The AeroGarden garden is a self-contained hydroponic system that automatically monitors water levels, light duration and solution pH, taking a lot of the work and uncertainty out of hydroponic gardening. It is an appropriate hydroponic garden for a beginner or for the gardener who wants a small kitchen herb garden. Success with this system reveals the possibilities of hydroponic gardening and may encourage you to experiment with other systems.
Starting the Seeds
Place the AeroGarden seed pods into the seed wells in the order recommended on the diagram. The recommended placement allows each plant to get optimal light and space. Leave the label on the seed pod. The seedlings will grow through the hole in the center of the label. The label protects the roots and nutrient solution from the light. Once the seeds germinate, remove the clear plastic dome from the seed pod.
Watering the AeroGarden
Water the AeroGarden to the fill line, but not above, with room-temperature water. Whenever the water level gets low, the water level indicator light blinks to alert you. You do not need to wait for the light before watering. In general, water young plants every week and mature plants every two to three days. Use city tap water or bottled distilled water. In areas with well water, softened water or hard water, such as in Florida and the southwestern U.S., use distilled water.
Monitor Light Height
For best growth, keep the light level approximately 1 to 2 inches above the top of the plants. The light should not touch the plants. Leaves that are crisp or brown are burned from being too close to the light. Plants that need to be closer to the light will be elongated with smaller, light green or yellow leaves.
The plants need to be the approximately the same height to get the best light. Light pruning by pinching off the top of the plant will encourage branching and keep the plants at about the same height.
When flowers appear on any of the herbs, remove them immediately, the herbs will grow bitter after flowering. Cut the flower stalk off about halfway down the stem, just above a leaf set.
Wash Away Bugs
Occasionally aphids or other bugs may find their way to your AeroGarden. If you notice bug or see evidence of infestation, turn off the unit, remove the entire pod from the base and hold it upside down in the sink. Wash the bugs away with a gentle steam of water. Wipe the unit surface down with a disinfectant and replace the pods back into the AeroGarden. For larger plants, remove the seed pods from the unit, prune away the infested leaves and wash the foliage with a solution of castile soap with peppermint. Repeat again in a week.
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