Thursday, March 17, 2011

Starting up Round...oh, who knows...

The weather was beautiful today in the New York area. After a winter of three-feet snowstorms, it's nice to see the sun and 65-degree temperatures again.

Well, since Spring is in the air, I figured it'd be a nice day to satisfy my gardening urges by planting another batch of Aerogarden herbs. I figure, let's go back to the basics...I had fun experimenting with the likes of heirloom tomatoes and cherry tomatoes and lettuce, but at the end of the day, nothing beats the Aerogarden for herbs.

I went online and ordered a custom Custom Herb Seed Kit from the Aerogarden Store.

I opened the box and saw this packed in very neatly:

The box included plastic domes, liquid nutrients, instructions, and the following seed pods I ordered online:

1 Parsley
1 Cilantro
2 Thyme
1 Sweet Basil
2 Sage

Here's what the thyme looks like

Before I go on, I'll let you choose your own bad pun:

- Two-thymer
- Double thyme
- Thyme after thyme

Now that that's out of the way, I'll say once again that my goal is to get a harvest of herbs I can use to make my own herbed rotisserie chicken, which i'll cook in my Ronco Rotisseries (still unopened in its original box months after buying it, of course).

Interestingly, they changed the way the seed pod looks.

While in the old days they had a shorter, stubbier pod for the shorter Aerogardens and a larger, longer one for the tall ones, they just have one design now they use for everything. That's smart, because I imagine aside from savings on manufacturing costs, it'll save them from throwing away a lot of old seeds in inventory.

Although admittedly it's a little weird--to fit the new longer pod in my old Aerogarden Classic 7 pod garden, the instructions tell me to bend the plastic and wedge it in until it fits, which means the pods on the side need to be pushed against the plastic walls. Not very elegant, but if it works, I have no complaints.

All pods came with seeds already in them except for the the cilantro seed pod:

Interestingly, this one came wrapped in plastic. When I unwrapped the plastic I found that a seed packet came separately.

Again, a sign that Aerogrow is learning. My sister told me that her cilantro didn't grow, so she had to ask them for a replacement, and I suspect that happened to many others as well (I noticed that while cilantro was promised on some of the boxes of herbs, they sometimes substituted it with thyme). My guess is that cilantro seeds don't have a very good shelf life when exposed to air.

Anyway, I opened the package which contained 20 seeds and poured a couple out on my hand.

"Funny", I thought. "These look a lot like coriander seeds". You know, the kind you use in cooking. After searching online, I learned something I never knew before. Coriander seeds ARE the seeds used to grow cilantro! When the word "coriander" or "coriander seed" is used, it refers to the seed (fruit) and when "cilantro" is used, it refers to the plant. Funny, I've known about both my whole life but never put two and two together. File that under the "learn something new every day" department.

Anyway, I followed instructions by unwrapping the seed pod and dropping 5-7 seeds in the empty pod. As for the other 15 or so seeds, I figured I'd drop them into the big pot where my tomato plant is still growing (but not growing flowers, so if the cilantro does manage to sprout, bye-bye unproductive tomato plant)

Anyway, I won't take you step-by-step through the process of planting the Aerogarden--like me, you should be pretty familiar with it now (and if not, look back to the gazillion older posts!) By the point in my indoor gardening career, growing herbs is pretty easy for me. Position the seed pods so the taller plants are in the back (I put the parsley, basil, sage #2 and cilantro in the back, and put sage #1, and the thymes in the front).

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