AeroGarden Gets Me Through Long Winter

I set it up January 31 and planted the basil seeds that came with it. The AeroGarden has been the perfect distraction for the long winter, and I'm still finding it quite useful in starting seeds. It's quick, giving me more basil than I knew what to do with just seven weeks later.

I have the AeroGarden Ultra, which was sent to me to test by the company that sells them. It was easy to put together, fill with water and plant food, and pop in the pre-seeded plugs. The kit came with basil, but you can get a wide variety of seeds for the table-top hydroponic garden.

One of seven full-sized basil plants after just seven weeks.
What I did after the basil reached just a few inches high was transplant them into small pots to place under my separate grow light setup. I had ordered some blank plugs and more baskets so I could plant some of the seeds I'd been frantically ordering since my first catalog arrived in November.

I chose to grow Blue Monday Sage from Baker Creek Seeds, an ornamental Salvia that blooms in a wonderful shade of blue.

Salvia Blue Monday - photo by Baker Creek Seeds
The Salvia sprouted in three days, and formed true leaves after just eight days! I started a couple plugs on March 6, March 10 and March 14th because I'd originally decided to try lettuce and peppers, but changed my mind a few plugs at a time. Anyway, suffice it to say the Salvia was a huge success, and I hope to have sizable plants well before the end of April.
The AeroGarden Ultra has room to grow seven plugs at a time,not perfect for someone who starts a lot of seeds. But my garden is limited, and because of the quick turn-around, I know I can have more than a dozen Blue Monday Sage plants to put in my garden when the ground warms up.

AeroGarden's website shows many applications for the seed grower. You can plant yourself a tiny table-top flower garden, or an easy-to-harvest salad. You can even grow some tomatoes to maturity in one of the units.

Salvia started March 6
Salvia started March 14 - just 3 days!

Salvia started March 10
A new AeroGarden is available that uses LED lights. The AeroGarden EXTRA LED and ULTRA LED use 65 percent less power than the other models, which use three 78-watt full spectrum compact fluorescent lights. The new units are more expensive, but the lights last nearly 10 times as long as the fluorescents. And that, as far as I can tell, solves the only drawback I could find to this fun and productive plant starter/grower.

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