Recently, thanks to the generosity of a neighbor who was downsizing, I received an Aerogarden as a gift. In former years, I had seen this heavily advertised on television, but because I am a skeptic who never believes anything in an advertisement, even though I was curious, I had never bothered to shell out the big bucks required to buy one. However, as soon as I received this one I was ready to put it through its paces, and after just a few weeks, I am ready to report the results!

Credit: Public Domain

I ordered the heirloom lettuce kit to start off with, and the kit arrived in good time. One plant did not start out well but eventually grew; the other lettuces grew quickly and I was harvesting leaves every few days in three weeks. I really liked the selection of lettuces, but I would have been happier if I had seen how they typically grow first, because I would have planted them in a different order. The leaves are so fresh and tender I like to eat them without any salad dressing at all.

The Heirloom Lettuce kit includes two pods Black-Seeded Simpson, one of Deer Tongue, one of Firecracker, one of Rouge d'Hiver, one of Marvel of Four Seasons, and one of Parris Island. Three of these lettuces are red-leafed.

The Aerogarden itself works very well. It fits on my countertop and doesn't make a lot of noise. Small red LED lights flash when it needs attention (once a week for water, fortnightly for water and nutrient replenishment). In addition, you can grow many plants in a very small space, even if you live in the tiniest of apartments. I think it looks adorable and makes a great addition to my kitchen, as well as being a great conversation piece!

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Ultra Indoor Garden with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit
Amazon Price: $249.95 $200.00 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 24, 2015)
The Aerogarden is a hydroponic growing system which allows you to grow plants without soil, and without any of the major hassles associated with gardening.

Perfect for someone who has very little spare time to take care of plants, the Aerogarden is a great system for growing plants; whether for food or flowers, the plants almost take care of themselves!

What to Expect

Most plants will start to put forth leaves in about three days. Aerogarden will replace any seeds that do not grow. So far, I haven't had any problems, but it's nice to know.

There are a number of accessories you will probably eventually want to try. In addition, you can use the Aerogarden as a seed starter kit, or grow your own seeds with their sponges and baskets. There are numerous combinations of herbs, peppers, tomatoes, lettuces, and flowers, so it's possible to customize your setup.

Some of the most useful accessories are the one-gallon reservoir (lettuce takes a lot of water), the syringe for measuring nutrients (although you could use anything that measures 8 ml), and the trellis system.

If you order from the Aerogarden website, and sign up for email, you will get email at least daily with special offers. You may want to avoid signing up if you have trouble managing your emails. Also I find it pesky, because one kit is supposed to last three months, and I can't possibly need another kit yet, according to Aerogarden!

The cost to run the Aerogarden is about the same as running a 60-watt incandescent bulb, so it doesn't run up your electric bill as much as you might think it would. There is now a model that uses LEDs, so that would be even less expensive to run, and the manufacturer claims that plants grow faster with LED lights, too.

Front View

Planted on Christmas Day, Photo on January 18
Credit: Copyright 2014 by classicalgeek. All rights reserved.

I planted this kit on Christmas day. Here is the result on January 18, three and a half weeks later. I love my Aerogarden!


I already had to harvest a bunch of leaves (enough for a beautiful garnish of fresh greens on my dinner plate) because the plants are getting too big. I'm about to raise up the light after just three weeks to accommodate all the new growth!

As of January 25th (one month after planting), I had to raise the light twice, and harvested more than 40 leaves from the plants.

Side View

Planted Christmas Day, January 18 (side view)
Credit: Copyright 2014 by classicalgeek. All rights reserved.

Here is the side view of the same kit and same plants, on the same day, January 18.

How Easy is it?

You fill the bowl with water, add 8 ml of liquid nutrient, and push the seed pods into holes at the top. If you have an older model, as I do, you will have to push the pods in with a little force. Put the little plastic domes (included) on top of the pods, and wait. In a few days the plants will have sprouted, and you take the domes off. After two weeks you'll have to start replacing water and nutrients, but it's quite easy to do so. If you are growing plants with high water needs, you'll have to add water (use filtered water) more often, but you don't have to worry about overwatering, and with the reservoir, you can rest easy; just refill it when you see the water level getting low.

When the plants start getting big, you can harvest about a third of each plant. (As you can see from my pictures, it's time to harvest them again!) Keep doing this until the plants die, or until you get sick of growing the same thing and want to try something different. Although the plants are guaranteed for three months, many people say they continue to grow for much longer.

In short, this is the laziest thing I've ever done that actually worked!

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Grow Anything Kit (1-Season)
Amazon Price: $17.95 $13.39 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 24, 2015)
Yes, you really can grow any kind of plant in your Aerogarden! If you have already ordered a kit, save the domes and baskets, as these are reusable, and just order the growing medium that fits in the baskets and the labels.
You will want the trellis system if you plan to grow anything that typically grows pretty tall. For certain plants, you might want to use this as a starter system before transplanting them to your garden.


If you have an older Aerogarden that takes the fluorescent bulbs, you don't have to buy expensive and proprietary replacements from their web site. Instead, get a set of light bulb adapters that allow you to use standard base bulbs. You can even order LED grow lights for them, and you'll have the same advantages as the very expensive Aerogarden LED Ultra system.

I also lined the base of the Aerogarden with shiny silver radiant barrier material, which reflects the light back upwards underneath the leaves. I had much better growth than without it.

Set of 2 Grow Light Adapter - fits All AeroGarden6 and AeroGarden7
Amazon Price: $19.99 $8.79 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 24, 2015)
This set of light bulb adapters allows you to use standard-base bulbs with your Aerogarden 6 or 7, instead of the very expensive bulbs (plus expensive shipping) from their website. Well worth the price!
Lvjing High Power 6W E27 Base Led Grow Light Bulb 360 Degree Lighting 28Red, 15Blue SMD Led Corn Light for Indoor Plants Garden Greenhouse Hydroponic System Kit
Amazon Price: $9.97 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 24, 2015)
With the adapters, you can turn your older Aerogarden into a LED powerhouse, and while you probably won't save much money, your plants will grow much better. These fit in my old Aerogarden 7, although they took a little finagling to get them in.


For sure you will want the Aerovoir, a one-gallon reservoir that will water your plants for up to a month unattended. With this accessory, you are really into low-maintenance gardening! If you're serious about hydroponics, there are other items such as pH meters, Total Dissolved Solids meters (for measuring the amount of nutrients in the water), and many other accessories.

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden AeroVoir Watering System
Amazon Price: $39.95 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 24, 2015)
No hassles with watering with the handy Aerovoir reservoir system. In some cases, you can go a whole month without doing anything but harvesting your herbs or vegetables. A real timesaver for people who are super-busy!

Yes or No?

Absolutely yes. In addition to having fresh, organically-grown food, available all year long, the Aerogarden is good for the environment, too. You can't get more locally-sourced than your own countertop, and your food won't have been transported thousands of miles in a gas-guzzling truck or ship. NASA studies have shown that plants clean and filter the air (indoor air is usually far more polluted than outside air), and this device makes growing plants, any plants, a literal breath of fresh air! I can't promote this system strongly enough.

Update: my local hardware store had a sale and I just acquired the Aerogarden 6 for $49.97 (it came with a herb package). It will be some time before I am ready to set it up, but it included a seed starting system as a bonus. I am going to try it to see if I can start some of the seeds I have had trouble with in the past.

I harvested all my heirloom lettuces, which outgrew the container, and cleaned out the Aerogarden, and started my salad greens kit. This time I "hacked" my Aerogarden by putting foil on it to reflect more light, and so far the results are good!

Word of advice: before you plant, head to your local liquor store and pick up some box dividers, cover with foil, and place them between the aerogarden plants. Or head to your dollar store and pick up a foil splatter shield or disposable roasting pan and cut apart to make dividers between the plants. You can also skip the expensive Aerogarden-brand Mylar reflective screen around the outside, and make one with a disposable foil roasting pan or splatter shield constructed with heavy aluminum foil. The plants won't crowd each other as badly.