Monday, September 21, 2009

Retiring the Gourmet Herb and Salad Greens Aerogardens; Day 10 of the VeggiePro

Well, the time has come to retire the Gourmet Herb Aerogarden. Here are the report card for this round:

Mint: A+
Basil: A+
Purple Basil: B-
Chives: C
Parsley: D
Thyme: D
Dill: F

For some reason, this round of gourmet herbs which started three months ago back in June didn't quite live up to previous experiences. The mint and basil were excellent, of course. But the purple basil barely got off the ground, the chives produced only a few thin sprouts, the parsely and thyme popped up but didn't grow at all, and the dill didn't even come up at all.

I'm going to give Aerogrow the benefit of the doubt and guess that I just got a bad batch of seeds. I recently purchased a fresh set of seeds, so hopefully my next Aerogarden won't have this problem. I ordered my seeds through Just the Aerogarden Store, so there's less of a risk that it's been sitting in a retailer's warehouse for a long time. Another nice thing about ordering through the Aerogarden store is that you can pick-and-choose your seed kits (perfect for me, as I don't use dill, but I could always use extra cilantro, for example).

Anyway, I accidentally destroyed my mint plants, but the basil plant was going strong. Just like in old times, I decided to use up the basil (which has been an overachiever since day one). I took my own advice from June 2008 on what to do with too much basil. That's right--pesto, pesto, pesto! I used the same pesto recipe that I used back then.

I picked three cups of loosely packed leaves, taking 40% of the regular basil plant and 100% of the small purple basil plant, and then added the four tablespoons of basil I had frozen. The result is what you see to the right. I put it in the freezer for me to enjoy throughout the next few months.

This left the Aerogarden looking like this.

I took the remaining chives and thyme, chopped them and froze them. My vast harvest was one teaspoon of chives and half a teaspoon of thyme.

My next step will be to find a recipe that uses exactly one half teaspoon of thyme and one teaspoon of chives :)

The remaining step was replanting the basil plant into a pot. While the other pods were somewhat anemic in their root structure, the basil was certainly impressive. Because I'd chopped off so many of the leaves to use for pesto, I also trimmed a bit of the root. Unlike what I did before, I also decided to leave the plastic on instead of cutting it apart.

Finally, it came time to harvest the Mesclun. I chopped the remaining lettuce off every single plant and you can see the beautiful variety of leaf shapes and textures. It produced enough lettuce for two large salads. 

I had a vegetable tray from my local supermarket, and as usual, I took a picture for plating presentation...

Once I got that silliness out of my system I threw together some tomatoes, red pepper, Parmesan cheese, and steak (leftover from lunch at Ruth's Chris!) and put some Catalina dressing on. Mmmmm! 

So now, my Classic Aerogardens are all officially retired.

I'll start them again some day, but for the immediate term I'm looking to focus all my efforts on the VeggiePro.

No comments: