Saturday, February 2, 2013

Information wiped out on the AeroGarden Ultra, but saved by the Custom Setting menu - Day 33

Well, my worst fears happened. I woke up a few days ago to find this error screen that the Aerogarden had lost power again.


Like last time, I selected "My Power Went Out". Once again, I got this message that the AeroGarden holds all of my critical settings during a power outage, and for me to check that the time is accurate.



The clock wasn't right, so I went through the process of setting the clock. Then, I was flabbergasted to see that my garden had been reset to 0 days.



Ironically, if the power was out, it hadn't been out for very long, and yet the AeroGarden totally lost track of the number of days I'd planted it. Even the old AeroGarden with its built-in battery would keep basic settings, but all my settings seem to have been completely wiped out from the Ultra. Not cool.

I was about to start writing an angry blog post when I noticed that there is a home menu on the AeroGarden Ultra. It has interesting options. Among other things, you can select "Quick Plant" (to start a brand new garden), "Set Lights" (to set the on and off times for your lights), "Set Clock" (to set the system time),

"Help and Tips" was interesting--it lets you read ahead and see all the tips the Ultra serves up for all kinds of gardens--tomatoes and peppers, flowers, the seed starter kit, and herbs.




"Set Audio Alerts" lets you set alarms, a feature I haven't tried yet. "Garden Status" shows you lots of vital statistics about your garden. "Order Supplies" is kind of a silly feature where you don't actually order the supplies on the unit, but you'll get a QR code you can scan to bring you to the page on Aerogarden.com to order.

The menu option that caught my eye was "Custom Settings".


You see a description of what this option is:

 

"Your AeroGarden lets you fully customize your pump, lights, nutrient cycles, and more"

The next thing you see is a scary warning message saying that only "Advanced Grower" should use it. 


 "Customizing these settings should only by (sic) done by Advanced Growers and is not needed in normal operations"

After all these years of using Aerogardens, I think I qualify...


More scary messages: "AeroGardens are factory set for optimal growth. Customizing these settings may void seed kit guarantees".

At this point I want to shake my AeroGarden and say "enough with the warnings! If you'd just remembered my settings like you were supposed to, we wouldn't be in this mess!"

At long last I got the the Custom Settings menu. Looks like you can customize all kinds of things, from the light cycle, to the nutrient cycle, to the pump cycle. The one I needed was "Days Planted".


Again with the disclaimer.


Finally, I got to the point where I could customize the days planted.


Luckily, I've been taking copious pictures of my screens for this blog, so I knew exactly what I had to set it to.



Happily, after this point the unit was back to normal. On the one hand, I wasn't happy that the AeroGarden Ultra that was supposed to maintain my data during a power outage lost it so quickly. On the other hand, I do like how easy it is to set it to the right number of days so I didn't have to miss a beat. 

If you're wondering what the garden looks like, here it is today:


Everything except the parsley and cilantro are growing really well. The one odd thing is that none of the herbs seem to be growing very strong at their base, so they grow tall and then flop down from their own weight. I'm not sure why this is happening when it didn't happen to my previous Aerogardens. Still, hopefully in time they'll get stronger. 

Two plants that are definitely very strong are the tomato plants. Remember the big chunk I cut off last time. Look at how the base of the plants in this case are incredibly thick and strong, and new growth is quickly coming out of the strong foundations. If you're skittish about over-pruning your tomato plants, don't be...they're resilient and will make up for however much you lop off the top in no time. I'm definitely happy with the way these are coming out. 


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