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AeroGarden 903124-1100, Platinum Bounty Elite WiFi
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- Garden year-round. Grow fresh herbs, vegetables, salad greens, flowers and more in this smart countertop garden. And with a beautiful, platinum stainless steel finish, it will look great on your countertop
- Wi-Fi enabled - manage all AeroGarden features from setup through harvest using your smart device. Receive helpful reminders to add water and nutrients, and easily access insightful tips and one-touch customer support to help you get the most from your AeroGarden
- Up to 9 plants can be grown at a time. Plants grow in water…not soil. Advanced hydroponics made simple
- High-performance, full spectrum 45-watt LED lighting system is tuned to the specific spectrum that allows plants to maximize photosynthesis, resulting in rapid, natural growth and abundant harvests
- Includes 9-Pod Gourmet Herb Seed Kit that contains: Genovese Basil (x2), Thai Basil, Curly Parsley, Italian Parsley, Thyme, Chives, Dill, Mint & 3 oz. patented nutrients (enough for a full season of growth)
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Imagine fresh herbs and vegetables grown in your home, year-round. With the Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Bounty Elite Wi-Fi you can grow fresh herbs, vegetables, salad greens, flowers and more! This smart countertop garden uses water and patented nutrients to naturally grow plants… no herbicides, no pesticides, non-GMO. It’s natural goodness right at your fingertips. And with a beautiful, platinum stainless steel finish, it will look great on your countertop.
AeroGardens are the world’s leading indoor gardening systems. The AeroGarden Bounty Elite Wi-Fi grows more, faster than any AeroGarden to date. You can grow up to 9 plants in this garden and they’ll love the 45-watts of high performance, energy efficient LED lighting. The LED lights are tuned to the specific spectrum that allows plants to maximize photosynthesis, resulting in rapid, natural growth and abundant harvests. The LED lights concentrate daylight white LEDs for fast growth, blue LEDs for bigger yields, and red LEDs for more flowers and fruit. With ideal lighting and optimally balanced levels of water and nutrients, plants grow up to 5 times faster than when grown in soil.
The Bounty Elite Wi-Fi comes with a free AeroGarden App that utilizes the advantages of your smart device to provide simple prompts that guide you from setup to harvest. The AeroGarden App creates optimal conditions for your plants by automatically turning the lights on and off and sending you friendly alerts that remind you when to add water and nutrients. To help you grow healthier and more abundant gardens, it provides you with answers to FAQs, helpful gardening tips and one-touch access to expert AeroGarden Customer Service specialists. You can also easily connect to AeroGarden communities on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and more.
The AeroGarden Bounty Elite Wi-Fi sets up in minutes without tools. Just insert the Seed Pods in your garden, add water and nutrients, and then watch it grow! Everything you need to start growing is included.
Top reviews from the United States
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The beauty of the AeroGarden is that it can be kept on a countertop and convenient for harvest. On the WIFI version of the AeroGarden, you can download an app on your phone to control it, but, as yet, I haven’t found a use for the app as the digital display on the unit provides all of the necessary controls.
To-date, I have planted the seed pod kits for lettuce, the smoothie kit, the herb kit and the Mighty Might tomatoes with the following results.
1. The lettuce variety – This was the best of the seed kits I tried. A couple of the lettuce varieties germinated much slower than the others and were shaded too much to grow. Of the 9 seed pods, I lost 2 to slow growth. All the other varieties grew very well. Initially, I was harvesting leaves of each plant, but later found that the “haircut” method worked better to keep the lights low enough to promote growth of the shorter plants. For future plantings, I will try the “haircut” method to see if more usable lettuce is produced. At any rate, for a family of 3 we have had numerous salads from one planting of lettuce. I do add other greens that I grow in soil, so the lettuce produced in the AeroGarden is a small part of the greens in our salads.
2. The smoothie kit was a total bust. This kit includes kale, beet greens, and mustard greens. Of the three beet greens, only 1 germinated. The other two were replaced, but only one of the replacements germinated. The one that germinated died off by the time it was 1” tall. The leaves of the remaining beet greens have died off before the got big enough to use. The mustard greens went to seed by the time they were 4” tall, so nothing was usable. At 5”, the kale plants started turning to red, then brown, and dried up. One of the plants rotted at the stem and fell on the floor. Even the young kale leaves were tough and leathery. So, none of this kale was usable. (See update for cause and resolution.)
3. The herb kit that comes with most of the AeroGardens does produce some nice herbs, but the growth of some herbs included quickly shades the smaller varieties. The parsleys and dill do very well, but the kits including thyme, basil, chives, and mint that were quickly shaded because of their low growth habit. I have also found that other than the parsleys and dill, there is not enough produced to be usable.
4. The Mighty Mite tomatoes are a determinate plant meaning that all of the tomatoes are produced at one time rather than spaced over a longer period of time. This variety of tomato is very tart and if not picked at the peak of development becomes mushy. After I planted these tomatoes and they germinated, rather than cut them of as suggested, I pulled all but one plant from each seed pod and transplanted the seedlings in soil. All but one of the 19 seedlings survived, and the tomatoes produced in soil have averaged much larger than the ones in the AeroGarden. I have since called AeroGarden and suggested a different variety of small bush tomatoes they should try that is a stronger bush with sweeter tomatoes.
Setup of this AeroGarden is so easy, and once started, the AeroGarden will let you know when to add nutrients and water, although plant growth is better if you keep the water level up. If the electricity goes off, the AeroGarden will ask you whether the electricity when off or you want to start a new garden. If you select the electricity went off, all of the settings are saved but you need to enter the current time. You don't have to be a botanist or knowledgeable about growing plants to use these gardens. They tell you when to add water and the supplied nutrients. You don't have to worry about produce spoiling before you use it as it is fresh when you are ready to harvest. If you choose to grow lettuce for salads, it just keeps growing as you harvest. This method is so much easier and cleaner than growing in soil as you don't have to worry about over or under watering.
Although the initial cost of the AeroGardens and pods are on the high side as compared to buying the veggies and herbs in store, I like that I can harvest them as I need them. I can't tell you how many times my husband as bought fresh herbs or lettuce that most or all was moldy by the time I wanted to use them. I know it may take a while to reach a break even point, but I am totally enjoying harvesting fresh lettuce for salads and fresh herbs when I need them in recipes. I don't think of growing veggies and herbs in the AeroGardens so much as a financial savings, but the convenience of harvesting fresh produce as I need it and knowing how it was grown.
I have included a few pictures of my AeroGardens as well as pictures of my shelves that I grow veggies under lights. I do like the AeroGardens for growing some things, but also prefer growing under lights when I want quantity. More recently, I have tried growing watercress in the AeroGarden and this seems to be working so far as watercress is a semi-aquatic plant.
Whether you have one of these AeroGardens or not, I want to share one point of maintenance and possible reason for growing problems that is not documented by AeroGarden. In cleaning this AeroGarden for the next planting, I found that roots from the previous planting had grown into the top of the AeroGarden preventing the water circulation in most of the pod holders. I got as much of the roots out of the spouts that I could, but still water was not flowing from 4 of the water spouts. After wasting an entire evening trying to clear out the roots in the water circulation system, my husband found a post in a blog that told how to get the roots out of the system. On the underside of the planting deck there are 6 tabs - one on each end and two on the front and back. By pushing each of these tabs to the outside, the top of the deck is released and the roots can be easily removed from the watering system. In my opinion, this is something that AeroGarden should include in their maintenance instructions. This problem is also the reason that I lost most of the plantings in that AeroGarden. Some of the plants weren't getting enough water, so they they dried up and died. On the new AeroGardens, I also don't like that you can't see the water level except for what can be seen in the small compartment for adding water. On the older AeroGardens, you could easily see if the water level was up to the gauge in the middle of the water container.
I had to add one more update for the Mighty Mite tomatoes which are shown in the last picture. These tomatoes were started 143 days ago and are still flowering and producing new tomatoes. Although I had initially thought these were a determinant variety, they have proven to be indeterminate as they continue to produce. Honestly, we can't use these tomatoes as fast in salads as they are producing. I may have to harvest them before the spoil and freeze them for use in cooking.
My final post to this review is to explain the benefits and downsides of the unit or any other AeroGarden for that matter. These units are good for the beginner that doesn't have much experience with indoor growing or those that don't have much space to devote to it. Most of the plants provided in the grow kits will grow fine initially, but the AeroGardens don't provide the space they need for mature growth. These units are good for starting plants that you plan to move to pots or gardens as they get larger, but you must provide the specific plant what it needs until it grows roots suited to soil. Vegetables such as tomatoes or green peppers can be started in an AeroGarden, but the vegetables produced will not be of the quality that you can grow in soil and a larger space. The same holds true for most of the herbs such as basil, chives, thyme, etc. In order for most of these to be useful, they must be large plants that could not be grown in the space of an AeroGarden. The tomatoes I grew in the AeroGarden were very small and tart. The same plants move to flats in soil produced tomatoes that were well over 3 times larger and sweet. About the only thing you can grow in an AeroGarden that remains productive and grows successfully is some varieties of lettuce. Other than some lettuces, most plants will need to be transplanted to soils for successful growing. The last picture is of a tomato plant I transplanted from the AeroGarden into soil and grew it under plant lights. Not only is the plant much larger, but the tomatoes are as well. The tomatoes grown in soil are sweet as the ones grown in the AeroGarden are tart.
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About me: I have had some success with tomatoes and lettuce in the summer growing outside. I'd say I'm pretty mediocre, but I can do ok when placed in a nice sunny location. But virtually any indoor plant is dead within a month, maybe 2 at the most. It doesn't matter if it is watered well, if it is near a window, etc. I just cannot have any plant inside alive for more than a month. It's really sad, because I'd love to have some plants inside. So, I'm hoping that the Aergarden Ultra LED might help here.
I'm starting my review at 3 stars, and will update up or down after I finish my first crop (the mixed herb that comes with it). The initial part is the quality of construction and kit, along with the first 5 days. The running every 2 weeks updates follow.
First thing to know is that the price varies drastically. And you're almost always better off buying it here or through Costco instead of the aerogarden website. The Ultra goes from $159 - $259. I wouldn't buy it over $200, and was going to get the Extra LED until I saw the Ultra for $159 and got it then. The Extra LED and Ultra LED are identical except for a tomato/larger plant extra piece, and the digital control panel. It has the same body, extends the same, uses the same LED bulbs, etc. If the cost is within $20 and you plan on growing tomatoes, the Ultra LED is a better choice. If you just want herbs and leafy greens, opt for the Extra LED.
- The garden looks good. I have a very picky lady, who doesn't like anything that doesn't look great exposed, and she said this item could probably live in the kitchen. That's high praise - seriously.
- The construction of the LED panel (the hood and LED are all virtually 1 piece, very solid, attractive. It really is the best quality piece of the Aerogarden Ultra LED.
- Display panel is foolproof. Spells out everything. When it needs water, when it needs food, etc. It adds a clock that no other Aerogarden has, with more customizations and timings. It was extremely simple to set up.
- Installation is a breeze. Really, it'll be like 10 minutes from when you open it, till you have all pods planted.
- "Guaranteed to grow" if yours doesn't they send you a free replacement, free shipping, etc. Even if you purchased here in Amazon. I sent an email to Aerogarden asking them if the warranty applied to products bought through Amazon, and they responded within 2 days.
- Pump is very quiet. Some people complained of being too loud, but during the winter, when the heat system is on, I can't tell at all if it's running. I have to press my ear to the thing to hear it. It's a very low hum. You can occasionally hear the water, as it switches from germination to high growth mode.
- No information as to the cost LED replacements as of right now. It would be nice to know how much you'll have to fork over when they stop working.
- Electricity cost, based on 12 cents a day (average) comes to around $2 - $2.50 a month, depending on your area. I'd recommend having it on at nights, since that is typically off-peak hours, and run a little less. But you have to see what are the peak vs off-peak electric rates in your area, and some plants (like tomatoes) require a period of darkness a day to pollinate, while leafy greens and herbs do not.
- A lot of reviewers were surprised as to how much water it takes... I am surprised by their surprise. The 1 page instructions clearly say 1.1 gallons, and it's repeated in a couple of places. So yeah, it takes a little over a gallon of water. The mouth to poor water and nutrients is large enough, that you can pour straight from a regular gallon of water without issues.
- The rest of the Aerogarden, though looking good, is fairly cheaply made. The plastic is flimsy, the pump small and looks cheap too, the control panel is ok, but the buttons are a bit clunky. Basically, you have a premium lid with LEDs and a subpar rest. Making you feel like you paid way too much for a bucket and a cheap pump to go along with the LED light.
- The control panel on the Ultra is SUPER bright, always on, and no way to turn it off. For this reason, I'd recommend just getting the Extra LED. It's that bright, and extra unnecessary energy usage. It really doesn't provide much value, the "tips" it shows is stuff like: "you should expect to see seedlings now" and stuff like that, that you can see on the seed packets, nothing really that helpful. A way to adjust brightness or to turn it off until there is a notification would solve this issue, but as of right now, I have heard some people add a dark film coating to reduce it.
Each kit (about $14-17) for the 7 pod kits, is quite high.
You can see how the cost starts to add up.
Initial investment + energy cost + seed kit cost + water (they suggest distilled) + future cost of LED replacement. My guess is that it'll be around $80-$100 for the hood replacement (again this information is not available anywhere as of 12/31/2014)
Given the cost of each kit, I expected a little more out of then. So you have to go read online to supplement the missing information. Like it says tall plants on the back and short ones up front. Well, some of the seeds lacked this bit of information. Fortunately, it's easy enough to find online.
I am going to try re-using all the pieces except the sponge (which the roots of your plants take over, and cannot reuse) and try just buying a pack of grow sponges, which run $15 for a 50 pack - this is the Aerogarden brand ones. You can buy/make your own, but for about 30 cents a sponge, I rather get the real thing rather than try to cut adjust and create one that fit. Then use seeds you can buy anywhere to give it a shot.
Quick tips (not included with instructions):
- Wash the base. Sometimes during manufacturing stuff is left behind. The instructions just say open and add water. I rinsed it out and there was black dust coming out. So wash the thing before planting.
- Read up on plant sizes and planting tips. Some seeds like the dome, other do not. The basic instructions do not specify this at all. They are all very generic. Not all seeds grow the same.
- Electricity, try to use it more often during off peak hours, it's not much, but you can save a tiny bit without putting any effort.
As for the Running diary - I will update every 2 weeks for the next 4 months which is what they say a typical life cycle is of the herb seed kit.
- There is visible moisture in 4 of the domes. I could not find information anywhere online if this is common, or what effect it has on the seedling. I'm thinking it's nothing to worry about, but given my bad luck with plants, I hope this doesn't mean mold is going to strike soon. (UPDATE: I've learned since then that moisture in domes is normal, and expected, and that a little mold on the sponge/seedling is nothing to worry about, unless it gets too out of hand. It usually dies out when seedling starts to grow. I had a little mold showing up on the cilantro, but when the sprout took off it disappeared)
- None of the seeds have sprouted (I didn't expect them too, but some reviews have claimed to see sprouts very early). In some pods the seeds are visible, in other pods I see nothing but sponge. (Again, read online that this is normal due to differences in seed sizes) Most of the pods say within 7-21 days to see sprouts. So my next update I most if not all the 7 pods to have sprouted.
- Impressed by how quiet the pump is.
The goal going forward is to update the 5th and 20th of each month.
Day 7th (January 5th update)
- I wasn't planning on updating until the 20th, (the tail end of he germination period for the herb seeds) however, there has been enough happening that I decided to update.
- Dill grew crazy tall and I had to remove the dome. For what it's worth, it's the closest seed to where the nutrient/water compartment is - front right. There are currently 3 seeds sprouting from it, the very tall one, and 2 other smaller ones.
- Both basil plants were the first to show up, they look to be growing bushy (awesome) instead of lanky upwards, so they are not yet touching the dome, but have at least 2 pairs of leaves, others 3. They both have about 3 seeds sprouting each.
- Chives have 3 sprouted seeds, but they don't look good, not sure they are going to make it. They have no leaves, and are not reaching towards light, they are kind of half falling sideways inside.
- Mint has 1 very tiny sprout (with leaves) at the bottom, but it's not even visible unless you stare into the hole.
- Parsley is showing no life at all, I can't even spot a seed anywhere, let alone any signs of life.
- Cilantro has 3 very visible very large seeds. However, there is no sign of any sprouts, but I see some hint of white - possibly mold.
Day 20ish: (January 19th)
The Aerogarden was on day 22 from planting and I added a video review to show all the plants. Basically since then all the plants have sprouted. The initial mold went away when sprouts started growing and most plants have grown fairly well.
- The dill is ridiculous, I have more dill now than all other 6 combined - including basil - and it keeps falling over because it cannot support its own weight. I have to shift it occasionally so it doesn't cover the smaller plants. I am about to start pruning it a little.
- The chives have also grown very tall and are touching the light.
- Mint and parsley are the only ones looking very underwhelming. The mint worries me a little because despite it's small size, the leaves are turning brown/drying up. Parsley looks very small and not many sprouts, but at least it looks healthy.
- Both basil plants are doing well. The normal basil doesn't have many sprouts though, so not sure how much ill be able to harvest.
- Cilantro is started to come out strong as of late
The only thing I should add is that I've added water various times myself. The system hasn't really said it was low on water, but opening the compartment showed it seemed low, so about a couple of times a week I just top it off. Not sure it makes any difference though.
At this point I'm leaning towards bumping the review to 4 stars, but I'm going to wait until I start harvesting it a little and how the rest of the plants do.
Day 35ish: (February 7)
- So all the plants were coming up, I've been harvesting most of them. The Parsley is the weakest link, just not many leaves in the 3 sprouts. It did grow tall, but it just doesn't have any leaves, so this has been the exception.
- The thai basil and the dill are clearly the bosses in there. Between the two of them I have harvested pretty much every day a few leaves of each. Delicious basil and mozzarella sandwiches with some dill as well. The thai basil isn't quite as flavorful as the normal basil, but you can still clearly taste the basil.
- The mint is tall, and has plenty of leaves.
- Overall as mentioned, it's looking good. I have resisted moving the lights up, pruning and pruning as recommended in the instructions. That is clearly the way to go as it keeps getting very thick. The regular basil is getting a bit squeezed since it sits between the dill and thai basil which have crazy growth. So it's not getting enough light, no matter how much I prune around it.
- The biggest challenge I have seen is precisely the fast growers keep light away from the others. You can prune, but since I don't use parsley much, I didn't feel like cutting up a whole bunch of basil in order to give it more room for example. I guess as you grow them you can see.
- They have been using about 2-4 cups of water every other day, they get thirsty! And you can tell by the plant growth that it's all being used up.
I am going away for 4 weeks. Left it with friends, with instructions, and hope they survive. I did learn something cool about the ULTRA LED. It stores the settings in some temporary memory or something. I unplugged the machine, and drove it there. Took about an hour or so between it was unplugged and back plugged in. It stored the 42 day setting, but the time was off by that hour or so it was unplugged. But it's good to know if you lose power for a bit, it stores the settings just fine. (When you have to feed it, the days planted, etc). That was cool. If it had failed, I had already read about setting it up with specific days.
- Will be away from plants, won't be able to update this until March 8 unfortunately. As mentioned above, it is at a friends house with instructions. I might ask them to send me an email update around this date to see if they have been enjoying some small harvest and how it's going.
So I finally got back, and the good news is the plants are still alive. The sad news is that they weren't pruned much, and the thai basil simply took over all the light and the smaller plants are barely hanging on and not too happy. Basically the dill and thai basil are tall and thick, the cilantro is hanging on, but the rest have been deprived of light due to the high growth of the thai basil and are either hanging to the side sadly or drying up. Basically, this emphasizes the lesson of: "prune, prune and prune some more - especially the fast growers". Since my favorite plant to eat in this sed kit is basil, this is not the end of the world, and I will sit and try to prune thoroughly in the next few days and see if I can salvage the others a little. The light has been moved up a bit, but not fast enough so some leaves were burnt. Keep in mind the LEDs done get very hot and to burn the leaves they needed to be against the light for several days or a week. Leaves touching the light for 2-3 days don't get burnt. Given that I was away for a month in the midst of a high growth time for the plants, and that they weren't really pruned much (and not sure how often they were watered or fed in time, I am happy with how they are doing.
Day 85 since planted (March 24, 2015):
- The left side plants are on their last legs. The parsley definitely died, It looks like it might have been pruned from the base instead of leaves, and barely has any left.
- The mint is doing ok, but laying on the side. Since I don't have much use for mint and love basil, I have purposely not cut back too much of the basil that would be needed to return light to that area.
- The chives are the same as mint. Doing ok, but just not enough light as the thai basil has really taken over that side. Did I mention I love thai basil? It's just not worth it for me to cut too much of it to give space to the mint and chives to start thriving more. I would have tried for the parsley but there isn't any left there.
- The regular basil is doing well after I pruned the right side of the thai basil enough to give it more light. I have been harvesting it. It does not have nearly as many leaves as the thai basil, but the 3 stems are looking healthy, and growing.
- Both the cilantro and the dill are dying off mysteriously (leaves are getting brown and wilted) I am not sure what's going on to be honest. I have been pruning them with the rest, and were looking ok 10 days ago, but now are dying off, some of the plants from the stem all the way up. I opened up the lid to look at the root system and see if something was going wrong but nothing looks out of the ordinary. There are like a million roots everywhere, but they are looking mostly white, not black or dark green. Not sure what to do here, but this is my first big disappointment in terms of plant growth in the Aerogarden.
- Updated video review so you can see a little more how the plants look. Unfortunately had to delete the previous video to add a new one, just have the option to replace, not add new.
Day 95ish: (April 8, 2015)
- I had to remove completely the parsley, cilantro and previously plentiful dill. They dried out completely. Upon inspection roots were a little more yellow brown than white. Still relatively light colored so I am not sure what the issue was. It's disappointing to say the least.
- both basil plants still doing great. Harvesting them every other day about a cup full worth of it.
- At this point I am comfortable with the 3 star rating.
Day 110ish: (April 20, 2015)
- I moved the mint and chives to where the dill used to be, since the light would hit it more there. As mentioned previously the shade created by th basil seemed to have stunt these guys. I'll report next update to see if that helps at all. The process was not simple and it seems like some of its roots were torn, so we'll see...
- Both basil plants still producing well. Thai basil keeps being the best and tastiest of the herbs. So I am glad that has been the strongest crop.
- Want to comment that the water indicator doesn't work well when crops are big. You can tell its dangerously low when the pump starts being loud - since there is no water to mitigate the noise. Keep that in mind.ninhave found it 100% empty and no indicator had appeared.
- I've read a little about roots. The garden is virtually full with roots and that is likely the cause of the water indicator not working. Some peopl have said you should be trimming the roots much like you harvest/prune the plants. That seems like a lot of effort, but it might be worth it. The reasons cited is better growth and helps protect the pump from damage.
May 5th (Day 125)
- Both Basil plants going strong. In particular the Thai Basil. It has begun sprouting purple flowers, which I promptly cut off. New basil leaves still growing. I have made some delicious walnut+thai basil pesto sauce, and still getting about 2-3 cups per week of basil out of the two plants. The thai basil accounts for 90%+ of it.
- The plants that I moved to get more light have no improved. They haven't deteriorated, but not growing at all. So right now for all intents and purposes, its just 2 basil plants and nothing else.
- I am disappointed in how the plants died, so I am keeping the review at 3 stars. But basil plants seem to really love this aerogarden. In fact, I purchased the international basil kit and the fresh greens (multiple lettuce) kits. I am planning of doing 3 basil and 4 lettuce next time. followed by 3 lettuce and 4 basils the time after that.
- Again, wanted to point out that the water indicator does not work at all with all the root growth in there. At this point every other day you have to use around 3 cups of water. It would need more if all 7 plants are alive. But the Thai basil is huge and probably accounts for at least 2-3 plants by itself.
June 1st, (day 154)
- The thai basil has kept on going strong. I removed all other left over plants because at this point they are not producing much, if anything. I get around 3-4 cups of basil per week with just the thai basil plant. It is the width of the entire light at this point, so it soaks up all the light.
- The nutrients bottle was gone with the last use which was today. So basically, the nutrients are enough for around 5 months worth of feeding. I'll be purchasing some other plant food to keep feeding it for a little while longer.
- Again, the water indicator probably stopped working altogether. It hasn't turned on for months. Even when its 100% empty, and even after I removed all other plants and roots which I thought might be interfering.
June 30, 2015:
- Wanted to update to share some things. The LED lights were the main reason why I got this over the cheaper alternative. Lights were supposed to last 3-5 years according to Aerogarden. However, the ULTRA panel has been popping up with messages stating that the lights need to be replaced and are now at 9% capacity. Honestly, it sounds like it's just based on the 6 month shelf life of the previous non-LED lights and the panel does not really have any way of telling what is the real condition of the lights. That said, it's annoying and a failure for them to not have updated the panel - or worse - that the lights are actually failing after 6 months.
- The water sensor is completely broken. Even if water is completely 100% empty, it won't light up.
- The thai basil plant is doing ok - but I am starting to see it's final days ahead. I still pick up about 2-3 cups per week of basil. And it's mighty delicious for pesto. Since I did buy lettuce and more pesto plants, I am going to attempt to replant this one outside for the summer, so I can start growing the other things and finish the review.
Day 226: (September 15)
- I forced myself to cut down the thai basil. It was still producing about 1-2 cups per week of basil, but the plant was basically a trunk now (80% plus brown stems instead of the fast growing green ones), and it was clearly starting to wayne production. So basically, I kept it for about 8 months, and stopped because I wanted to try the salad greens there.
- It is involved. There are instruction in the aerogarden website, but it's basically using bleach and running the machine a few minutes at a time, then water to clean off the bleach, or if you want organic a solution of half water half white vinegar but it requires like 5 cups of vinegar to do it. I went the vinegar route since I didn't want to risk any bleach staying in the machine and getting to my plants.
- TIP: the top that removes from the base, is actually 2 pieces. It's not very obvious that it can be opened up, but I recommend it highly for cleaning. I was looking at the water flow, and 2 of the little holes were barely dripping any water, I wasn't sure what was up, until I found a video online of someone open that up and cleaning it. (the instructions of cleaning do not mention this part). There were a surprising amounts of roots that had gone up there through minor cracks (not sure how, and were not visible at all without opening this). After cleaning the roots out, the water started flowing well again.
- The base was basically 80% full of roots, they were everywhere. It was a bit of a process to remove and clean them all out. Especially since my thai basil was like a little tree in there.
- Overall, since it was my first time it took me about an hour to clean up. If I had known about the top issue, it would have probably taken 20-25 minutes. But I kept trying different things to get the water flowing.
- You then select to restart the garden and off you go.
Quick note and information about the lettuce greens I planted the second time around:
- They grew super quick, within like 4 weeks I started harvesting a little bit at a time. Sprouting and growing were really off the charts.
- But... I got some aphids (pests) that particularly seem loving of the lettuce. This was a surprise to me (black thumb, inexperienced). I thought there would be no chance of having pests like that in indoor plants. And the Aerogarden website makes reference to that too. One of their bullet points reads: "Soil-free: no mess and no pests". Well, they got in the house somehow. Not sure how. I started reading online and it's actually fairly common. But so far they've proved very hard to deal with, and it's killing a garden that is only 7 weeks in, and I'm bummed about it. I tried sticky tape as recommended by a natural store, that did almost nothing, sure some got stuck there, but plenty more were reproducing. The Aerogarden website, actually has a section on how to deal with pests. I followed their suggestion of a mild pesticidal soap solution. I found one that was organic, and safe for vegetables at home depot. And while it kills them on contact, and there have been plenty pests dying, just as many are popping up. Every time you apply this soap (since plants had already big enough roots that I could not pull them out of the holes) you have to turn off the aerogarden, which resets the nutrient timer and the clock, and setting and resetting the nutrient timer is a pain hidden in many levels, and you have to set it many times manually, then resetting to the normal 14 day interval, then resetting to less days after applying again. Basically, it's very labor intensive, and so far, no luck. If you know of any particular product that you can recommend to get rid of these aphids permanently (white dusts when little, to very light green critters with little legs and what looks like tiny wings, but I haven't seen them fly, so I don't think they are white flies - another common pest for aerogardens). Overall, this has been a disappointing surprise, having to potential deal with pests and lose all your crops in a few weeks makes it a very expensive proposition.
Review of the Panel/Screen found on the Aerogarden ULTRAs . (which is the main difference between Extras and Ultras)
At first I thought it was mostly useless, but I have found a couple of things that might make it worth your while.
The basic pros are:
- Tells you to water now. Its a clear signal, you won't miss it.
- Tells you how many days you have had it planted for
- Tells you how many days till you have to feed it (and obviously when it is time to feed it, it makes it more clear)
The cool pros: (Updated - this is really a mixed bag)
- Light goes off and timers went awry, you don't know when its time to feed and haven't kept track of days planted. No problem, not only does the ultra store that information (you'll just have to adjust the hours) but you can reset the whole thing, and it will spell out everything for you again, when it's time to feed it, etc. I am not sure if the regular Aerogarden or the Extra have a way to recover that information, but I know for a fact the panel on the ULTRA does save the data, and its a breeze to readjust if needed.
UPDATE: Now I know I missed a few feedings because of power failures. I was under the impression that it was keeping the data (it does keep the "days planted" information). But it resets the feeding days to 14 at least most of the time. The last 2 power failures it has done this - it is possible it always did this and I didn't notice. Basically, you have to reset it through the menu options and hope it all works. This is very disappointing.
The neutral stuff:
- The tips are fairly dumb, even for a novice. You might find helpful messages like: "you should prune your plants" or "you should start seeing some seedlings sprout" but really, you are getting virtually nothing from these.
- The blue always on light is SOOO bright. A dimmer would really be appreciated. It's so bright in fact, you can can't call it a night light wherever you leave it. Which I guess can be a good thing for some people that want an extra night light.
- The Panel is plain dumb. It stores the date and will tell you the basics as added. But it does nothing more. It doesn't store or calculate anything. Mine keeps telling me the grow lights need to be replaced, even though we are only 7 months in and they supposedly have a 3-5 year life span. Why? Because it was never updated for the LED lights. It still thinks all lights are fluorescent that needed to be replaced every 6 months. The bigger failure, is that it's completely dishonest and calculatedly so. It used to tell me: "Your lights are 16% effective now", and a few other data, until now it said that my lights were now 0% effective. So basically, it was literally spouting BS based on whatever they had told it to tell people in order to keep them ordering more lights. It has no real knowledge or can calculate in any way the efficacy of your lights. I feel this is a very suspect business practice and tempted to downgrade another star from this item.
- Power loss loses count of the basic feeding times forcing you to go through the menu to reset it. But instead of warning you that there might be a problem (like it does for the time and date), it resets the timer to 14 days till feeding, and if you overlook it, you might miss an important feeding time. I did this once or twice until I realized that this panel had zero smarts built in. It's dumber than virtually all other computers out there today.
1. The light is going to run 17 hours a day for the herb garden so have it somewhere that is away from sleep areas.
2. The water pump circulates water to the pods and there is a trickling water sound associated with that.
3. At the end of the season I rinsed it out and stored it. This caused a problem for second season as roots had infiltrated several areas and needed to be removed.
4. The impeller on the pump was stuck at the start of season 2. I ended up pulling the pump out and giving it a rap with a screwdriver handle while it was plugged in. This got it going. At the end of the season I am going to clean it and spritz it with silicone spray in hopes of avoiding this.
5. Get it running well and only then insert your pods. Make sure the pump is running and each pod location has water running to it. You can adjust the water volume up and down by accessing the pump and using the adjustment on the pump.
Top reviews from other countries
i love these things. after receiving my first one, i quickly bought a 2nd, and am planning to buy more one i get these ones going. they are smaller than i thought they would be from the pics but both fit on top of my fridge so it works out great. setup is as easy as it gets, after simple assembly of sticking lights on a rod, you plug it in, use the touch screen and tell it what seed pack you planted, schedule when you want the lights on/off, add water, stick in the seed pods and done. you can set what time of day you want it to alert you about water levels and nutrients. you can also set it up manually instead of selecting one of the seed pod pack options.
after 20 days or so you can start harvesting basil, most other will sprout in 1 month but not all harvestable then. you're going to need fine tip pruners, and start early and prune often. the basil definitely wants to take over and its huge leaves will shadow the other later sprouting plants. another thing you should pick up is a shiny mylar space blanket and tape it to the lights like a curtain to keep light on the plants. if you want to go all out, pick up a cheap aerator for a fish tank for $12 to keep the water aerated.
im really liking the dill, its great to pick the dill fresh and toss it on some fish. after a month im harvesting basil every 2-3 days, more than $5 worth and more than i need, im giving a lot of it away off just 1 garden. im harvesting the dill every 5 days at the moment. if you buy a lot of fresh herbs, or would if it wasn't so expensive, this thing will produce enough herbs to pay for itself in less than 5 months, at grocery store prices, not including cost of water, power and gardening labour. im really liking them and once i drop the herbs i don't want and get the ones i do, and get the 2nd one set up with cherry tomatoes and the hottest peppers on earth, ill be making my own pesto and salsa fresh as needed.
These grow kits come with seed pods and as in the case with this unit, gourmet seeds for chives, basil, thyme, etc.
To get it going after super easy set-up, you simply add water to the base of the unit, add the nutrients included with the seed pod package to the water, place the seed pods and done!
In 1 to 3 weeks your pods will have sprouted or even sooner I have been told. These units include the LED grow lights, the water circulation pump and easy program screen to guide you through the care of your plants from start to finish.
I didn't give this Aero-Garden five stars for two reasons. 1) Value for the money. The cost for materials to make this kit (plastic) is very low in my opinion, as is the pump (plastic) and LED lights. I believe that because this is more of a "hobby" kit than a kitchen type appliance the high (in my opinion) price tag is more accepted by consumers. 2) Lifespan of the LED lights in this unit is estimated by the seller to be 20,000 hours which may sound like a lot but actually is about 3 years, give or take, of normal use I suppose. I have LED lights for my home with an estimated life of 25 years and LED yard lights with almost a decade of life but the LED lights in this panel are stated to last about 3 years. So, in about 3 years from now a new panel may be needed. I checked the website and as of this date there are no replacement panels of LED grow lights for the grow gardens, which I would expect there to be after the price charged for the kit. I was directed to a statement on the sellers website by another reviewer saying they hope to offer the LED light panels at some point in the future. I sincerely hope so, and did purchase this kit and another based on that promise. I am also hoping VERY HIGHLY that the price of those LED panels will be low to keep the faith of customers past, present and future.
October 2, 2017 Five of the seven pods germinated within 6 days! Chives are up an inch .5.
Dec. 24, 2017 Replacement LED hood light can be obtained by calling Service Department at 1-800-611-9058. I can give this product 4 stars for having the light hood available now.
Aerogarden bills itself as a system so idiot proof, even a Dr. Blackthumb like me can grow stuff in it. Setting it up was simple. If you can operate a Nespresso machine, you'll have no trouble with planting the pods. The LED lights are crazy bright, but they do the trick -- about two weeks in, the herb kit is doing surprisingly well. The seedlings appear to make progress daily, to the extent that I can see the difference each time I come home from work. Some are more sluggish than others (I'm looking at you, mint plant), but that's OK, mine is an equal-opportunities garden. The screen provides timely growing tips and reminders, so I'll only have myself to blame if things go horribly wrong from here.
I'm pleased with my purchase, and now that the herbs are off to a good start, I'm even tempted to get a second Aerogarden for growing tomatoes and peppers. The only thing that's preventing me is the price. Even on sale, these things cost more than they should given the technology that goes into them, which is why I'm giving the product four stars instead of five. If your primary goal is to save money on groceries, this may not be a wise investment. But if you desperately need help sustaining the miracle of plant life, give the Aerogarden a shot.