Monday, August 9, 2010

Indoor Gardener: The 2010 Reboot (Part 2)

The first step to getting ready to start the herb garden again was to get replacement parts for my old Aerogarden Classic.

The thing I needed the most was a new set of Aerogarden arms. Here's what the contacts on the old arms looked like:

The metal contacts were corroded to the point where they weren't conducting electricity anymore. In retrospect, they say that such corrosion can be cleaned by using a Q-Tip with vinegar, but I figured the corrosion was so widespread I may as well order a replacement arm. Here's what that looked like.

The other replacement part I'd ordered were more filter pads for the old style Aerogarden pump.

I'd gone onto the Aerogarden Store a few months ago and created a custom herb seed kit consisting of all the herbs I find most useful in cooking. They were: Basil, Sage, Parsley, Thyme, Cilantro. I also had Mint and Chives left over from my herb seed kit, so I figured I'd throw those in too.

I brought out all the parts from where I was storing them and laid them out.

The pump was the replacement Aerogarden pump I ordered last year, so it was still in great working order. I just installed a new filter pad.

Installing the new arm was a snap (literally). Just remove the old arm, insert the new, and plug the power cord in. Extremely simple.

By now, I'm getting real good at planting the Aerogarden seed pods. I arranged all seven of them into the unit.

Then, I poured water into the basin to the fill line, added the starting nutrient tablets, put the dome covers on top of the pods.

And then the big moment came where I plugged the unit in again for the first time in months.

Have you ever seen one of those movies where they come across a long-abandoned shipwrecked boat and then they start up the engines again for the first time? This is the feeling I had when this old Aerogarden started up again. The water started trickling just like old times.

And so, in under 4 minutes, I had my herb garden planted. Then it was on to the tomatoes.

The seed kit from Bed Bath and Beyond looked like the seeds were prepared almost two years ago (which explains why they were on clearance). It'll be interesting to see if they grow.

It came with nutrient tablets, three seed pods (two red tomatoes and one yellow), and pods for spacing.

I plopped in all the pods, and put the dome covers on top. I left the old trellises in place, hoping that some day I will be able to support the three cherry tomato plants.

And there you have it. We're starting anew with cherry tomatoes and a bunch of new herbs. Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we watch the seeds grow and yield a harvest.

If you have any suggestions for what I can cook using the herbs I listed above, please leave them in the comments section!

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