A lot of people are interested in whether the Aerogarden can be considered organic or not.
When you add the nutrients are you pouring chemicals into the reservoir?
Well I am here to give you my research and opinion on this important question.
So lets get started.
Is the Aerogarden organic?
What do we mean by organic?…is it the popular concept of no pesticides, herbicides or artificial fertilizers.
Well you don’t use pesticides or herbicides in the Aerogarden…unless you get a problem pest and then you need to do something.
I have suffered from spider mites. – they are a pain and apparently once got it is a case of management rather that
getting rid of.
So for that I am using neem oil. – A natural oil pressed from the fruit and seeds of the neem tree. – A quick spray every two or three days and there is little sign of them now.
It was an outbreak that alerted me of their presence and their fine spidery webs were all over the plants.
Ok so I am using a pesticide, but it is a natural one.
So as far as I am concerned it’s organic.
And then we move onto the nutrient.
Is it organic.
Do you picture the company having big vats of organic matter animal or vegetable decomposing out the back.
Waiting till there is a liquid run off and bottling this.
It is a method, but an uncontrollable one.
You don’t know the concentrations of any of the elements or whether you need to add any of the micronutrients to help your plants grow.
But this is the NOP ( national organic program) method of certifying an organic plant – where the nutrients are created by microbial activity- they don’t seem to care whether the plants grow healthily or are full of goodness for you.
So the next best method, which in my mind is still organic, is to use mineral salts.
Aerogrow use all natural minerals dissolved to create a nutrient mix which covers all of the macro and micro nutrients.
And as talked about in the pH article a small reservoir is a nightmare to keep the pH stable over time, and plants like a stable pH.
Miracle gro add a pH buffer to the nutrient concentrate to keep the ph stable and your plants growing happy.
The actual mix is proprietary information, so it will be difficult to replicate and I have experimented with other two part nutrient types and got decent results, but the pH does go off a bit occasionally.
But the Miracle Gro nutrient concentrate is a blend of natural minerals with a pH buffer to stabilise the pH over time and provide all the hydroponic nutrients for the life of the plant.
So what does this do for the plants.
With all of their food and water requirements satisfied, it is a bit like a top athlete having a top chef preparing their meals for them – they stay in optimum condition.
Your plants will grow healthier with all of the goodness are supposed to have – so you get up to 200% more vitamin C in Aerogarden grown lettuce ( excellent for keeping you healthy as well).
And the freshly grown and picked veg have all of their antioxidants, vitamins and phytonutrients rather than store bought veggies which may be lacking due to the degradation over time.
Your family may eat more really fresh salad or herbs due to the time invested in seeing them grow and wanting to ‘try them’.
So can the Aerogarden be certified by NOP as organic – nope sorry, due to the fact that the nutrients are minerals rather than elements made available due to microbial action – does anyone really want that sort of smell in their house?
But due to the fact that all the minerals are natural and the plants get all the nutrition they need, the ‘waste’ solution can be poured onto your house plants to help them.
And the fact that all of the goodness and freshness and low food miles means that your plants are probably even better for you than store bought organic plants, due to post picking degradation of vitamins and anti oxidants.
They can be classed as naturally grown rather than organic in NOP’s eyes.
So what would you prefer.
Do you think any indoor hydroponics plants can be classified as organic through NOP?
Or do you think that will be reserved only for gardening with soil?
Let me know below.
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....