How Does An Aerogarden Actually Work? Simply Explained
Ever experienced the joy of cooking pasta with fresh, home-grown tomatoes? I can tell you, it’s way better than any store-bought sauce version.
With the world shifting towards more environmentally sustainable activities, home gardening is now more common than ever. I know, I know – not everyone has the space for it. But fret not! I present to you – a well-researched guide to how an Aerogarden works.
An Aerogarden is a self-contained, completely indoor garden. From lights to temperature control, this unit has everything you need to ensure optimal plant-growing conditions.
And the best part? It’s super portable!
You can set it up in your kitchen or your living room, and grow fresh vegetables from the comfort of your apartment!
I dove into research about every aspect of how this magic garden works. And I’m happy to share this guide with you. So, ready to learn more about how this mini garden works? Keep reading!
How an Aerogarden works
The science behind the Aerogarden is based on this modern technology called aeroponics, which is a subset of hydroponics.
This technology is actually soil-less and only uses soluble fertilizer, light, and water for the plants to grow.
What on Earth is Hydroponics?!
It’s a soilless culture first developed in California. It’s based on the idea that water, light, and nutrition are enough for plant growth.
The Aerogarden uses a pump to regulate water levels while providing the required light through an LED system.
So instead of soil, plants actually grow suspended above the water, utilizing nutrients from the air and dissolved fertilizer in order to thrive.
Simply put, the Aerogarden has three parts:
- The LED lights,
- the growth deck, and
- the base for the water
Additional accessories can vary for each model. They mostly include seed pods, plant food, and grow domes.
The LED lights are usually attached to a light’s post at the top. These are usually 30 watt LEDs, that maintain the optimum temperature for plant growth (around 65-76°F). These can be differently colored as well, for better plant health.
The growth deck is where you put your plants or your seed pods. Seed pods are tiny cups containing the seed and a little bit of plant food to get that plant budding. You simply put it into the grow tray in order to “sow” your seed.
And lastly, the base holds the water and the soluble fertilizer. It’s fully automated so it regulates nutrient levels and water levels by itself.
Some Aerogardens also have an integrated smart system, that can send you notifications or alerts on your phone, whenever it needs replenishing.
With everything built into it, all you need to do is plug it in and see the magic unfold.
How To Use An Aerogarden
The instructions can vary a bit with the different models. But here’s how they generally go:
- Adjust the height of the LED lamp
- Insert the grow tray into the growth deck
- Add the seed pod to the grow bowl
- Attach the pump cord at the back of the unit
- Add water according to your model’s requirements
- Add the soluble fertilizer/liquid plant food to the water
- Plug it in and turn it on
- Adjust light and other settings on the control panel (if there is one)
- See your plants grow!
Here’s a video to give you an idea of the process. Remember to refer to the manual that comes with your particular Aerogarden for more precise instructions.
Types of Aerogardens
The main difference between each type of Aerogarden is its seed pod capacity. Based on this, there are four kinds of Aerogardens currently available on the market, some types may have an elite variant.
- Aerogarden Harvest: This model can accommodate up to 6 seed pods at a time, and has a 20watt grow light.
It has further models with different designs. Some may be more square, others more rectangular. This variant might be a great choice for growing smaller plants like herbs and chilies.
- Aerogarden Bounty: This one has a bigger capacity of up to 9 plants at a time. The grow light is 45 watts, twice as powerful compared to the Harvest variant.
It also allows for a taller growth height of up to 24 inches. These models usually feature a digital touch-screen control panel as well.
The Bounty variant makes a great choice for growing plants like tomatoes or lettuce.
- Aerogarden Sprout: This is a beginner-friendly option. It allows for up to 3 plants to grow at a time.
This is a great variant to start with, to understand the process of how Aerogardening works. I’ll recommend this for growing herbs and other small plants.
- Aerogarden Farm: This one has a massive capacity of up to 24 seed pods at a time. It comes in two models, the Farm Plus and the FarmXL.
While both have a similar 24 pod capacity, the Farm Plus variant has the added benefit of having a taller growth space of 24 inches.
So if you want to plant a variety of plants at the same time, go for Farm Plus.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of how it works, let’s take a closer look at an Aerogarden’s logistics.
How Much Does it Cost to Run an Aerogarden?
There are two main costs of setting up an Aerogarden. The first is the cost of the model you get along with the basic starter equipment you need. The second is the energy cost.
The cost of Aerogarden itself
The prices vary with shipping and duty charges depending on where you live. But here’s a rough idea about how much each model costs:
- Aerogarden Sprout: $85-$100
- Aerogarden Harvest: $100-$150
- Aerogarden Bounty: $250-$300
- Aerogarden Farm: $700-$900
Cost of seed pods
The cost of seed pods varies with the type of plant and the number of pods. The cost of individual seed pods reduces with bigger kits.
Here are rough estimates to give you an idea (remember: some plants might be more expensive than others).
- 3 pod kit: $10-$12
- 6 pod kit: $15-$18
- 9 pod kit: $20-$22
- 12 pod kit: $25-$27
Cost of Plant Nutrient
You don’t necessarily have to use the Aerogarden Liquid Plant Food and can use another replacement of water-soluble fertilizer.
A liter bottle of the Aerogarden Liquid costs about $35. This can last you a while depending on the number of your plants. A 9-pod system such as the bounty uses about 12ml at a time, the farm’s 24 pod system uses 48ml at a time, and so on.
Cost of equipment replacement
The grow baskets and the sponges need to be replaced after each harvest. I figured that buying them in bulk would cost you less than smaller packaging.
A pack of 50 baskets can cost around $20-$26 on Amazon. With careful use, you can even reuse some of the baskets.
The cost of electricity is the main concern with a lot of Aerogardeners. It depends on your Aerogarden’s model and which plant you’re growing in it. Some plants need more light (increasing electricity expenditure) while some need less.
While these costs can vary with your local electricity costs, here are the energy cost estimates of each model ( calculated at 11¢ Per kW/hour):
- AeroGarden Sprout: 13 watts average usage costing around $0.75 per month
- AeroGarden Harvest: 23 watts average costs about $1.33 per month
- AeroGarden Bounty: 48 watts average usage costs $2.78 per month
- AeroGarden Farm: 126 watts average usage, costs up to $7.30 per month
Finally, the total cost of running an Aerogarden would be the sum of all those entities. Taking out the initial cost of the AeroGarden model, the cost of running it would be:
Electricity cost + Growth Basket Cost + Nuirtient Liquid Cost = Total Cost to Grow A Plant.
How Long Does an Aerogarden Last?
The life of an AeroGarden model largely depends on how you use it and how well you maintain it.
The plants in an Aerogarden can last anywhere from 3 months to 8 months, depending on how well you take care of them during harvest. Remember, it’s important to thoroughly sanitize your garden before planting a new seed pod to ensure maximum life.
Here’s the average lifetime of some common plants:
- Lettuce: 2-3 months
- Herbs: 6-8 months
- Tomatoes: 9-12 months
- Peppers: up to a year
- Flowers: 2-4 months
However, some plants can always outlive the given timeline and continue to thrive with proper care and nutrients.
Is an AeroGarden Worth it?
Are you big on organic food? Is a big chunk of your grocery bill about fresh produce? If yes, I highly recommend an AeroGarden.
Even if you’re not a salad enthusiast you may want to experience the joy that comes with plant-motherhood without the commitment that comes with actual gardening. So an Aerogarden might be worth investing in.
Some key benefits I noticed during my research were:
- Portability: The largest model of the AeroGarden is only as big as a refrigerator, the smallest one being the size of a carton.
If you’re short on space and still want to try your hand at gardening, the AeroGarden provides you with a convenient opportunity.
- Self- sufficiency: You don’t have to rearrange your entire furniture to ensure your plants get enough light. With AeroGarden’s all-in-one model, everything your plant needs can be found right there.
It even notifies you if it needs water or nutrients. No more dead plants on your watch!
- Efficiency: While it does have a list of prerequisites, almost everyone has been able to grow some kind of plants successfully using the Aerogarden. So the effort and money you put in give you actual results.
- Fresh, chemical-free produce: The subtraction of soil from the garden eliminates the need for pesticides and insecticides.This means the vegetables you grow have minimal added chemicals. This is far from what you can say about store-bought vegetables.
So yes, I believe the Aerogarden is worth it. If you do the math, the cost of growing your own vegetables would be less than what you spend on it if you get it from the store.
Plus, these vegetables would be free from all the contaminants market vegetables contain and would be 100% fresh.
The Aerogarden is a revolutionary gardening technology that uses the science of hydroponics to help you grow soilless plants from the comfort of your home.
It comes in a variety of models, each with a different plant capacity so you can choose the most suitable one.
Aerogarden has redefined how we look at gardening, making it more accessible for everyone.
I hope you found this article interesting and helpful. Feel free to check out other similar articles on our website.
Thanks for reading! And happy gardening!