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Posts Tagged ‘aerogarden’

Ever-mindful of the fact that the freshest ingredients make for the tastiest meals, and always on the lookout for products that are economical and can be re-used, the line of AeroGarden hydroponic indoor grow-farms had always piqued my interest. Last year, I got a small one like the one pictured at right, along with two herb seed kits. The results? Well, let’s say that the pictures AeroGarden provides (like the one at right) should be sub-captioned “Results not typical.”

Any foodie worth a pinch of salt would be gaga over the idea of having thick, never-ending bunches of organically grown basil, dill, or thyme at the ready year-round. Well, I was, anyway. And justlookat it! Lush, tall, bursting with aroma and freshness!

Sadly, though the seed “pods” are guaranteed to grow, my first pod of thyme didn’t. And if I thought I was going to be able to rip off stalks of basil for weeks on end, I was sorely mistaken. Another realization was that these plants were no more “organic” than anything I might buy at the grocer’s, because every week I was dumping the contents of a nameless, unspecified “nutrient pack” into the water.

After a month, I was able to get two stems of basil for an omelet. A week later, I could get another stalk, maybe two. After eight weeks of growing, I had only collected as much basil as I got in one $2.99 plastic pack from Safeway. And the Italian parsley? Ha!

So, cost-wise, it was a bust. A $17.99 for a three-pod herb pack only produced a fraction of the herbs I could buy at the grocery store for around $8. It was also a bust by way of quantity; it never produced enough to supply herbs for two meals, much less enough extra to dry.

In short, a disappointment on every level.

My recommendation? Buy fresh herbs at the store, when you need them, or go down to the hardware store and get a 4-inch plant that might give you a second crop. Fresh is worth it, but the AeroGarden is more toy than utility.

k

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