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1,291 of 1,317 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works as Advertised - Classy Product
see update at end of review

******************

I was lamenting about only having frech lettuce, herbs, chives, and tomatoes from may garden during the long fall-winter-spring parts of the year. The refrigerated stuff from the grocery store goes bad right away and does not taste as good as the fresh stuff from the garden, either.

Then I saw...
Published on November 28, 2006 by P. Schmidt

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1,090 of 1,127 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Item That Makes a Horrible Racket
I bought an AeroGarden for my wife back in May. I'll start with the positives: It's a clever, generally well-designed item that generally functions well and is a nice addition to the kitchen. It's really great to have easy access to fresh herbs. In fact, if not for my one big complaint, I'd seriously consider getting another AeroGarden, so we could grow a greater...
Published on August 28, 2007 by M. Boomgarden


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1,291 of 1,317 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works as Advertised - Classy Product, November 28, 2006
By 
P. Schmidt (Chicago, Illinois USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Miracle-Gro AeroGarden 7-Pod Indoor Garden with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit, Black (Lawn & Patio)
see update at end of review

******************

I was lamenting about only having frech lettuce, herbs, chives, and tomatoes from may garden during the long fall-winter-spring parts of the year. The refrigerated stuff from the grocery store goes bad right away and does not taste as good as the fresh stuff from the garden, either.

Then I saw a Time Magazine page on the new AeroGrow AeroGarden, and I just had to try it out. After reading the AeroGrow website before making the purchase, I realized that buying one garden would not work for me, as the tomatoes cannot be grown in the same garden as lettuce & herbs. This is partially due to the large amount of room taken up by the tomatoes, and also because the lamp/watering cycle is different and finally because the nutrients are different.

So, I bought two gardens, along with the Salad Greens seed kit and Cherry Tomato seed kit. Each garden comes with a mixed herb kit, so I figured to mix in a few herbs with the other seeds, and if they did not work, no big loss.

The products came quickly and the instructions for assembly were very clear and well written with excellent diagrams. I came to realize that this somewhat pricey product at least comes from a company that produces a classy product (a rare thing these days). I found a space on a shelf beside the basement stairs, and placed both assembled gardens there. I also bought and placed a digital thermometer with maximum/minimum temperature memory readouts ($10 at Radio Shack), because I was unsure of what temperature extremes the plants might experience in that location (68-72 as it turns out).

The seed kits contain pre-seeded planting pods. Each pod is basically a plastic cup shaped frame with two pieces of foam rubber inside the cup part, like two slices of bread with the seeds sandwiched between them. They simply insert into the seven holes in the top of the garden's water tank. The Salad Greens and Herbs come with seven pods per kit, while the Tomatos come with three pods plus four hole plugs-the plants are bigger so three of them take up thw whole space available. The hole plugs prevent evaporation of the water through the unoccupied holes.

The water tank holds exactly one gallon of regular drinking water. Well water is not recommended, presumably because of impurities, and since I am on a well I bought two one-gallon plastic jugs of 'drinking water' at the store for 50 cents each and filled the tanks with their contents. A pump in the tank takes water and pipes it to the rim of each of the seven holes in the tank's top, and here the trickle of water flows into the foam sandwich of each seed pod. The foam stays moist and the rest of the water drips back down into the tank. The garden's 'computer' cycles the water flow on and off according to the amount recommended for the type of plant being grown. A water level sensor turns on a flashing red light when it is time to add more water to the tank.

The top of the garden is a reflector with two compact-fluorescent lamps, of the variety that has the special ultraviolet (UV) coating that causes the emmitted light to resemble sunlight. The reflector rides on a vertical pole that extends up from the garden's base, so you can raise and lower the lamps as required to keep them the correct distance above the plants. The garden's 'computer' also turns the lamps on and off according to a schedule tailored to the type of plant. If using the gardens in a place where the light might be a problem at night, you can syncronize the computer so that the lights are on only during the daytime and off when you are trying to sleep.

The seed kits come with little clear plastic cups that cover each pod until the seeds have germinated, then you can dispose of them. The kits also come with a bag of nutrient tablets, which you add to the water tank when the computer prompts you to by flashing a red light. The nutrients are tailored to the type of plant being grown, and there are enough of them to feed the plants during their anticipated life span.

I planted one garden with five salad green (leaf lettuce) pods, plus one pod each from the Herb kit, chives and parsley. The other garden got the threee pods from the Cherry Tomato kit; two reds and one yellow variety.

Each seed pod has a label that tells you how many days to wait for plants to appear after germination. All of my plants appeared like clockwork.

I have had the gardens for about six weeks now, and have been enjoying salads containing lettuce, parsley and chives plus other odds and ends from the fridge, for the last two or three weeks. The lettuce and herbs are all beautiful, with no problems from bugs or too much/too little water, excessive temperatures, etc. No need to wash the plants or check for bugs or pick off bad spots, everything goes straight to the salad bowl. What a joy! Even with only five lettuce plants, I have to eat two meals including salad each day to keep up with the growth. This would easily feed two people, and if all seven salad green pods had been used, three people.

The tomatoes are all doing well ahnd have been pruned according to instructions. It will be some time yet before they produce flowers, and then fruit. But based on the health of the plants, I expect a good yield.

Each seed kit comes with a full color manual/booklet that covers all aspects of 'planting', germinating, feeding, pruning (if required) and then harvesting the plants. There are also photos of plants where things have gone wrong (leaves burned because the lamps were not raised up as the plants grew taller, etc) with clear instructions on how to recognize problems and correct them. Harvesting instructions clearly tell how much can be taken at a time without killing the plant, and so on.

The AeroGrow gardens are a well designed, well built product with excellent documentation. All my visitors are amazed at how well the product works, and many have gone out and bought their own. I anticipate years of improved eating because of this product.

*****************

Update November 2007

I used my two gardens all Winter (2006/2007) until it was time to start getting produce from my real (outdoor) garden in the Summer, at which time I put the little gardens to rest for the season. During their use, I got a large crop of cherry tomatoes, all of which were beautiful. I went through on crop of lettuce and salad greens, and when the lettuce finally bolted, I replanted with only lettuce (no chives, etc this time) and got another couple of months worth of lettuce. I have now fired them up again in the Fall, and have nice little plants popping up. Aerogrow has more seed options available now, so I have planted a more interesting kind of lettuce.
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1,090 of 1,127 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Item That Makes a Horrible Racket, August 28, 2007
This review is from: Miracle-Gro AeroGarden 7-Pod Indoor Garden with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit, Black (Lawn & Patio)
I bought an AeroGarden for my wife back in May. I'll start with the positives: It's a clever, generally well-designed item that generally functions well and is a nice addition to the kitchen. It's really great to have easy access to fresh herbs. In fact, if not for my one big complaint, I'd seriously consider getting another AeroGarden, so we could grow a greater variety and have a continuous supply of herbs.

However, there's a fundamental design problem with the AeroGarden's pump. After having the AeroGarden for about a month, the pump became terribly noisy, to the point where it could be heard vibrating in adjacent rooms. After running through a few steps with customer service, they sent me a new pump. However, because they've apparently had so many problems with the pumps, they were back-ordered and it took about three or four weeks for the replacement to arrive. Once I replaced the pump, the AeroGarden was again a welcome cohabitant, virtually silent except for the gentle sound of water trickling through the system.

All was fine until I pulled out the last crop of plants and inserted new seed pods and nutrients. I thoroughly cleaned out the reservoir unit, but within a few days, the pump (a replacement) started getting noisy. I just called AeroGrow's customer service department and they are shipping another pump.

The customer service folks have been very helpful, but they've acknowledged that there's a design problem. The pumps get noisy because tiny bits of root or nutrients get past the foam filter in the base unit, then get sucked into the pump's impeller. A small nick in the impeller throws off the balance of the pump and they become increasingly noisy. The only answer--at this point--is to periodically replace the pump.

So, just a little shy of four months into AeroGarden ownership, I will soon be on my third pump. I'm hopeful that they'll get this figured out at some point. They're very understanding and helpful in replacing the noisy pumps, but it appears to me that there's a fundamental design problem. As much as I like the AeroGarden when it's functioning as it's supposed to, I can't in good conscience recommend buying one at this time. I'd wait until they get this problem sorted out.

UPDATE:

The third pump did the trick. I haven't had to replace it since. I'm not changing my rating, however. Overall, I like the AeroGarden, but their seed pod packages are overpriced and underperform. The tomato garden was a total bust--lots of leaves, but not a single tomato--and the herb gardens always include one or two plants that die out within a few weeks. Some herbs consistently do well--basil and parsley come immediately to mind--but others just wither and die (and, yes, I'm very careful about water levels, nutrients, and trimming the herbs appropriately).

I think they could do a much better job of selecting quality plants that would actually perform well. Since this has been a consistent theme with each of the herb packages I've tried, I have to assume that most purchasers will have the same problems.
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335 of 367 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Didn't Someone Think of This Sooner??!!, July 6, 2006
By 
NuJoi "Create with me" (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Miracle-Gro AeroGarden 7-Pod Indoor Garden with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit, Black (Lawn & Patio)
I love this product -- no dirt, no bugs and no chance of over-watering! This is very easy to assemble and easy to use. Just add water and a couple of nutrient tablets every two weeks. There's even a light that tells you when you need to do this.

I planted my Gourmet Herbs on June 15 and I was ready to harvest the basil before the fourth of July! If you follow the instructions, there's no way to mess this up. The herbs lasted about six months. My only caution is (and this is noted in the instruction booklet) that the lamps are on about 16 hours a day and they are bright at night. I can close off the bedrooms, so it doesn't bother me.

I highly recommend this product to anyone one who has tried to grow herbs indoors in the past. Aerogarden's customer service team is the best -- they know their stuff and are vary helpful. I had a problem with one of the herb kits and they have really worked to fix the problem.

Update: I read another reviewer's note about installing a new pump. I had a seed pod that never sprouted and after being shipped a replacement pod that also didn't work, Aerogarden sent me a new pump. I installed it last night with a new kit. The instructions were clear and it was pretty easy to do. I liked doing it myself in five minutes instead of sending the unit somewhere to be repaired. It still was an inconvenience, but my positive experiences with the product far outweigh the annoyance of the installation.

Update:
My first kit was the gourmet herb and as noted above, I had problems with the cilantro. I have since replanted my garden by mixing the French, Itallian and new Gourmet Herb kits and they've worked beautifully,especially the cilantro. The new pump has made all the difference. My oregano is even more hearty this time around. With the mew pump, all of my herbs are doing better. After almost two months of growth, the thyme appears to be the least robust of the bunch, but still has a good yield. It's in a back corner spot.
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154 of 166 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Here is the scoop...., November 16, 2013
This review is from: Miracle-Gro AeroGarden 7-Pod Indoor Garden with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit, Black (Lawn & Patio)
Here is the scoop...I am an experienced horticulturist . I actually love the aerogarden as a curiosity, but despite the ease of use and general labor free operation, it has limitations.
1. I have had several versions - the water pump variety , which proves unreliable for many, and the air stone variety, which has worked well form me , though can become noisy. Air pumps use a diaphragm that can become stiff causing noise. In aquarium pumps, this is easily replaced in stand alone pumps. With the aerogarden it is not possible. Strike one.
2. Water Pump versions prove prone to failure as well. In standalone aquarium pumps this is something you can replace for 15$ or less. Not so easy with aerogarden. .Strike 2.
3. The cost of the replacement seed pods, supplies and bulbs is how they make their money. .30 worth of seeds and supplies are sold for $17. Single use. Strike three. There is no reason you need to pay for these. You can reuse the baskets, clean them after use, put a sponge available from a garden supply or hydroponic store in the basket and make a collar out of tin foil to replace the cardboard on top of the original. Plant your own seeds in the center. There is no reason to pay outrageous amounts of money for the fertilizer either. Buy any 20-20-20 for herbs and lettuce, 5-10-5 for tomatoes, flowers and peppers. Replace this every week or so with a water change..it is a delightful little garden that does work well most of the time, I would invest only in the 3 bulb version, as the 2 bulb may not provide enough light for some plants.
Growing a few tomatoes will cost you $30-40 dollars if you don't do this yourself , so don't think you are going to become self sufficient with this. Basil and herbs are a bit more bang for your buck, as small packages cost 3-5$ in the city. Seeds are readily available for herbs and flowers on line, try ebay for selections as well. Cherry tomatoes are a good choice too.
I love my aerogarden and have to say, if it was modular and you could replace parts easier ( I think the water pump is available now)but the air pump versions are hard wired to the board internally and can't be replaced or accessed to replace the diaphragm etc.) I would give it 5 stars.
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92 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool gadget - one caveat, October 10, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Miracle-Gro AeroGarden 7-Pod Indoor Garden with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit, Black (Lawn & Patio)
This is one of these more useful kitchen gadgets. Every time I need fresh herbs for a recipe, I end up buying one of those expensive packs, use one or two twigs, and end up tossing the rest, and everytime it irks me. So this looks like it solves that problem, and do so without becoming this huge time sink that a full-blown herb garden would do.

One can argue that for $149 for the unit, and $20 for extra seed kits, I can buy a lot of herb packs at the grocery store before breaking even. True, but it makes it less painful to use fresh herbs or garnish your dish with a single salad leaf.

The one caveat I would put on it: you can't really mix and match the seed kits. The settings on the unit, and the nutrient tablets are optimized for each seed type. First I thought, I'd use 2-3 salad pods, a few of the herbs, some basil, and then some fresh tomatoes in the two units I bought. Well, that doesn't work (or at least I don't know what the results would be - but it's clear from the package that the nutrient tablets have different ingredients, and the water pump runs all the time for salad, when it only cycles on/off for other seeds). So I'd have to get 4 of those - that's a lot of money and a lot of space in the kitchen. So I guess I'll sequence which seeds I grow every 6 months and stay with 2.

The base unit always comes with the salad green seeds. Looks like they're the ones sprouting the fastes (within 2-3 days) - they must be hedging their bet against impatient and skeptical customers.
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It actually does work...., June 4, 2008
This review is from: Miracle-Gro AeroGarden 7-Pod Indoor Garden with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit, Black (Lawn & Patio)
I purchased the AeroGarden and set it up back in Febuary of 08' and just now the herb seed kit I used is finally at an end. It's already June! So, when they say you should expect four months of produce, I would say that is very accurate. Here are some main points about the product:

* It is very easy to set up. Requires no tools, very minimal effort, everything fits together or snaps into place. You plug it in and it's ready to go.

*The "light" stays on for 16 hours on the herb setting (there are different settings for different seed kits). When you set it up make sure that you plug it in according to when you would like to it to come on and turn off. I had mine running from about 6:45pm to 11:45am the next day. Makes a nice night-light too!

*If the power goes out, or if you move it, it will automatically restart the growing schedule it was on.

*Make sure to pay ATTENTION to the directions that come with the seed packs. They suggest you place the herbs in a certain order so that they will all have the correct amount of light and water. Don't just place them where you want them, they won't all grow properly if you do. Also, do not remove the plastic covers on the seed packs until the plant inside has reached the top of the cover!!

*As the plants get bigger (and they will!) they will require you to add water much more often so be mindful and check to make sure the water level light isn't blinking daily.

*It doesn't say this in the booklet, at least anywhere that I can find anyway but if you are growing herbs, cut them frequently when its time to harvest because this encourages them to continue to produce. Parsley, cilantro, dill and chives grow much better when harvested frequently.

*Be prepared! This product does work. I have basil coming out of my ears! You have to make sure that as the plants start to get taller you try and keep them away from the grow lights in the top of the unit. It tends to scorch them if they are too close to the light, so try getting them to grow out a little. Even the highest setting (meaning as far as it will go above the plants) sometimes isn't enough, they will keep on going!

Overall, I have been very pleased with this product. The herbs are very handy to have around, esp during the winter when you can't garden outside. The unit is not heavy or bulky, I was actually rather suprised. It doesn't take up much space, however, I have a very large amount of counter space and I opted to put the AeroGarden on an iron plant stand by the sliding door. It's out of the way and gets the extra light from the window as well. I don't have anything bad to say about it this far. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS and it will work for anyone. You do not need any sort of green thumb to run this thing. ;-)
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121 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Little Rainforest in my Kitchen, April 12, 2007
By 
Susan Avallon (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Miracle-Gro AeroGarden 7-Pod Indoor Garden with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit, Black (Lawn & Patio)
Well, I have five of these gardens now, so obviously this is a product I've been very happy with. I started out with tomatoes and salad greens, and the salad greens were so tasty I added a second garden of those and two strawberry gardens (the second one is on order).

I have had no trouble with the pumps or noise, and everything has grown beautifully. With five gardens going at once, it's so bright in that area of my kitchen that it looks like a UFO landing site, LOL, but they are all scheduled to go off at 11 p.m. so it's no problem at night when we're sleeping.

These gardens are so cheerful to have around. They add a nice moisture and a green, fresh smell, and I find the lights cheerful too.

The salad greens grow very quickly and are so tasty that my biggest problem is resisting the urge to constantly pluck off leaves and eat them all day long. That's why I got a second one -- so there would be plenty. With four in my family, one garden did not produce quite enough for us. Our first salad crop also did not grow for very long, only a couple of months, but I think that's just the nature of the plant. The tomatoes took a long time to go to the fruiting stage (13 weeks), but now they are producing two or three ripe tomatoes each day, and they are delicious.

I love having food growing indoors. No bugs, no bird poop, no dirt, and everything can be eaten right off the plant. Tonight over dinner we literally watched our first strawberry turn from white to pink on the end.

No, this is not a particularly economical way to grow food, but it's loads of fun and has been educational and exciting for my kids, who are much more interested in fresh produce than they used to be.

I've had no trouble with either the pumps or the customer service. In fact, everyone at Aerogrow has been very kind and helpful, both over the phone and in e-mail. I hope the company continues to thrive because I just love these little gardens and hope to use them for years.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ANYTHING BUT CHILI PEPPERS!, February 16, 2007
This review is from: Miracle-Gro AeroGarden 7-Pod Indoor Garden with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit, Black (Lawn & Patio)
We sell this item at the store where I work, and I am the person who keeps it running, takes care of it, and makes it look good. That being said, I would recommend this item- just not for the chili peppers. We had no problems whatsoever with any of the seed packs until we grew the chilis. For some reason (maybe due to the length of growing time and strength needed in the the tap root), the root system just gets massive and ends up winding itself into the pump hardware. There are some "safety precautions" that the aerogarden has that usually prevents this (a specifically placed filter sponge and a tight seal leading towards the 'fan' blades), but this did nothing to stop the chili pepper takeover.

I spent almost an hour on the phone (on hold) during their open hours, waiting for a representative to ask for advice about the garden. I finally just left a message (because that option pops up about every three minutes), and they never called us back. I just decided to attempt to fix it myself. After taking apart the whole thing, and putting it back together root-free, it still makes grinding noises and hopefully the company that these come from will be able to help with a replacement.
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78 of 86 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Kitchen Accessory, May 3, 2007
This review is from: Miracle-Gro AeroGarden 7-Pod Indoor Garden with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit, Black (Lawn & Patio)
I received this as a gift; I was a little skeptical at first of the concept, but quickly got over it as I started to set it up and use it. I've now had it operational for 6 months and my opinions have pretty much solidified.

I want to end this review on a positive note, so I'll start with the two cons I have. First, its really bright. This might sound like a no-brainer, but is certainly something to consider as it has the harsh-white lights on for up to 16 hours a day. Lastly, you have to put in fertilizer tabs every two weeks, but they don't really give you enough to last through the life of the plants; you have enough for the first three months and if you want to "extend your growing season", you can purchase additional three month supply packs from their web site.

On the positive side, it really couldn't be easier to setup, grow, and maintain the plants. Takes less than 20 minutes to setup, and then just a few minutes every couple of days to maintain. Once the herbs are grown enough for casual harvest, you just snip and use. The plants are healthy and flavorful. Although you can use their seed packs, they also recently added a "Masters" kit that gives you a years worth of setups and fertilizer so you can grow your own seeds. All in all, a nice addition to a kitchen for either using fresh herbs when needed, or drying for later.
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56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One lemon, one working, June 10, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Miracle-Gro AeroGarden 7-Pod Indoor Garden with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit, Black (Lawn & Patio)
Well, I have two - one at work and one at my father's. The one at work is in my cube and not a day goes by when people don;t comment on how well the (herbs, peppers, salad) are going. No trouble with bugs on the aerogarden, had some on other plants in the office taken care of with bug spray. When I thinned out the peppers I planted the excess in pots - while I am harvesting peppers now from the aerogarden, the pepper plants in pots are only a couple of inches high and a long way away from harvest.

However - the one at my father's died during the second planting.

Built my own for *much* less - Pump $10, Hoses $2, hydroponic media $3, nutrients $20 (but enough for many cycles), base was a used aquarium, and I custom cut a top for it. Lighting provided by a couple of all spectrum flourscents @$6 each with a longer life than the ones provided by Aerogarden in a $10 shop light kit lined with foil. Doesn't look as nice but works just as well and you can watch the roots.
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