If you want to give the old-fashioned art of growing vegetables a technological twist, the latest aerogarden is the way to go. Most gardeners are familiar with the term ‘hydroponics’, even if they haven’t tried it. Aerograden is simply an advanced application of the hydroponics growing technique. It’s fun, super-convenient, and above all – an exciting new experience. Read further to learn how aerogarden works before you get one home!
What Is An Aerogarden?
Aerogarden is a technique to grow food without the care and maintenance required from a gardener with conventional growing practices, though the setup isn’t limited to growing edibles. It can grow almost anything, as long as it’s within the height range.
Think of it as an unfailing vegetable garden that you can place over kitchen counters to grow plants from seeds without soil. While most Aerogardens are of a suitable size to place on countertops, they’re also bigger ones, about the size of a refrigerator. The automated system takes barely minutes to set up, turn on the LEDs and start growing!
What Is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is a type of hydroculture, which is a technique to grow plants, usually vegetable crops, without soil. Since it’s the driving force behind an aerogarden, a short introduction on hydroponic systems is necessary before getting into the details of how an aerogarden works.
So what is hydroponics?
It is a method of growing plants that utilized a water-based nutrient solution instead of soil. Different types of hydroponic systems slightly vary in their technique, but the basics are the same.
The plant roots can be suspended in a soilless medium such as peat moss, perlite, or clay pellets. In some systems, like the water culture system, plant roots are suspended in the nutrient solution itself. In aeroponics, the system used by an aerogarden, plant roots are suspended in air. We’ll look into it deeper in the next section.
How Aerogarden Works
As already highlighted, hydroponics is the core technology behind the operation of an aerogarden. There are 6 types of hydroponic systems, of which aeroponics is one. And as the name implies, aerogarden is based on aeroponics.
In an aeroponics system, plant roots are suspended in air. Mist nozzles positioned below the roots spray nutrient solution at intervals to provide the nourishment for the plants to grow. A pressure pump controls the rate at which the solution is sprayed onto the roots. Any excess moisture falls back into the reservoir to be reused.
The roots get plenty of oxygen to thrive. Among other hydroponic systems, an aerogarden is very water efficient. The plants in an aerogarden grow without any soil or dirt. They get all the nutrients necessary for their growth from air and nutrient solution that surrounds the roots.
- Built-In LED Grow Lights
Other than the mechanism at the base of the plants, each system also has has an overhead attachment with LED grow lights. This built-in grow lights assembly carries all the light spectrum colors to maintain the ideal conditions for plant growth.
- Seed Pods
Your aerogarden will work with a pre-seeded pod system. You’ll need to choose your aerogarden based on the number of pods you want to grow. Separate seed pod kits can be purchased, with multiple pods in each kit, to be installed in the aeroponics system. They’re readily available at most gardening stores that sell aerogardens and are specifically designed to be used with such systems. The preprepared pods in these seed kits are easy to install even for beginners.
How To Use An Aerogarden
Now that you understand how aerogarden works, let’s discuss how to use it. The idea may seem complicated, but most of the work is already done for you. These preprepared grow systems are designed to be plugged and start growing right away. Here are the steps involved:
- Adjust the height of the LED lights above the garden. In most designs, you just have to hold the base with one hand and lift the arm to raise the lights.
- The preprepared nutrient solvent will be available with the package. Add the solvent, along with water to the basin under the base unit.
- Position the tray above the base unit such that it’s above the water level. The grow tray has multiple slots. You need to add a single seed pod to each slot.
- Now plug your aerogarden to a power source and turn it on. The power source powers the grow lights and the pressure pump inside the base that controls the water spray onto the roots.
- Most systems can be scheduled to turn the lights on and off automatically. Some also feature reminders on when to add water and nutrient solvent, and in what quantities. WiFi-enabled aerogardens allow you to control the features remotely through your phone.
What Are The Benefits Of Growing With An Aerogarden?
Aerogarden is an attractive choice for so many reasons. Here are some:
- Fresh herbs and vegetables are easily accessible when you need them. If you want to add some fresh basil leaves over your pasta dish, you can just snip some off your countertop aerogarden instead of going outdoors.
- You won’t have to worry about pests and diseases ruining your crops.
- You’ll receive thriving crops with almost no effort or time as compared to the work involved in an outdoor garden.
- It’s a great way of teaching kids about nature and the source of food.
- Aerogarden makes a great gift for grandparents who would appreciate fresh produce without hard work.
Now that you know how aerogarden works, are you ready to add one to your home? There are all sorts of options available, each one with there own sets of features. One thing that’s common is that they’re all very convenient to use and offer an opportunity to grow organic produce without hassle. If you are thinking about starting out consider the Aerogarden Harvest, I have written a full review here.