Monday, February 14, 2011

Ending the 2010 Gardens and Transplanting Aerogarden Plants Again

So, the 2010 Aerogarden "reboot" is officially over. Recently, I retired the Aerogarden plants which I'd started on August 9, 2010.

My verdict for this round? It was a moderate success. Some of my takeaways:
  • While the idea of "Aerogarden Vegetables" was a valiant attempt by Aerogrow to extend their brand, having grown three batches of Aerogarden tomatoes now, I can say that it's really not worth the effort to try to grow tomatoes. While I had far more success with the tomatoes this time around than I did the last two times, bottom line is the number of cherry tomatoes you'll produce is far less than what you can get in just one or two $5.00 crates at your local supermarket. Considering the time, electricity, and energy you spend to get that, not to mention the cost of the seed pods, I'd say Aerogarden Tomatoes are not really worth it. You really can't replace things like full sunshine and having real bees pollinate your flowers.

  • Do not be tempted to purchase seed pods on clearance. In fact, I wouldn't necessarily even recommend purchasing them from retailers like Amazon, as you don't know how long they've been sitting in a warehouse. Get them from AeroGrow directly. And don't be tempted (like I was) to order them on sale and then let your seed pods sit around for a long time before planting them. I found this out the hard way this go-around when most of my seed pods wouldn't sprout, or like my sage sprouted and then quickly died.
  • Having said that, I was once again astounded by the success of the herbs that did grow. This again shows the Aerogarden at its finest. As you saw, the mint and the basil grew like a weed. The parsley was slow in getting started, but it hung on.
I cleaned and washed out the Tall Aerogarden. I took out the one remaining tomato plant, which looked like this:

I transplanted it into a pot.

I put the pot by a sunny windowsill, and even though it's a few weeks later now, and the plant is actually still growing and still producing red tomatoes (which, interestingly, are sweeter in the soil than they ever were in the Aerogarden, which leads me to suspect that the "natural" nutrients in the soil are preferable to the liquid nutrients.  I don't expect this to last forever (some of the leaves are browning already), but it's fun to give the plant a little more life even after the Aerogarden.

I attempted to transplant my mint using the same Aerogarden transplanting technique I told you about before. The mint didn't last too long, so I then tried the same with the parsley. What I did differently was that I kept the parsley under the grow lights (basically removing the bowl and putting the plant right on the base of the unit). It's been a few weeks, so I've concluded that this is the "correct" way to help the roots used to water get acclimated to soil.

Grow Light AdapterOne very, very cool innovation from the folks at Aerogrow is this
Grow Light Adapter
. It basically lets you take your grow light out of the Aerogarden unit and to plug it into any lamp, turning it instantly into a grow light. What'll they think of next?

I'm eager to start another batch of Aerogardens. I'm thinking of going with the Chili Pepper Seed Kit (6/7-Pod) (which hopefully grows more like an "herb" than a "vegetable", the Lots of Lavender (6/7-Pod) kit (what can I say, I love the smell of lavender), and maybe a Custom Herb Seed Kit (my goal this time is to get the right herbs that I could use in preparing a real rotisserie chicken to cook in my brand new Ronco Showtime Rotisserie, which I finally caved and bought after watching the infomercial ten thousand times). 

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