Although the Aerogarden is a small hydroponics unit, it has a massive power, able to grow 4 times more than its equivalent in soil.
The number of seeds you plant per seed pod in an Aerogarden does depend on the size of the seed and plant. For plants like chives you can plant up to 8 seeds per pod. For tomatoes, plant 2-3 seeds, but thin them.
When you first buy the Aerogarden, you get a preseeded seed pod kit, which you grow. Then, if you are like me, you start to wonder what this unit is capable of growing. So you want to start to experiment with the number of seeds and types of plant. Successful growing will always keep you going , so to reduce your failure rate find out later what i would recommend.
What can you do with the grow anything seed pod kit
Your first crop has come to an end and you want to get going again.
Now you want to try mix the plants you want to grow.
So you look at the grow anything seed pod kit.
You found some plants you want to grow, but can you…and how many do you grow….
For a clumping plant like chives you can grow a number per seed pod without issue, so i would go with up to 8 seeds per pod.
For a plant like lettuce, to get the best out of the pod with your own seeds i would go with 2-3 seeds per pod, this relies on you choosing the strongest and thin (remove) the others by cutting with sharp scissors – leaving one per pod. If you don’t want to thin them out then go with one seed per pod.
Tomatoes, assuming you have chosen a dwarf or bush cherry tomato then 2-3 seeds per pod, again reduce the number of plants to one per pod after they have grown, choosing the strongest, or only plant one per pod.
Basil, chili, oregano, dill again you want to get to one plant per pod, but plant 2-3 seeds.
Notice all of these are above ground plants.
Would i grow root plants, like garlic, carrot, ginger, turmeric, no as their roots would either damage the seed pods or you may not be able to get the crop out.
So there are some limits to what can be grown in an Aerogarden.
One thing you need to do is to keep an eye on the expiry dates on the seed packets, as you only use a few seeds then a seed packet can last a long while – if they are not kept in the dark and preferably cold then the seeds germination rate can reduce drastically- leading to disappointment.
To prevent this replace the seed packs regularly and store them in a dark, cool place.
Using your own grow sponges
So instead of buying a grow anything kit, as you have managed to save the old grow baskets all you need are new sponges and seeds.
Make sure you sterilize the grow baskets before you reuse them, either wash well in soap or in vinegar (1/5 vinegar to water, one cup of vinegar to 5 cups of water).
You can buy the grow sponges separately and use these, knowing they will fit and be the right growing medium for the Aerogarden.
I have tried a few aftermarket products i thought would be suitable, like rootit sponges, but they stay too wet and drown the seed.
So if you are looking for another solution to the grow sponges then there are a few criteria to look for.
It need to fit with air holes ( if you ram a substrate into the grow basket then all of the air pockets may become compacted and not allow the plants roots to breathe).
It must retain moisture.
The newer Aerogardens switch on their nutrient pumps for 5 minutes every hour, this allows the grow sponge to remain damp but not flooded.
The older units pumps remained on all the time, sometimes causing an issue with the grow sponges being too wet for the plants to grow.
What i tend to use mainly now is rockwool cubes 1 in.
They do need a bit of pretreatment before using to get the dust out and to balance the pH.
But they fit the criteria of air and moisture trapping.
After pushing the cubes into the grow basket you need to wash them, getting the dust out – preventing this from being left in the reservoir.
So submerge them in water and agitate them a bit.
And allow them to drain.
Get a pH pen ( they are very cheap and available from Amazon) and mix up some more water, adding some lemon juice till the pH of the mix is 5.5.
Now drop the baskets and rockwool into this for an hour.
Remove and shake to remove the excess water.
Place into the Aerogarden and fill with water, run it for two hours.
You are now ready to plant the seeds.
Make a hole in the top with something like a toothpick and drop the seeds into this.
Remember to check the expiry date on the packets, i have used seeds past their expiry date but the germination rate does reduce dramatically…
And small plants , like chives , place up to 8 seeds per pod.
Lettuce 2-3 seeds, depending on the age and condition of the seeds.
Tomatoes again i would go for 2-3 and thin them as they grow.
If the seeds are loose in the hole, then use the toothpick to gently close the hole.
Set the controller to the best option for the seeds you have planted, it maybe a bit of guess work, but most will work, except the 24 hours – the seeds need to rest just like us.
And now wait….
But I want to plant cuttings
One of the best things about the Aerogarden is that it is brilliant for cloning or growing cuttings.
Growing from seed is good, but you really don’t know what you are going to get.
The parent plant may have adapted to the growing conditions and altered what is in the seeds slightly, so you will not get what you were expecting exactly – it will be close but not a duplicate.
So to get a duplicate you need to take cuttings and grow them on.
This won’t work for all plants, but there are a lot that it will work for.
In my mind, if the plant has a stem that creates nodes ( where the plant will grow leaves or fruit it will be suitable for taking cuttings.
There are some leaf only plants this will work with, some of the succulents, but i have never tried it.
Have available a pot of water, a pair of sharp scissors or cutters to cut through the stems, a pre conditioned grow sponge ( either an Aerogarden one or a rockwool), a knife to slit the grow sponge open and a grow basket.
Having cleaned your Aerogarden from the last crop refill the grow bowl with water and 1/4 strength nutrient mix.
Make sure whatever cutting you choose are about the same height so you can set the grow light pod at the right height for all the cuttings.
Using the scissors cut at an angle just below a node ( the bump in the stem) and place it in the water quickly.
The reason for this is to prevent too much air being sucked up into the stem as this will reduce the likelihood of a successful cutting rooting.
Using the knife, or using the scissors cut down one side of the grow sponge, so that you can open it and put the bottom of the cutting into it.
Close the grow sponge over the cutting and place it into the grow basket.
And place into the grow table of the Aerogarden.
Try to keep the Aerogarden running while you do this so that you get the nutrient flowing over the cutting. Or with the newer models you can press the select button for 5 seconds to activate the pump.
Continue until the grow table is full.
The tops may droop as the cuttings try to establish their roots, but should recover after a few days.
Use 1/4 strength nutrient mix to start with and increase after a week if the cuttings respond.
Set the control panel to veggies on the newer Aerogarden and herbs on the older ones
What can the Aerogarden grow
So you have found out how many seeds to plant in your Aerogarden and how to create your own seed sponges.
And that seeds need moisture, heat and air to germinate, so they need the contact of the grow sponge.
How to take cuttings if you want exact clones and how to deal with them.
What strength nutrient mix to use.
I really hope you manage to grow your own seeds, it give more of a sense of achievement than using the seed kits.
But whatever you do with your Aerogarden…have fun
Thanks for reading
I have been growing plants hydroponically since 2009. For years before that i was reading books and looking at systems and saying ...no way...
But once i had taken the plunge with the tomatoes outside, then there was no stopping me.
I tried out most of the systems and started to refine them, getting the plants to grow more efficiently.
Now I am more interested in indoor hydroponics and the challenges it presents. Being able to control the environment, feeding the correct nutrients and giving the correct length and type of lighting....