Several years ago I was a chef and ran a catering company. It kept me quite busy and I supplied gourmet food to groups ranging from 4 to 150 people. And during all of that time I couldn't grow an herb or a vegetable to save my life.
Tomatoes? Eaten by bugs.
Basil? Died a lonely death, even though it was watered and trimmed properly.
Rosemary? The easiest thing in the world to grow simply turned into a tiny weed when left in my care.
As opposed to a green thumb, I had the gray thumb of death.
I'm now just a total foodie who loves to cook. And I now have a successful garden of herbs out on my front porch.
But that didn't keep my excitement level down when I saw this on TV:
I immediately jumped online to check out what could be the key to home-grown deliciousness: The AeroGarden.
I must confess to a little confusion initially. I didn't realize that there were twelve types of AeroGarden. Generally an As Seen On TV product is a singular type of deal. And as I've discovered in the past, sometimes As Seen On TV products simply don't add up to the hype.
Thankfully, that is not the case with the AeroGarden line. But which one to buy? The Space-Saver 6? The Pro 100? The Pro 200? The AeroGarden 3?
Oh, cruel fate! Why must you torture me so with such decisions??!?
Essentially all AeroGardens contain the same elements. Utilizing aeroponics, where plants are suspended in air with 100% humidity - no dirt involved, these growth systems mimic the sun with full-spectrum fluorescent light bulbs. Though they can be used for flowers, the system is ideal for chili peppers, salad greens, herbs, cherry tomatoes and many types of basil.
You have to buy special seed packs (futuristically called "bio-dome grow pods") for use with the AeroGarden. An internal microprocessor adjusts light cycles, water flow, and nutrient delivery to guarantee maximum germination.
A wide variety of grow pods are available for purchase for between $15 - $20 each. The number of pods varies depending on which model of AeroGarden you own. That much money seems like a lot for only 3 to 6 pods, but (according to fans) the return is worth the investment.
The ads state that you can "plant in minutes, sprout in days, [and] harvest continuously for months" and that you need only spent "less than 10 minutes a month" tending the garden.
Those are bold statements... but apparently true.
People are passionate about their AeroGardens. Nearly 1700 friends on the AeroGarden Facebook page attest to this.
But not all is well in the land of greens and tomato. And though these are tiny caterpillars in the garden, they are worth noting.
By far the largest complaint involves the pump system. After a bit of use it becomes extremely loud - possibly due to grainules from fertilizer tablets and tiny pieces of root being sucked in. There are two solutions to this: 1) Contact the manufacturer and get a replacement, or 2) Take the pump apart, clean it, then rebuild it. Either way you're looking a significant downtime and a pain in the butt that you didn't bargain for.
This isn't a universal problem, but when it happens it's apparently very annoying.
As with many As Seen On TV products, extending shipping times can occur. This is the nature of the beast. But... you can order it online via large stores (such as Amazon), so that may side-step the issue.
The last problem may just be with me. At $200+, the AeroGarden is a bit pricey. I'm not cheap. Just poor.
So, will I get an AeroGarden? Let's just say that it's going on my Christmas list.
Get your very own AeroGarden at Amazon or the AeroGarden website!