Sunday, October 12, 2014

Aerogarden Strawberries Finally Growing

Just two days after planting the latest batch of Aerogarden Strawberry Crowns, here's what I'm seeing:


You might recall from past posts that the original set of crowns was 90% dead and the replacement set they sent was 100% dead. If I wasn't so persistent in wanting to document this process in blog form, Aerogarden Strawberries would probably be dead to me too. 

The one difference is that this time, the plants were delivered to me via UPS Ground, so they were shipped direct to my door in under 4 days. Previously, the plants were shipped via UPS SurePost, which meant they were dispatched from AeroGarden, allowed to sit in what was probably a hot warehouse for days, and then delivered to my door over a week later. 

I hope someone from AeroGrow is reading this, because it's going to save you a heck of a lot of money in the future. Here are some suggestions I have for you:
  1. Do the math. In this case, you had to spend money to mail me my original set of crowns via UPS SmartPost, a second set of crowns via UPS SmartPost, AND a third set of crowns via UPS Ground. You also had to pay your customer service people for answering my calls and responding to my emails. And worst of all, you made me wait over a month to finally get strawberry plants growing. You can save us all (most of all yourself) time and money by baking in UPS Ground shipment into sales of the Strawberry Crowns--heaven knows if people are paying $20 for $0.50 of plants, you can afford it.
  2. Listen to your customers instead of just spewing out a prepared text--while you might have clueless customers here and there, I'll hazard a guess that most of your customers are pretty savvy. So if they tell you that they're picking up the strawberry crowns and they're disintegrating into dust, don't insult their intelligence by saying the plants are "dormant".
  3. Change the photo on your Web site or at least put a big disclaimer to set expectations that customers are not going to receive six beautiful green plants in the mail.
Griping aside, I do appreciate that the customer service reps did send me replacements quickly with no questions asked. 

Okay, now that I have that off my chest, I can start raving. This grow bowl system is really, really cool. I was a little skeptical at first, but that first strawberry plant is doing pretty well, and I have good feelings about the others. The bowl itself is shallow, so instead of roots running deep, evidently they'll run vertically. I was a little afraid of root rot at first, but because the grow bowl fills and drains so quickly, it keeps the growth medium moist but not soaking. 

And so, it's a month later than I hoped it'd be, but it seems that we're on our way to having fresh, home-grown strawberries! 





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