I like to grow herbs to cook with, in order not to have to buy so much of them from the store. But living in a small apartment with a dog that eats everything under four feet high, and a balcony that gets almost no light even when it is 130°F outside makes it harder than it should be.

I tried hanging my plants at the window, but they still did not get enough light, and my dog can reach (and eat…) the lowest ones. Watering the ones from the top row is also a pain in the ass given they are so high up.

I finally found a good substitute: an automated indoor hydroponics grower, the Aerogarden. This is going to be one of my winter projects.

[ezcol_1half]

Old setup

IMG_3742[/ezcol_1half]

[ezcol_1half_end]

Aerogarden

IMG_3740[/ezcol_1half_end]

  It is pretty big, but it does fit on a shelf. I got this version that accommodates seven different plants, but there are smaller ones. I thought the price was a bit much; fortunately it is possible to find some on eBay and Craigslist.

When you buy a bundle, you also get your first growing kit: pods of seeds, small transparent caps to keep the heat in and make them grow faster, nutrients, a (very) small guide. The duration of exposure to the “sun” depends on the cycle you select, which depends on the type of plants you are growing. The machine will typically be off for about 6 hrs a day, and you can choose at what time it goes off.

A light will tell you when it is time to put more water in the machine, and nutrients need to be added every two weeks. This is supposed to be the only maintenance the system needs, so it does sound pretty good.

I went with the Italian herb pack, and the picture below is what I am supposed to get in about two months. We’ll see!

aerogarden7blk

Image credits: Amazon