Back in April Jaunty posted a story about the many options of indoor herb garden kits. Born out of COVID lockdown boredom, we purchased our own hydroponic herb garden.
Our little herb garden has been a herb producing juggernaut! And “tending the herbs” proved to be a fun hobby.
Our review after 5 months of “working the soil.”
We went with the AeroGarden Harvest Hydroponic Herb Garden. The compact Harvest takes up about 11 inches of counter space & stands 18 inches tall; a nominal investment of space. You can grow 6 herbs at a time & this model sells for about a hundred bucks.
As Aerogardens are hydroponic, there’s no soil to contend with… just water & liquid plant food.
By choice, we are on our second round of seeds & have produced more herbs than we can possibly use. We’ve grown Genovese basil, Tai basil, parsley, cilantro, chives, dill & mint.
Takeaways from the many months of toiling over the garden –
The Good News
On the whole working with the Aerogarden is fun & requires a few minutes a week to tend. The lights on the front of the kit remind me when it’s low on water & prompts me to add a cap full of liquid plant food, every two weeks.
The seeds that germinated grew very quickly. Within a couple weeks, we were trimming our herbs, leading to thicker plants & more growth.
Once the herbs took root, we had plenty of fresh herbs for meals, herbs to dry for later, for sauces, to give to friends… holy c**p the plants produced a lot of herbs!
More fresh herbs led to experimenting with new dishes. That helped address another potential COVID rut… routine meals.
We started on our second round of seeds in September…Mostly because we maxed out on Tai basil, parsley & mint. We also wanted more cilantro. The original plants would have continued to produce had we kept them.
Things to Consider
Of the 12 seeds we’ve ordered, 3 never germinated. While it’s a bummer after three weeks of waiting, Aerogarden guarantees your seeds & will replace them.
Pick herbs you really like and will use. Initially, we bought a stock seed kit that included parsley. To us, parsley is the garnish you leave on your plate at the end of a meal. For a more dialed-in experience, choose the specific herb seeds that you’re more inclined to cook with.
Our second group of seeds was more customized to things we wanted to try as well as herbs we use more often. Experimenting with a few new herbs is good too!
Night into Day
The LED lights run about 15 hours a day. While it’s not expensive (about $1.30 a month) they are quite bright. Our garden turns on around 9:45 at night. If we’re watching TV upstairs at night, the lights are pretty stark. Make sure to pick a spot that won’t create the “last call” experience in the middle of your movie
Also, since LED’s are a fixed light, you need to be diligent about trimming your herbs, to ensure all plants get equal access. For example, our basil grew extremely fast, which might starve the slower growing herbs of light, without regular trimming.
As our system is hydroponic, it requires water every 7-10 days. I’m not yet sure how it would fare if we went on vacation for a longer period of time (sadly, not really a big concern right now). Hopefully we can test this in the not too distant future!
On the whole indoor herb garden kits are a fun hobby & produce an abundance of herbs. We have a fresh and dried stock of our favorites. Finally, the investment of time is pretty low, so tending the garden is an easy hobby that saves you money in the long run!