I have been posting a bunch of gardening tips lately, but what happens when you don't have the space for a garden…even a container garden for herbs? Or you just want to save money on buying fresh herbs, but don't want to get involved in all the “dirty work” of gardening? Or just want to garden during the “off season”?
The Aerogarden is one of the best gardening growing systems that you can ever purchase. It comes in a large 7-pod system down to a small 3-pod system. These pods contain seeds, a growing medium, and are built in a little cage called a pod. When these pods are inserted into their holders in the Aerogarden they sit just above the water line. That’s the magic – an Aerogarden is a hydro- and aeroponic garden. This means that it grows in water and in air and not in soil.
When you first put the pods in and fill it up with water, the seeds will germinate and will send a tap root down in search of a water source. You can open the little door and watch the roots growing every day. There are nutrients that you add to the water that feed the plants. The lights above help the plants grow faster than if they were in your garden outside. With an Aerogarden, you can grow 2-3 times faster than with traditional gardening.
You can either purchase the Italian Seed Variety seed pod pack or buy empty pods and add in your own variety of seeds. In the Italian pack you will receive Genovese Basil, Chives, Mint, Savory, Italian Parsley, Oregano and Thyme seed pods. These are all great, but I like to grow tomatoes for my Lasagna garden and don’t really need mint or savory for my recipe.
One key thing to remember is that since plants grow so much faster in an Aerogarden you will need to harvest a couple times a week.
Growing tomatoes in your Aerogarden is quite awesome to do, but they do take up the space of two pods. Either purchase a tomato pod or plant your own favorite tomato variety in an empty pod. Plant 2-3 seeds and then remove the smallest weakest plants once the seedlings are a couple inches tall leaving only one strong plant to continue growing. Plant the tomato and basil at opposite ends as they are the two plants that get the biggest. Plant Italian Parsley in the center as it also can grow big quite quickly. Chives, Thyme and Oregano are slower to grow and they don’t tend to take up a lot of space and can fit into the open holes easily. When planting this combination, use a 7-pod Aerogarden and leave the pods closest to the Basil and Tomato open.
When the basil plant is 6-8 inches tall, harvest out the of the middle of the plant so it doesn’t grow in height but in width. Pull the thyme and oregano stems out from the center so they can cascade down the garden. Trim the chives so that they will continue to send up more shoots. Harvest the tomatoes as they ripen or pluck them green for a tarter taste.
Some plants can grow year round in an Aerogarden but when they get spindly or stop producing new leaves and fruit it is time to pull those plants out and toss them into the compost pile. One planting of the Aerogarden can last up to six months! Make sure to add the required liquid fertilizer to keep your plants happy and to keep your lasagna garden growing.
Do you have an Aerogarden?