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Read the ManualEdit
We know this is a very basic tip, but believe it or not, it is one that most people ignore. If you do not read the manual, you will not know how to set the AeroGarden lights to go on (or off) when you want them too. You will not know how to super-charge your garden using the 24-hour light cycle (only available on some AeroGardens), you will not know how to maintain your AeroGarden so that it doesn’t stop working, and you will not know when the proper time is to use the AeroGarden Seed Kit Nutrients.
There is a ton of information that is extremely simplified (with pictures) in the AeroGarden Quick Start Guide and the AeroGarden Seed Kit tending and harvesting guides. Reading the AeroGarden Training guides are a great way to get a great start with your AeroGarden!
Set your light timer to turn off at night!Edit
For most Aerogarden seed kits this tip doesn’t necessarily change anything, but for anything that has blossoms or fruit (Flowers, tomatoes, chili peppers, peas etc) this tip can make a big differences in the succes of your AeroGarden harvest.
Why? Although the AeroGarden automatically turns the lights on and off for the correct amounts of time…the aerogarden doesn’t set the light cycles to correspond with the natural cyles of daylight and night. You would think this it is a big deal to have the AeroGarden lights on at night, and might think it will grow better because it will have artificial light all night long, then have natural daylight during the day. This is great for greens and herbs, but this is not the natural way plants interact with light. By giving your plants too much light, it can actually be counter productive.
Some plants, such as flowers, tomatoes, and other blossoming plants requires a period of darkness each day in order to produce blossoms and flowed with will turn into fruit. If your AeroGarden lights are constantly on, or do not allow for a period of darkness, you may not get your aerogerden to produce any blossoms or fruit at all.
Luckily the AeroGardens have a built in light timer that can be programmed to turn of at anytime day or night. This allows the plants in your AeroGarden to get the proper amount of “rest” from light, and they will have the energy they need to produce blossoms. Think about it, would you be able to produce good results at your job if you were never allowed to sleep? Probably not – plants need rest too… Each AeroGarden is different, so consult your AeroGarden manual
Don’t Trust the Water Level IndicatorEdit
In order to have a thriving and healthy AeroGarden, you need to have the correct amount of water in your AeroGarden. If the water level gets too low, your plants will suffer. One of the things we have learned in our several years of AeroGardening, is this: DO NOT TRUST THE WATER LEVEL INDICATORS!
When we first started using the AeroGardens we would wait to refill the water until the indicator told us to…Little did we know that the indicators sometimes malfuntioned, and would not tell us when our AeroGardens needed more water. On some of the AeroGarden models, the water level indicators are actually based on a timer, not a physical water level measurement. We have found that it is important to contstantly check the water level regardless of whether or not the add water indicator is on, especially if you live in warmer climates. Making sure that the water level is always where it needs to be is necessary if you want your AeroGarden to thrive.
Keep Your AeroGarden CleanEdit
Just because the AeroGarden doesn’t use dirt, doesn’t mean it doesn’t get dirty…especially if you are using the nutrient tablets that came with your AeroGarden or AeroGarden Seed Kit. Once you plant your AeroGarden, you will be on your way to the easiest, lowest maintenance garden ever; and with a little tidy housekeeping you can keep it that way.
As your AeroGarden grows, it will leave residue from evaporated nutrients, mineral deposits, plant pieces, bugs (heaven forbid!) etc. Here are a few tips to keep your AeroGarden clean and running properly.
Make sure you change your water every few weeks – if you don’t, (and you are using nutrient tablets), you may end up with mineral deposits gathering inside the AeroGarden, and inside the AeroGarden pump components – which can lead to pump failure.
Wipe down the top of your AeroGarden (where the seed pods sit) every week or so. This will prevent dust and other grime from building up on the surface, and eventually getting into and on your plants.
Clean off any dead plant leaves or fall off. Once plant debri gets on your AeroGarden, if it is not removed, it will really stick to the surface, and can stain your AeroGarden and take some serious scrubbing to remove.
So make sure that you keep your AeroGarden clean, and not only will it look good, it will keep performing for years to come.
Trim your AeroGarden RootsEdit
One of the best ways that you can keep your AeroGarden clean is by following this tip: TRIM YOUR AEROGARDEN ROOTS!
One of the problems a lot of AeroGarden users have (but don’t necessarily know about) is that inside the well of their beautifully manicured AeroGarden surface, the roots are growing just as rapidly as the rest of the plants – which is a potentially ‘deadly’ AeroGarden problem.
Why Trim your AeroGardens Roots?Edit
When you don’t trim your AeroGarden roots, they can grow too large, and cause major problems. Have you ever heard of a tree root growing into the pipes of a home, or seen a small tree, grow into the crevice of a rock and split it apart? Well, the same principal applies to the roots in your AeroGarden.
As they grow, the tiny little roots can easily find their way into small, but important parts of your AeroGarden – like the pump! When these roots get bigger they can actually stop (and break) your pump – which will temporarily break your AeroGarden until you can find a replacement pump.
Here is how you do itEdit
We recommend trimming your AeroGarden roots for the first time after about 4 weeks. This gives your plants plenty of time to establish a healthy and stable root system. When you trim your roots for the first time, simply raise the AeroGarden lamp hood, and lift up the front flap on the water reservoir. With the flap up, lift up the top lid of your AeroGarden (which holds the seed pods and plants) and completely remove it from the AeroGarden – being careful not to damage your existing plants. With the plants removed, trim the roots. Be careful not to trim them back too far. Just trim them back far enough so they will not interfere with the parts of your AeroGarden.
Why should you trim your AeroGarden roots?Edit
Trimming your AeroGarden roots will not only allow your plants to thrive and be healthy, it will also allow your AeroGarden to continue functioning properly for years to come. So don’t be afraid to trim your roots!
Trim your AeroGarden's plantsEdit
One of the most important things your can do when your AeroGarden is just starting is to trim your plants. There are far too many types of plants that you can grow in your Aerogarden to discuss them all here…so we will only give you a few basic pointers that apply to most all plants. We highly recommend you follow the trimming instructions in the guide included in your AeroGarden Seed Kits. Here are some basic trimming principles you can use:
How to trim your aerogarden plantsEdit
NEVER trim more than 1/3 of your plants at one time.
Once you trim, give them some time to continue growing and regenerate
If the plants would normally grow too tall for the AeroGarden, you can ‘train’ the plants to grow out instead of up by cutting the top of the plant off, above the 5th stem. This will encourage the plant to grow and fill out sideways rather than up.
Why should you trim your AeroGarden's plants often?Edit
By trimming your plants often, you will encourage them to produce more, and your plants will be healthier and more productive. Don’t be afraid to trim your plants, but don’t trim them too much. Think of it like a haircut for your plants – you wouldn’t want to take too much off the top would you?
How to Store Your AeroGarden HerbsEdit
One of the biggest problems we have, is one of overabundance! One of our favorite AeroGarden Seed Kits is the International Basil Seed Kit. We’ll talk more about this fabulous kit in another post. Basil is one of the plants that produces rapidly in the AeroGarden, as a result, it is often hard to use everything it produces when we trim our plants.
Rather than let the herbs go to waste, we store them and use them later for recipes like Pesto & Spaghetti sauce. There are 2 different ways to store your AeroGarden herbs:
- You can store them in the refrigerator for use in the near future or…
- You can store them in the freezer, and use them whenever you need them.
- Here are some tips on how to store your herbs from the two methods above:
Storing your AeroGarden herbs in the fridgeEdit
When you store your herbs in the fridge, you’d better plan on using them in the immediate future – otherwise they will spoil. Herbs stored in the fridge without any special treatment will last about 5-6 days before they begin to lose flavor and wilt.
A lot of herbs can exist wrapped in a plastic bag with the stems visible out of the bottom, use a rubber band to seal the bag against the stems. Also some herbs tolerate having a small water bath set at the bottom for the cut stems. Using one of the green bags or Blueapple storage systems can extend the life of your herbs as well.
Storing your AeroGarden herbs in the freezerEdit
If you’re going to store your AeroGarden herbs in the freezer, probably the best way to do it is the following:
- Blanch your herbs first with scalding water for a few seconds.
- Chop them up and put them into an ice-cube tray and fill with water
- Place in freezer
- When your herbs are frozen, remove the “herb cubes” from the tray and put into a ziploc or vacuum sealed bag.
- Store in freezer until needed.
If you don’t want to deal with the mess of storing your herbs in ice, then after blanching, simply put your herbs into a vacuum bag (Foodsaver type) and seal them up and freeze them. The won’t retain their color, but the flavor will still be there when you need it!
Use Proper Supports for Higher AeroGarden YieldsEdit
When you grow certain plants in a regular garden, such as tomatoes, peas, beans, even some flowers, it is important that you support them for a few reasons.
Perhaps the most important reason to support your plants is to prevent them from ‘crushing’ themselves under the weight of heavy fruit or produce. Tomatoes for example, produce heavy fruit, and if the plant’s branches are not supported, the weight of the fruit can actually break the branches and kill the plants.
Supporting your plant also allows sunlight to reach more of the plants, and allows air to circulate through them, which helps with growth and pollination.
How can you support your AeroGarden plants?Edit
Although the plants you will grow in your AeroGarden will be smaller varieties than ones you might grow in your outdoor garden, they will still need to be supported if they produce heavy fruit (such as tomatoes, peppers, etc).
There are several options available for supporting your AeroGarden plants:
- Plant “Soft-ties”
- Homeade trellis system.
Let’s go through each of these options.
Plant soft-ties and your AeroGardenEdit
Plant soft-ties consist of a flexible wire, coated with a soft foam. Although these can work well in outdoor gardens, when an existing trellis is already in place, they do not work well in the AeroGarden – as there is nothing you can tie them too. You can create a spiral with the wire, and place it around the seedlings to help support them, but once your plants get larger, the plant soft-ties are inneffective.
Home made AeroGarden trellis systemEdit
There are lots of ways that you can create your own trellis system for the AeroGarden, so we will not be discussing this in detail.
I would use a chicken wire for the aerogarden plant that would grow taller and wider. I suggest chicken wire because it is flexable and easy to cut and maintain.
Measure how high the aerogarden plant is such as tomato plants and then measure the diameter of the plant. Roll the chicken wire around the plant and use thin wire ties to attach the ends together. Making sure the plant is supported but not crowded within the chicken wire.
Hardware stores carry chicken wire and other easy to shape wire that would work well with aerogarden plants.