Thursday, January 17, 2008

Aerogarden hack #1

You know the deal about buying herbs at the supermarket. You spend $2.50 for a packet of each herb you're using. You use half of it and put the rest in the fridge to slowly rot.

That was the situation with myself and some cilantro. Until I decided. . . to. . . stuff the whole lot in one of the Aerogarden slots! You see, I had set aside the mint module that came with my herb kit as I already have tons of mint growing outside.

The handful of cut herbs filled the hole nicely. I put a little plastic container over them to keep them from drying out under the brilliant grow bulbs. If they actually take root in that nutrient soup---I will be a genius. This could open up a whole new world of possibilities for the garden appliance.

In effect what I am trying to do, is use this device as a substitute for the refrigerator in this instance. With the added bonus of growing more of the herb. It will be great if this works, as Aerogarden doesn't include cilantro in the kits any more as it is too hard to grow from seed.

I also want to see if I can get some lemon or lime seeds started. I don't know if supermarket varieties would be a practical choice for a domestic situation, however.


fridrix said...

I used up that cilantro today; it was on the way out. It didn't root but probably lasted about the same as it would have in the fridge.

Michael said...

The Aerogarden is pretty easy to hack to grow stuff other than their (amazingly expensive) seed packs.

I reuse the little baskets that come with the original seed pack. Just remove the roots from the baskets and put a couple of cotton balls with a few seeds pushed into it into the basket. Instead of the nutrient tablets I use a regular mineral type fertilizer like Miraclegro. Be careful to only use a tiny amount, like 1/4 teaspoon.
When you start it up make sure you set the Aerogarden to the right type of plant, herbs,lettuce, tomato etc.

I have had very good luck with this technique with basil, and I got the tomato plants to grow very well, but not to flower (I forgot to prune them like you are supposed to). The Romaine lettuce I tried grew up fast, but turned yellowish and limp, which is when I found that too much fertilizer is toxic. After I added more water (diluting the fertilizer) the lettuce was looking much happier. I imagine cilantro seeds would work just fine with this method.

fridrix said...

Thanks for the insight, Michael. I have had little luck with cuttings. I need to be more scrupulous about sanitizing stuff. I did just get some of my cilantro (coriander) seeds to sprout in an AG, finally!