Miracle-gro Aerogarden Farm Xl review : Is this one big enough?

 

What would it be like to be able to grow tomatoes year round with All can be grown with ethe aerogarden farm xlease.

What would it be like to know what goes into your herbs.

What would it be like to see these plants growing before your eyes.

Well now you can, and you can grow taller.

Introducing the NEW Aerogarden Farm XL

Till now the tallest Aerogarden Farm unit had a growing height of 24 in – the Farm Plus.

Now you have the new (2019) Aerogarden Farm XL – standing 36 inplanted aerogarden farm xl tall in the growing area allowing extra height for those tall vine type crops.

So growing indoors has never been so big in one stylish unit.

This is like having two units in one – and can be programmed that way.

Just image what it will be like to be picking your home grown tomatoes in winter.

Knowing that only natural minerals have gone into them.

I know the feeling every time I pick my chillis, they have been growing now for over 10 years and aren’t stopping yet.

I have been told that tomatoes can last for up to 4 years, but have not grown any inside to prove it, mine are all grown outside in a deep water culture system.

What’s in the unit

Controller

The touch screen computer controller guides you to an easy setup of both sides and tells you what is going on and when you need to do things, like replace the nutrient or add water.

The best way for the water is to keep it topped up daily and then you get to check on the plants as well, see how they are doing.

Grow bowls

The grow bowls hold about 2 gallons each so when building, place the unit in its final resting place before filling, although they are removable.

The pumps are quiet and the only sounds you may hear is the trickling of water, which means you should really top them up again.

Topping up is achieved with an easy to open fill cover and a visual fill to here tube shows when you have added enough.

With 12 holes in each side you can grow enough to feed your family and have spare to freeze or give away.

You don’t need to keep every hole filled and you can leave some open to allow for bushier crops.

Lighting

The full spectrum led lighting panel allow you to grow all year round, they may also help with SAD ( seasonal affectorial disorder) adding more of the spectrum for helping reduce SAD.

The led grow lights are independently adjustable so each side can sit at different levels dependant on the height of the plants – you want to keep the lights between 4-6 in above the top of the plants.

Each led unit is 60w so running cost of this unit are in the order of two units a day while both lights are on.

Seed pods

With the split unit it is easy to replace the seed pods while the other side is still growing, there are now a wide range of kits available or you can grow your own seeds.

The easy to install seed pods are guaranteed to germinate, but from reports a few still don’t and as people say am I really going to complain about one or two seeds not coming up.

This hydroponics unit is ideal for those who want to make a statement of ‘ I want to know what goes into my food’.

It is also ideal for the keen cook who wants their herbs the freshest they can have.

Having grown basil in the past and losing it, I have been told to grow it again!

WIFI app

There is an app which you can download from your app store to keep an eye on what the controller says, but in my opinion if it say the unit needs water then what are you going to do? Panic and get in touch with someone to go round to water it? You are better off checking on the unit when you return and if it needs more nutrient or water then add it then.

These units are a very good introduction into hydroponics.

They are very easy to keep and reduce the potential of soil borne disease and due to the healthy crops reduce airborne pests as well.

Is there anything I think is wrong with the Aerogarden farm XL

From the smallest unit to the largest farm xl unit, I still think that they need to work on a system to empty the grow bowls.

It appears that you are supplied with a tube with the farm, so as far as i can tell you need to lift the grow plate and put the pipe into the spout of the pump, where the aerogarden unit will pump the water out.

But this still leaves what you are going to do with this dripping mass of roots in the meantime.

On the units I have I now pump the water  out and then make up a new mix and pump it back in.

Mine is a hand pump – the bulb type and work quite well for this.

The other thing I would have liked to see on this unit is that the grow bowls start at the top and descend rather than having to crawl around down at the base of the unit.

It will be more complex but nicer for growing lettuce next to tomatoes or cucumber to be able to pick them at the same height.

My verdict

aerogarden farm xl - amazon link
Check out what others have to say – click here

But overall i would advise this unit for anyone who really wants to have a go at see what the difference in taste is between the mass produces herbs and really fresh home grown.

You won’t go back to buying your herbs and will miss them when you are not growing them.

So if you are ready to see your crops growing and hand pick the freshest tomatoes and herbs then why not read about what others say.

Thanks for reading about the Aerogarden Farm XL.

Miracle-gro Aerogarden Harvest review : A good introduction to Hydroponics?

How to have fresh herbs all year round: even when the ground is frozen

When you care about what you eat, what is sprayed onto your

frozen garden - too cold to garden
Too cold to garden

vegetables and salad leaves then you have certain choices.

You can buy organic after researching the companies who supply where you buy from or you grow your own, if you are lucky enough to have the space.

When growing your own you are after the freshest, tastiest, most nutritious plants you can get your hands on.

So when the cold season comes around, you look out of the window waiting for the slightly warmer weather to come around.

What if you could extend or even ignore the seasons, what if you could grow your crops all year round.

Continue reading Miracle-gro Aerogarden Harvest review : A good introduction to Hydroponics?

The Pros and Cons of Hydroponics

What is Hydroponics

The fascinating world of hydroponics is one where you put a plants pros and cons of hydroponics - indoor hydroponic stystemroots in a nutrient solution and let it grow.

Ideally you don’t see the roots as this can promote algae growth and that is the last thing you want – to suffocate the roots!

The world where you have a chance to control the environment for your plants.

Depending on how far you want to take it, from a simple countertop system to a blackout tent where you control all of the environment, growing hydroponically is a hobby to enjoy.

I remember when I first started out, being nervous of killing the plants and being impatient for them to grow.

I am still learning about how to get the most out of the systems and am nowhere an expert, but i manage to grow tomatoes and cucumbers every year outside, with 10 year old and counting chilli plants inside in Aerogarden units ( they seem to like the environment and I like the chillis, tasting like bell peppers with heat).

Would I grow with soil, not if I could help it, but sometimes you need to see what you are missing.

Anyway here is my list of pros and cons of hydroponics.

Advantages (Pros)

Plants grow quicker

The plants have little choice in it.

As long as you have setup the conditions right then all they have to seedling growingdo is to grow.

They can’t help it. it is what the little seeds are programmed to do, what you are doing is giving them the best chance they have at growing.

Once they start growing then there will be no stopping them.

In a side by side comparison you can expect up to 4X quicker growth than with a soil system.

Less mess

Remember that feeling after being on your knees in the garden planting seedlings.

Knees aching, back aching, fingers dirty.advantage of hydroponics - no dirty hands

Washing your hands they almost come clean but…

Well with most of the aggregates you use for hydroponics your hands will stay clean and depending on where you place your system then no more aching knees or back.

Coco coir is the messiest substrate i have dealt with and a quick rinse under the tap brings it off. It is only coconut husks ground up after all.

You can grow more

When you start with hydroponics what you will see is that more of your seedlings will survive.

Which means you can grow more.

Where you ask.

Don’t be constrained by horizontal surfaces, look upwards.

Yes you can construct systems that expand upwards and grow up walls.

You are not constrained by soil so you can almost grow anywhere.

Water saving

When you water the garden how much of that water actually goes into the plants ?

10%…20% with the rest soaking into the ground and draining away?watering the garden loses so much water

With the contained systems of hydroponics you will be using a lot less water and know that it is surrounding the roots for the plant to use.

You will still need to water the systems and as the plants grow then this becomes more frequent, but it will all go to the plants.

Grow where nothing grows

Is there a spot in the garden where absolutely nothing grows?

What about using that to try out hydroponics.pro of hydroponics - grow above barren land

There will be a system placed there but with a bit of imagination and ingenuity, as long as you can get electric and water to it you will be able to grow plants there.

Too dark – then add more light.

Too wet – then make sure you use a structure that will not rot.

Too dry- just add the structure, water, system and grow.

Less pests

Plants are a bit like us, the healthier they are the less prone they are to disease or pests.

So using hydroponics to grow them and ensuring they are as healthy as they can be gives them the advantage of being able to resist pests and diseases.

 

Disadvantages (Cons)

Startup costs

This is a big one – the thing that puts most people off.con of hydroponics - start up costs

But nowadays don’t let it.

Have a look at the various systems that are available and see how easy it is to put a system together.

Gone are the days where you have to drill holes, cut pipes, be a designer. There are now systems for every type of hydroponics system.

But you are trading time against money.

So if you want to save some money then construct the system yourself.

If you don’t have the time or expertise then buy the equipment – to star indoors i would recommend the Aerogarden.

A nice little countertop system which you can see if you get on with hydroponics or not.

Need a little knowledge

To really make the best of hydroponics you need to do a little research intro how it works.

You need to know a little about water and nutrients.you need a little more information to start hydroponics

With a seed packet and trowel you can start growing in the garden

With a seed packet, an Aerogarden, some nutrient, electric, water you can start growing in the Aerogarden.

Don’t let that put you off.

You don’t need to get too techie, with the Aerogarden the pods come pre-planted, add water , plug it in – tell it what type of plants you have planted and add nutrients.

Now let it get on with it.

You can get well into it with measuring what is going on with your water, temperature, air, humidity and control all of them within a grow room.

So the choice is totally yours as to how involved you get, how much time you can devote to the hobby and what results you want.

Need water and electricity

Unless you are using a system which needs no electricity then this is required for pumps, timers and possibly heaters.

Make sure you comply to all local regulation with your electrical con of hydroponics - need electricityinstallation.

If you have a power outage, dependant on the type of system and length of outage, then your plants may die.

Most of the systems need to move water around or bubble air through the water.

If the nutrient rich water gets too cold then the plants will not use them to grow, so you use a heater to increase the temperature of the nutrient.

The plants will need water and you need to keep the reservoir topped up.

If you let the water level drop too much the nutrient in the water may concentrate too much for the plant and will overload it.

So my rule is just to check it daily and top off with water for the time period of this batch of nutrient.

I keep water in a container so it is at ambient temperature and a little of the chlorine has dissipated.

Dependant on your water, you may need to do more work to it.

Check the pH ( potential hydrogen) and the EC (electrical conductivity) – it takes a couple of seconds and will give you good insights into what you may need to add to your water to get the plants to grow optimally.

The best method is to get a report from your water board to show what is in your water supply.

Noise may intrude

You maybe running a system which moves air or water around.

You may get trickling noises or a 50hz hum from the air pump – even the so called silent ones do make some noise.hydroponics can be a little noisy

With the Aerogarden you can tell when the reservoir is starting to drop as you will hear the circulating water trickling back down, just top off with water and the noise reduces – till the plants use more and you need to top off again.

Noise level are no more intrusive than an aquarium with airpumps and water pumps, so if you have had a small aquarium then you will be used to the noise.

More work to pollinate

If you are growing indoors and you grow anything which needs pollinating you will have to be mother nature.

Getting insects indoors to just pollinate your plants may not be ideal.bee pollinating flower

So using a paintbrush – gently brush the centre of the flower and move onto the next one. same again.

This way you have the best chance of fruiting.

You can look up what the plant needs, some have male and female flowers, some only one type and others like the tomato which are enclosed ( gently tap the stem to pollinate)

But to me it is part of the enjoyment of growing your own plants for consumption, it is not for everybody, but give it a try to see how you get on with it.

Return on investment

With the cost of the system and nutrients it will take time to claw this investment back.

But if you look at the fact you know what you are putting into your plants – the lack of pesticides and herbicides – then this may be good enough for you to have a go.

 If I did it again would I start hydroponics

With all of the advantages and a curious mind I would start again with hydroponics.

If I was strapped for cash I would go down the build it myself route that i have.

If I wanted something to have herbs, lettuce or tomatoes to hand in the kitchen – then the Aerogarden is the way to go.

Can it all go wrong – yes in the same way as it does in the garden, but all you do is to take out the plants, clean it up and start again.

I can thoroughly recommend hydroponics even if you are a keen gardener- with the Aerogarden you get something to play with over the winter when the garden is fairly dormant and you can start your seedlings inside under the lights to get a major headstart next year.

If you are not a keen gardener, but want to try it out then i would recommend a small countertop system, similar to the Aerogarden.

If you like tomatoes, cucumbers, then why not try out the DWC ( deep water culture ) method – essentially growing them in a bucket of oxygenated nutrients outside.

It is a fun hobby and can provide you with fresh herbs and veg throughout the year.

If you have any more pros and cons of hydroponics, leave them in the comments box.

Thanks for reading

Phil

 

Got an Aerogarden and want to take a vacation? Aerovoir Review

Add the Aerogarden reservoir and know that you can be away for up to two weeks without watering.

 

Aerogarden bounty
Aerogarden Bounty – click for more information

Once you have started with the Aerogarden you become addicted to it.

Watching your plants growing quickly, using the fresh herbs in your cooking, to the delight of your family – you don’t know what you did without it. Continue reading Got an Aerogarden and want to take a vacation? Aerovoir Review

Growing Hydroponic Basil – one of the easiest herbs to grow

Basil ( ocimum basilicum) is a plant some of us cannot do without.Growing Hydroponic Basil

Growing Hydroponic Basil means that you get a faster growing, more flavoursome, healthier plant.

Herbs grown hydroponically, cut and added to your cooking will enhance your dishes in a way not experienced before.

Basics

So growing basil in a hydroponics system.

  • What do you use
  • How do you feed it
  • How much light does it need
  • Is there anything else I need to know.

Let’s look at these in turn Continue reading Growing Hydroponic Basil – one of the easiest herbs to grow

Growing Cilantro Hydroponically : How Easy is it?

growing cilantro hydroponically opening Thinking of growing cilantro hydroponically, then you have found the right article to show you how to grow cilantro along with a tip to make sure it is tasty.

Cilantro ( Coriandrum Sativum) is a leafy herb which will grow flowers and produce seed in times of stress.

All parts of the plant are edible, even the root, which some areas of Vietnam use in recipes.

The whole plant is also known in the UK as coriander, but this maybe incorrect as the leaf is cilantro and the seed is coriander.

You can grow Cilantro in your garden in warmer weather, wait till the soil has had the last frost, or you can grow it indoors.

When space is at a premium then it is worth growing it hydroponically to increase the yield Continue reading Growing Cilantro Hydroponically : How Easy is it?

My Experience with the Aerogarden Classic ( Aerogarden long term review)

My find

A number of years ago, I forget how many now, I came across theAerogarden 7 pod unit. Now the Aerogarden Classic.

I was starting to get into hydroponics and had tried a few systems outdoors and wanted a system for indoor gardening.

I managed to find a cheap one on ebay and bought it. Continue reading My Experience with the Aerogarden Classic ( Aerogarden long term review)

Gardening in the Winter Indoors: Beat the Winter Blues

What do you do over the winter?gardening in the winter indoors : bored with gardening

Are you bored as a gardener in the winter?

Want to get out into the garden but can’t?

Dream of the long summer of days to come?gardening in the winter indoors : frozen garden

Why not try gardening in the winter indoors?

It will challenge you to grow something – you never know you may like it

how do you fancy growing crops without soil? Impossible? Nope there is a technique. Continue reading Gardening in the Winter Indoors: Beat the Winter Blues