Anybody have an AeroGarden?

(I’m putting this in CS because it has to do with food and infomercials. Please feel free to move if appropriate)

I have been trying to grow herbs in my kitchen for quite a while now, and while I’m sure I have been slipping the Chia Herb Garden money, I’m not getting any harvestable results.

I’m in an apartment, so I don’t have an outdoor space to grow anything, and I don’t have any sunny windows. Therefore, I need a completely self-contained growing enviroment for culinary herbs (I really want to make my own pesto).

I saw an informercial once (I’ve got a hypothesis–as yet unproven–that the quality of an informercial product is inversely proportional to the number of times the infomercial is broadcast) about something called the AeroGarden, which seems to be exactly what I’m looking for.

I’m just wondering if anyone has one, if anyone knows someone who does, if anyone has an opinion on it. I’ve hunted around the internet for customer reviews, and while I’ve found some, I haven’t found anything really negative about it yet.


It’s $150.00 plus $20.00 shipping, but if it does what it says it will, it’s worth it to me.


Moved to IMHO.

Yep, I have one, I love it. It’s perfect in your (our) situation when there’s no outside space, no readily available indoor light source and if, like me, you tend to forget that your plants are actual living beings with needs you have to attend to. I can manage “water once every two weeks when the little light goes on.”

Someone else will be here shortly to point out that you can put together your own hydroponic growing kit for far less than $150. And they’re probably right. (Whether you can do so and not be put on some drug-trafficking suspect list warranting further investigation is another question.) But I like this one because it’s small enough to fit on my counter, it’s all enclosed in one unit, it looks nice, and it reminds me when to do the small amount of work I need to do to keep things alive in it.

The woman in the cubicle next to me at work has one. She’s currently growing cherry tomatoes. It’s pretty neat. :slight_smile:

There’s a rumour (somewhere) about AeroGardens eventually being able to grow strawberries, and my boyfriend has already said that as soon as they are available he’s getting one.

There was a bill board in my area for quite a while that advertised a home hydroponics system. It said something to the effect of “Grow plants, flowers or your favorite Herb indoors!” I loved how they emphasized herb. Very subtle. :wink:

There was a discussion over on eGullet about these a while back and the results were favorable. I think they look super cool, and I asked a friend of mine who is a Master Gardener about them. She looked at them and said that she doesn’t see why they wouldn’t work. She also said you could do the same with grow lights a little cheaper, but like WhyNot says, the Aero Garden is simple and compact.

I think I’m going to get one this winter. For now, my herb garden is full.

I got the white one off of Amazon but have yet to set it up. Am waiting for the winter when outdoor herbs will be harder to grow (and yes, I do mean things like basil and oregano). So my contribution is basically useless. It does look really cool – like a Mac for plants. Though I have heard it can get noisy, and damn those seed kits are expensive. Also, make sure you have it somewhere you don’t mind being brightly lit for hours at a time.

The strawberries were available, and then not, and is again listed as “Coming Soon”. The thing with the strawberries is that they come as plants, not seeds, unlike everything else. As such, you have to have an empty Aerogarden waiting, specify a ship date and have the poor little guys in the Aerogarden within 24 hours. So I suspect it wasn’t working so well and they’re tweaking the system.

They also just introduced a set of empty seed pod thingies and general fertilizer tables so you can start any seed indoors for transplanting or for growing in the Aerogarden. Of course, it’s going to be a crap-shoot for a while figuring out what will grow there and what won’t, and I’m sure the yield won’t be as great as the “bred for Aerogarden” varieties they’ve already picked, but it will be fun to try!

Oh, I forgot before, the only drawback I see to the whole thing is that I can’t find a local retailer for the seed pods or fertilizer tabs (although to be honest, I haven’t looked that hard.) That means paying shipping on every order, which sorta blows. I mean, I might be able to torturously justify spending $29.95 on seven strawberry plants, but I don’t know that I can wring another $20 for overnight refrigerated shipping out of my budget. (Most of the kits are $19.95 and $4.95 shipping - strawberries are (or were) more.)

Thanks, SkipMagic!

(Heh, your initials are S-M…Subliminally Naughty Mod Alert!)

I’m glad this got moved; it languished in CS for a week with no replies, so thanks to everyone who finally noticed it.

I read some reviews online…I think a site called ePinions had a discussion, and had a thread on their message board, too. People seem to be pretty happy with them, although there was some complaint that for a while you could only grow the company’s seeds. They seem to have addressed that by offering customizable seed plugs where you can grow your own choice of crops, so they’re evidently paying attention to user feedback, which is encouraging.

I just want to make some homemade pesto…I’ve tried to grow basil in my kitchen in little pots with a grow light, but it doesn’t grow very well, and eventually gets these green flies all over it (they’re like houseflies, only shiny green). I have had to throw it out then (the last attempt was just getting secondary leaves), because these maggot-breeders invade my kitchen. They seem to thrive on basil juice.

(Old house, bad window screens.)

It looks like I may have to be moving soon (which sucks totally), so I may hold off a bit on buying one for a few months until I get resettled, but it sure looks like a neat little machine.

(On the “Whether you can do so and not be put on some drug-trafficking suspect list warranting further investigation is another question.” issue: that’s what has always kept me from buying a Phototron, which used to get advertised in men’s magazines a lot. It was bigger, about $400 back in the 1980s, and was designed by a guy who studied growing pot in college…for real academic credit, not just popularity. I wanted it for growing tobasco peppers, but didn’t want to have to deal with the regular knocks on the door.)

If you want to make pesto, the AeroGarden is perfect, because basil grows like some unearthly weed in that thing. I’ve tried two different herb combos, and have ended up with these basil trees while everything else is scrawny and sickly. I’m going to try the “all basil” kit next time.

While the customer feedback referred to here sounds positive, my concerns about this system include the lack of information about the lighting (“compact fluorescent” is pretty vague, and I have real doubts about anyone being able to grow cherry tomatoes in this thing) and the website’s emphasis on “investor opportunities”.

Herbs generally want cool conditions (basil is an exception) and the average kitchen is too warm an environment.

They’re “full daylight spectrum” little CFL’s. There are two of them in each garden. I will admit, the kit I got came with one bum bulb - it worked, but it was much dimmer than the other. I called them and they quickly sent out another bulb free of charge, and told me to switch the two bulbs I already had daily to help the plants grow more evenly (they were bending over to reach the brighter bulb.)

I haven’t tried the cherry tomatoes yet, so I don’t know how well they grow. I’ve done the lettuces (which is what comes with the Aerogarden as your first kit) and they were phenomenal. I figured the pictures on the website were - uh - “enhanced” in some way, either through Photoshop or the careful selection of mature plants. Nope. That’s exactly like what my garden looked like. The other kit I ordered was the Gourmet Herb Pack, which contains Cilantro, Chives, Italian Basil, Purple Basil, Dill, Mint and Parsley - all herbs that grow outdoors here in the 80s and 90’s of midwestern summer in full sun, and they were happy as…well, happy little herb plants. I guess I’m not familiar with common culinary herbs that want cool conditions - what sort of herbs are you talking about?

There are several light cycle settings and varied nutrient combos - you’re supposed to choose the correct one for the seed you’re putting in. Of course not everything will grow in the Aerogarden, but the thing to remember is that the plants they’ve selected for their kits will. They wouldn’t offer them otherwise! It’s the “fill your own seedpod” kit that’s going to, I expect, lead some newbie growers down the path of disappointment. Sooner or later, someone’s going to try a full size tomato in a unit that only goes slightly over 2 feet tall, and they’re going to be pissed that it won’t work right. I have trouble faulting Aerogarden for that, y’know?

Emphasis? There’s one link on the sidebar. Are you on the manufacturer’s site at or one of the gazillion resellers with crappy websites?

You callin’ me a liar? :dubious:

“Full daylight spectrum” refers to, well, spectrum (wavelengths). It doesn’t tell me how bright the bulbs are (CFLs come in a range of wattage).

Many herbs will grow well outdoors in warm temps if given full sun. The same plants, given warm conditions and the relatively dim light plus low humidity indoors, will do poorly and be leggy (gangly). So brightness is important.

If the thing works well I could see getting one, though I suspect the cost of seed packs, nutrient tablets and electricity would be several times the cost of buying veggies and herbs at the market (this doesn’t count the enjoyment factor of doing it yourself plus getting fresh stuff that hasn’t been sprayed with Death Juice on the farm in Costa Rica).

On a couple of other points: the investor stuff has two separate links on the website. I’ve never seen another garden gadget sold by people who are simultaneously urging you to invest money in the company.

And if you can actually harvest cherry tomatoes in this planter, terrific. (you can grow the plants any number of ways indoors, mostly unsucessfully).

I don’t do hydroponics, but the price of this planter sounds very good. Maybe too good (cue eerie music).

Ah, okay. Hang on, let me get one and see if I can find that for you…

It says (on the base of the bulb):

Like I said before, there are two bulbs in each Aerogarden. The bulbs themselves are three bent tubes, for a total of six lines of light. The inside top of the Garden is lined in a reflective metallic surface.

Totally subjectively? It’s bright enough that you don’t want to look directly at the bulbs when they’re on, and it makes you wince walking into the room from a dark room while it’s turned on. If you’re in a studio apartment, you might want to put it behind a shoji screen or something so you can sleep. Of course, you can set it (very easily) to shut off whenever it’s convenient for you, but it does have like a 16 hour on cycle, so if you sleep more then eight hours, it will either wake you up or be on while you’re trying to sleep. Mine is in my kitchen, so it doesn’t bother anyone.