There has been a huge shift towards sustainability in many activities with home gardening becoming popular in different parts of the world. But, with the inadequacy of space to practice traditional gardening, innovations such as aerogardens have emerged.
An Aerogarden is a self-sufficient indoor garden with regulated conditions for plants to grow and thrive. That means you can control parameters such as temperature, light, humidity, and nutrients to achieve the best conditions for specific plants .
Aerogardens are a great alternative to traditional gardening; especially with limited space. But, how does the aerogarden work? How do plants grow and develop in such a system. Below is a detailed guide on how aerogardens work, including the types available.
- An aerogarden is a soil-free gardening system; a subset of hydroponics, a system that utilizes water, nutrients and light to sustain plants.
- An aerogarden has three major components, LED lights, the growth deck and the base.
- Aerogardens come in different types; namely Harvest, Bounty, Sprout, and Farm. The difference is in the number of seed pods each can accommodate at a time.
How Does an Aerogarden Work?
The functionality of the aerogarden can be complex. It is based on a modern technology called aeroponics, a part of a larger technology, hydroponics. This technology does not need soil to function and facilitate the growth of plants.
It is important to understand how hydroponics works to understand the basis of the aerogarden.
What is Hydroponics
In simple terms, hydroponics is a system that utilizes water, light and nutrition to grow and develop plants. It is a soil-less system first developed in California as a way to craft ideal conditions for plants to grow without the need for traditional gardens .
Understanding The Aerogarden
The aerogarden utilizes a pump to control water levels while meeting the plants’ light needs through the attached LED system. Instead of using soil, plants grow suspended above the water, where nutrients from the air and soluble fertilizer are added.
In simpler terms, the aerogarden has three components:
- LED lights
- Growth deck
- The base for the water
These three are the essential components in most aerogarden models. Additional accessories can vary from one model to another, depending on the design. Some models come with seed pods, plant food, and grow domes as extra features.
Other models feature an integrated smart system that you can sync with your mobile device. This allows you to receive alerts on your phone when the system needs replenishing of water or nutrients.
Below is a description of how each component works to contribute to the overall function of the aerogarden.
The LED lights in this system are attached to a post at the top of the aerogarden. Most LED lights come as 30-watt LEDs, providing the optimum temperature for plants to grow. The ideal temperature is 65 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit, which these lights keep at a constant.
This is the main component of the aerogarden where you put your plants or seed pods. Seed pods come as small cups with the seed and a little plant food to start the plant on the right foot. This design makes it easy to set it on the grow tray, similar to sowing the seed.
The base holds the water and the soluble fertilizer to provide nutrients for the plants. Most aerogarden models come with a fully automated base to regulate the amount of nutrient solution and water levels seamlessly.
How To Use An Aerogarden
Aerogarden models come with instructions on how to use them, which vary from one model to the other. Generally, this is how to use one.
- Set the height of the LED lamp to ensure adequate space for your plants .
- Install the grow tray into the deck.
- Add the seed pod into the tray to ‘sow’ the seed.
- Set up the system by attaching the pump cord at the back of the unit.
- Add water depending on the model’s instructions and requirements.
- Dissolve the soluble fertilizer or plant food in the water.
- Plug the aerogarden in and turn the switch on.
- Adjust the light settings and other configurations on the control panel.
- That’s all, watch the plants grow.
Related: Best Things to Grow in Aerogarden
Types of Aerogardens
There are several types of aerogardens; however, they are not different as far as the design goes. The difference is in the seed pod capacity, meaning some models can accommodate more seed pods than the others.
Here are the common types of aerogardens.
This model is the perfect type for a complete beginner. It is pretty small and portable, allowing you to fit in in any space you have. The Aerogarden Harvest can accommodate up to 6 seed pods at a time.
Most models come with a 20-watt LED grow light which is pretty adequate for a small number of plants. The design can either be rectangular or square-shaped, giving you the option to arrange the seed pods in rows of two or three.
This type can be great for growing plants like herbs and chilies.
The Bounty has a slightly bigger capacity than the harvest since it can accommodate up to 9 seed pods at a time. It is a perfect choice if you want to explore aero gardening with different vegetables and herbs.
Most Aerogarden Bounty models come with a 45-watt LED grow light which is twice as powerful as the Harvest. This is to ensure the system caters to the plants’ increasing need for light.
The best thing about this type is that it allows plants that grow as tall as 24 inches, meaning you can include more options than the Harvest. Additionally, most models come with a digital touch screen control panel where you can adjust the settings for optimal growing conditions.
This type works perfectly for growing plants like lettuce and tomatoes.
This is the best type for a beginner in aerogarden systems. It is pretty tiny and only holds up to 3 plants at a time. It is a great model to start with and test the water before committing to larger types.
The sprout is perfect for growing two or three herbs such as mint, rosemary, or basil. These are beginner-friendly and do not need regular maintenance yet do well indoors with the right conditions.
This is the largest type of them all. Models are designed to accommodate up to 24 seed pods at a time. It is available in two subtypes; the Farm Plus and the Farm XL. Both have the same 24-pod capacity, but Farm Plus can allow plants that grow up to 24 inches.
Therefore, if you want to mix short and tall plants, Farm Plus is the best option. But if you are only interested in relatively small plants, the regular one will work just fine.
The Bottom Line
Aerogardens are worth a try with all the advantages they come with. They are portable, self-sufficient, efficient, and produce fresh, chemical-free produce. They are super easy to set up and do not require constant attention, unlike traditional gardens.