Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Aerogarden Ultra with LED lights

I do have an update on my Aerogarden Chinese cabbage (including what the heck it is--spoiler alert--unlike what I wrote last time it's not Napa cabbage). But in the meantime I just noticed that there's actually a new Aerogarden in town that looks even better than the Aerogarden Ultra.

It's called the Aerogarden Ultra LED, and it retails for $349.95. To check it out, visit Amazon. This is basically the same as the Aerogarden Ultra, complete with the ability to support tall planets and the handy "control panel". The difference is that instead of traditional grow lights, they use LED lights. LED lights are a great solution because they draw less power, don't burn out nearly as often, and have a "coolness factor" that the regular florescent bulbs don't have.

As you can see, there's a "space age" quality about the Aerogarden Ultra LED. It sort of reminds me of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. According to Aerogrow, the red, white and blue LEDs aren't just there for show (or for patriotic reason), but actually are scientifically proven to stimulate fast growth (white), bigger yields (blue) and more flowers (red).

 Since it's been less than a year since I plopped down over $200 for the Aerogarden Ultra, I can't see myself buying this new unit for a while. But if you're in the market for the top-of-the-line Aerogarden, this new one is definitely a huge step forward. From a cost savings perspective, it's about a wash--you pay $100 extra for this unit, which could pay for a couple years of replacement grow lights. But if you want the newest and coolest technology, this is the way to go. 

UPDATE: Since I wrote this post, most reviews of the Aerogarden LED have been overwhelmingly positive. The one recurring problem has been that early adopters of the unit reported that their clock would run fast and jump ahead, sometimes by minutes, sometimes by hours. Evidently this was a weird situation where the design of the hood and the LED lights caused interference with the clock, which of course wreaked all kinds of havoc with germination and feeding schedules. Aerogarden has since come up with an updated design, and has been offering a replacement hood for Aerogarden ULTRA LED users free of charge. If you've been affected and haven't been contacted by Aerogrow yet, be sure to call them at 1-800-476-9669 and ask for a replacement hood.

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