As you are pruning, be sure to rotate the plants and pods. Keep the thicker parts of the plants turned outward, and the thinner parts turned inward. This positioning will help encourage more even and natural growth.
Plants Need Pollination
Although the AeroGarden system does a remarkable job bringing outdoor gardening inside your home, plants still grow and populate the same way as in the wild. Plants require pollination to bloom, spread, and produce fruit. Inside your AeroGarden, pollination is a manual task that will help you achieve even more success.
Pollination can happen in one of two ways. Fruit plants will either experience same flower pollination or multi-flower pollination. Before attempting to manually pollinate your fruits and vegetables, be sure to understand which type of pollination is necessary. Certain foods, like tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers, need same flower pollination. Other plants, like melons or cucumbers, need multi-flower pollination.
- Same Flower Pollination – There are several techniques to achieve successful same flower pollination. You can try to gently shake or vibrate your plants a few times a week to spread pollen after the flowers appear. Or, you can use a device specifically designed to pollinate plants. This electronic device vibrates with tiny bristles that help move the pollen between the plants. Some people have also had success using a fan to blow air toward the AeroGarden. The fan can help “naturally” spread pollen between the flowers.
- Multi-Flower Pollination – Achieving multi-flower pollination in your AeroGarden is a bit more technical. Pollen has to move from the male flowers to female flowers. Usually, male flowers are the first to appear on your plants. Male flowers are smaller and have some “dust” on the inside. Female flowers are more extensive and may have unfertilized fruit at the base of the flower. To pollinate and fertilize these plants, use a small paintbrush or a cotton swab to move pollen from the male to female flowers.
To have the most success with your AeroGarden, it is essential to practice regular maintenance to keep your garden clean and maintained. At a minimum, you should:
- Clean The Water Bowl – After your plants have run their course, you’ll want to remove any remaining roots from the water basin. Clean the water bowl by hand with soap and water. Try using a toothbrush to remove any stubborn algae.
- Change Lighting – A powerful light source is essential for healthy plants. As the bulb begins to dull, your plants will suffer because they cannot photosynthesize properly. You want to ensure you are routinely changing your grow lights. You’ll need to replace the light every six months for a system that runs the light continuously.
- Water Pump – The AeroGarden’s water pumps can become clogged, worn, and damaged over time. If you notice your water is starting to turn green or isn’t moving even after you reset the pump, you may need to replace the unit entirely. Luckily, AeroGarden makes replacing the pump super affordable and accessible, taking less than five minutes to change.
Test Your Bounds
Just because AeroGarden does not make an available seed pod for purchase doesn’t mean growing your favorite vegetable or herb is off the table. If there is something you want to grow, try one of the “grow anything” pods. These pods allow you to test the bounds of what indoor hydroponic gardening can become.
Experimenting with different plants can be fun to see what will grow in the AeroGarden system. Maybe you want to try a different type of tomato or even attempt a watermelon. Don’t just end your experimentation with fruits and vegetables. The AeroGarden also allows you to grow plants, flowers, or even succulents. The possibilities are endless with the “grow anything” pods.
For the best results, try to put about three seeds in a single pod. Adding more seeds helps increase the chances of successful germination without limiting the available resources to the individual seeds preventing growth. Large seeds, like squash, may only need one seed per pod, while smaller seeds, like kale, may need up to five seeds in a single pod.
The AeroGarden system is a modern approach to age-old technology and is the perfect solution for anyone interested in growing their vegetables, fruits, herbs, or flowers at home. Growing fresh produce has never been easier, whether in a house with an expansive yard or a small studio apartment. With pod kits available for purchase, you can grow and harvest produce completely indoors or move seedlings to the outside garden once they have started. This fresh, sustainable, and ideal system creates healthier produce without adding pesticides or insecticides. With a few simple tips and tricks for optimal success, you can have the garden of your dreams in the comfort of your home.
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Last update on 2023-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API