Kirk got it on a fantastic deal for half the retail price for Black Friday. It’s not cheap though. But it also has the features for the price. This isn’t small by any means, it’s no table top device. So if you have seen the small AeroGarden setups, this is far different. It can grow taller items, such as dwarf tomatoes and green peas as well, that the smaller units just cannot.
What led me to wanting to try out hydroponics was last years growing. With the skies darkened due to (what I consider the issue) ash from Tonga, we struggled all year. This fall/winter I have been trying different methods outside to grow year round. From our greenhouse to raised beds (this bed is wrapped with plastic sheeting, around its fence, but has an open top). While the romaine lettuce has kept growing, even through 2 snowfalls and a week long minus freezing event, the lettuce is small. Till spring comes, this lettuce won’t be good eating to be honest. It keeps alive, but is tough as can be. Good for it, but not good for us…..ha.
I realized I needed to explore growing systems again. Overall I don’t use grow lights on our homestead, but with lettuce prices and even finding lettuce in the stores this winter, something had to give. And after this last year of having so many fails, I will embrace it.
- 46″ high (nearly 4 feet high!)
- 36″ across (3 feet)
- 14″ deep (this makes it easy to have it on a wall)
2 separate 12 pod grow tanks (each 12 pod is separately controlled)
2 60 watt LED grow lights
Runs on a computer on the unit
Has an app to control remotely
Built in reminders to add water and feed
Has a magnetic trellis system for taller items
Has a kit you can buy that can stack the systems to create a wall of growing (if I had unlimited money I would be all over this…..)
You can use the machine to start seeds and then transplant them into soil (for tomatoes for example) if you desire.
The Building of The System:
When the unit showed up, Kirk had to hide it for a few weeks – and that wasn’t easy as the box was big enough for a kid to get into. But he did it….
I won’t lie….I did get on the struggle bus a bit with assembling the unit. For one, sitting on the floor doing the assembly sucks. It helped having a kid to help me hold up the sides when screwing them together.
Some of the screws were just awful to get in, using a tiny Allen wrench. This screw was in the storage compartment at the top. And worse, I had put the wrong arm there, and had to remove it, and do it over. My knuckles hated me. My hands are not big overall, and I was cramped. I am not sure Kirk’s hands would have fit in there.
I highly suggest using cardboard under it while building. And have good lighting so you don’t swap the left and right sides. Or better, build the stupid thing on your dining room table so it is at eye height, which is what I ended up doing, so I didn’t have to sit on a hard floor anymore. It went a lot faster that way. And I could see the markers on the parts a lot better.
Overall, it wasn’t that bad to put together, just a few frustrations. One of those “once you build one, you are a pro at it” things.
Then it was on to setting up the water tanks and cords down below and getting the unit into position.
After that, we set it up to a secured entry onto our wifi and set up the system. I put the app on my phone and it would work even better on a tablet I feel (bigger the better), so I will add it to my tablet I use here and there.
Each side takes 2 gallons water to get it started. The computer screen lets you know when you have added enough water.
Each side is separately controlled, and you can toggle back and forth.
I added in the required feed per side (4 capfuls).
Then I opened up the 2 boxes included of pre-loaded seed pods. Each box is 12. One was a salad bar of lettuce and herbs, the other was 2 types of cherry tomatoes. The pods are marked on top.
I wrote down what I planted on paper (because I know in a short matter of time, I won’t be able to read the labels, once the plant grows). Also read the boxes the pods come in, on the side is a breakdown of the actual names of the seeds and germination rates, when they tested the seed lot.
We are Day 2 into the cycle, so I will update in a few weeks how it goes.
Let us hope it looks like this soon enough 😉
The company does guarantee germination, and if it doesn’t happen after 21 days, to contact them. We shall see what happens. I am not terribly concerned though. I plan on using the machine instead for growing my seeds, that I have hand picked for what we like to eat.
They sell the parts as well for this (of course). I did find buying through Amazon was considerably cheaper. I picked up the 50 count kit, which includes the plastic baskets, the peat moss cones, plastic domes, labels and 6 bottles of liquid feed. I paid with tax $30 for this. On the AeroGarden website it was out of stock, but retailed for nearly $60. The 6 bottles of liquid feed are nearly $60 on their website! So the Amazon set is a bargain, and is directly sold by Amazon, not a 3rd party.