The AeroGarden may be the best-known hydroponic countertop garden in production. It’s available in a variety of 3-, 6- or 7-pod growing configurations, where each pod is capable of hosting a plant started from seed. The seeds, already planted in growing sponges and housed in well-draining plastic frames, are available in seed kits that can be purchased separately or may, sometimes, be included with the AeroGarden. Since the AeroGarden is a self-contained growing environment, it provides a relatively foolproof way of producing vegetables, greens or flowers in limited space.
Assemble the AeroGarden, if you’re just unpacking it, by plugging the grow bulbs into the lamp hood, then plugging the lamp cord from the base of the unit into the lamp hood. Next, insert the lamp arm into the base, then connect the lamp hood to the top of the lamp arm. Both connections should “click” into place. Finally, set the grow bowl on the base, underneath the lamp hood. Make sure the bowl seats firmly against the air coupling in the middle of the base (if present) and the electrical conductors on the lamp arm.
Lift the hinged cover on the AeroGarden bowl and, using a narrow-spout container, add water until the water level reaches the top of the “Fill to Here” marker inside the bowl. Place grow pods with similar lighting and nutrient needs--ideally, all from the same grow pod kit--in the holes in the bowl cover. If you leave any of the holes vacant--as required by some growing kits--cover them with tin foil or milk jug caps to keep light out of the bowl.
Snap plastic domes--these are provided with your seed kit--over the planted seed pods. Add the appropriate starting nutrients (also included with your seed kit, and clearly labeled with usage directions) in the water. Plug your AeroGarden in to the nearby outlet and listen for the pump to start running. Some versions of the AeroGarden are nearly silent, so you may need to place your hand on the bowl to feel the pump’s vibration, or lift the bowl’s cover to see the water moving, to make sure the garden is on.
Use the AeroGarden’s keypad to select the appropriate cycle or setting for the seeds you’ve planted. Monitor the garden daily, adding nutrients as directed on the nutrient packaging and topping off the water level before the “Water Low” indicator comes on, until the seeds have sprouted.
Remove the plastic domes once the sprouts are big enough to nearly touch the dome surfaces. Each type of plant will require a slightly different type of care, so it’s important that you consult the growing and harvest directions that came with your seed kit from this point on.