Saturday, April 26, 2008

Day 15: Feed Me!

Check out how big the plants are already. And right on cue, the "Add Water" and "Add Nutrients" lights started to blink.

The International Basil kit is a little different than the regular herb kit. With the regular herb kit, you basically just fill up the water and drop in two more nutrient tablets.

With the basil kit, you have to dump all the water out, refill it, and then drop the nutrient tablets in. It's a little bit more work (okay, the same amount of "work" as taking a bucket of water and dumping it into the sink), but it's nice to know that the Aerogarden people have literally got it down to a science how much nutrients and lights these plants need for optimal growth.

I'm starting to get curious as to what I can do with all the basil. They each have a very distinct aroma, so it'll be interesting to see what kind of flavor it gives the first batch of pesto I'll be attempting to make with it.

Anyway, I refilled the unit with fresh water, pressed the "reset" button, and surely enough the lights stopped blinking.

Here's an interesting look into the "innards" of the Aerogarden. When I refilled the basin, I had to remove the top from the unit, which revealed how the technology works. The roots literally grow right into the water and get their nutrients right from the dissolved nutrient tablets, skipping the "middleman" of the soil!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Day 10: Lots of Itty Bitty Basil Plants

Well, it's Day 10. All of the basil plants have successfully grown above the top cover of the seed pod (in some cases, I had to nudge them so they'd pass through the holes). They're all about half an inch now. The Napolitano and Marseille Basil both seem to be "winning".
I did smell a faint odor a few days ago, similar to what you might smell in a greenhouse. My guess is it was the concentrated nutrients being used to feed the plants. Happily, that seems to have dissapated now--if you get one of these, it's a good lesson to put it in a well-ventilated place.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Let the Games Begin!

Well it's only a day later, and only four days since I planted all the pods, and all of them have little basil leaves now.

According to the instructions, it's time to take off the plastic hoods and let them breathe. They say to throw out the plastic hoods, but being a pack rat, I'll be holding on to them. They look like they could be used for something, like disposable plastic shot glasses or something ;)

So far so good--I can almost taste the pesto already!

Oh, and in one day, look how cute the little globe basil has become! It's like a little baby basil peeking out! :)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

...and the winner is...globe basil!

And the winner is--the Globe Basil. The seed pods all say that the seeds will all sprout in 4-7 days, but this one clocked in at just a little under three days! Funny, I remember in elementary school it took a week for seeds to sprout when we tried those experiments. These seem more like Jack and the Beanstalk's magic beans or those seeds they found on Gilligan's Island. :)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Beginning - April 12, 2008

Hi everyone. This blog will document my experiences (positive and negative) with my brand new Aerogarden.

For those who don't know, the Aerogarden is an amazing new appliance for your home that lets you grow an entire garden INDOORS, with no soil, no bugs, no mess, no need to worry about weather or extreme heat or extreme cold.

This blog is part of my Web site, IndoorHerbGarden.Org, which I hope will grow into a site filled with great tips for growing herbs and cooking with them.

1. I received my Aerogarden yesterday and unpacked the box. It took all of FIVE MINUTES to set it up! The contents of the box are all individually wrapped. It contains the base, the cover (which holds two grow lights, also included), the main section (which holds the seed pods), and an arm that connects everything together.

2. I chose the International Basil herb kit. Who would have thunk that there were so many kinds of basil out there? They promise Lemon, Thai, Napolitano, Marseilles (French), Genovese (Italian), Globe, and Red Rubin varieties.

3. Step 1 was to attach the arm to the base. Simple enough...just unwrap the arm and press it into the base until it clicks.

4. The next step was just as easy. Take the two florescent grow lights out of their boxes and click them into the sockets on the cover. Notice how the cover is a mirrored surface--this lets the unit use the two lights to simulate a beautiful bright sunny day every day for your herbs to grow.

5. The next step--you guessed it, more plugging and playing. Take the plug from the base and plug it into the cover. This is fun! :)

6. The final click is to attach the cover to the base using the arm. You'll hear a beautiful click as the whole unit comes together.

7. The next step is to take the bowl and place it on the base. Everything fits together perfectly.

8. Now you're ready to unpack your seed kits. Everything is already pre-seeded and they even tell you how exactly to arrange the pods into your unit so each receives the perfect amount of "sunshine".
9. Next step is to plug the unit it. It brightens up beautifully. The light will stay on for 16 hours a day and off for 8 hours a day. As a bonus, it makes a great night-light (no more groping through the dark when you get home or in the middle of the night).

10. The next step is to provide water. You can use tap water, but I prefer to use filtered water. It could not be simpler, just fill the unit up to a clearly marked spot inside the unit that says "FILL TO HERE". You'll hear the trickling of the water (which is actually quite soothing). The way the unit works, it constantly circulates the water to provide continual hydration to the seed pods. In other words, your seeds get constant water and constant sunshine, which makes them grow FAST.

11. Next comes the "planting". Just take each seed pod and place it in the unit. Each pod fits perfectly in the holes.

11. Almost done. All the seed pods are in place.

12. The final step is to add two "nutrient tablets". These tablets basically replace the nutrients that the plant would otherwise extract from the soil if they were planted in soil. They're perfectly formulated to provide exactly what the plant needs to thrive.

13. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz.
14. The last step is to cover each of the seed pods with a plastic cover they provide. This basically provides the necessary humidity and hydration needed from now until the time they germinate, which believe it or not will be as little as 4-7 days. Check back here to see if it holds true!