Miracle-Gro Aerogarden Sprout Plus
In New England, where I live, outdoor gardens typically aren’t planted until the end of May, but because I was given a Miracle-Gro AeroGarden hydroponic planter, I am looking forward to harvesting a spring crop of basil, dill and parsley. Afterward, I’ll begin growing garden seedlings to plant in May and June.
What seems really exciting about the Aerogarden is its foolproof nature. Plug it in and a timer turns the LED lights on and off daily and notifies you when to add the supplied liquid fertilizer. Your most demanding responsibility is to top off the reservoir with filtered or distilled water aerated by a small pump, providing an environment that grows plants five time faster than plants in soil.
I asked my daughter-in-law, Debbie Baughman, who has had a large version for a couple of years, what she felt about its performance. “As long as I stayed up on harvesting, it seemed to provide a regular amount of the herbs for quite some time. We love cilantro and it grew in the system really well without its usual tendency to go to seed. It was easy to set up and the kids loved helping me monitor its progress. The light was easy to set up on the timer; water and food were easy to maintain thanks to its warning lights. There was no concern of over or under watering and we could go on vacation and know the plants would still thrive.”
She did express mild irritation with the somewhat fussy task of cleaning the water reservoir. The tank fills up with roots as the plants grow and so must be cleaned and sanitized before new plants are started. Debbie also had less success growing her own seeds instead of the manufacturer’s prepackaged ones. Nevertheless, she said, “I never tried their salad blends and am tempted to. I have been looking into ordering another set of herb or flower pods from the company. The kids want me to try flowers.” Enough of an endorsement for me to confidently expect lots of fresh herbs very soon and to start making some decisions about the 2016 summer garden.
First published April 2016