Indoor Gardening

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Carolla

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So ... with winter approaching, my thoughts are turning to growing some food indoors this winter. We recently purchased a small AeroGarden hydroponic unit - on big sale at Cdn Tire. A friend has had a slightly larger unit (it has 9 pods) for several years, and loves it - and I've seen all the great stuff she grows, so this was a good opportunity to try it out ourselves. Pictured are the seed pods that come with the unit, an assortment of herbs. It's all automated - pump comes on for 5 min every 25 min; lights stay on 15 hours. The light post is extendable, so as the plants grow taller it is raised to accomodate them. Little lights tell you if water or plant food need to be added. So this is day one!

And we're thinking about growing some salad greens inside too - using one of our other grow lights. Keeping busy and hopefully healthy as the COVID winter unfolds.

Anybody else growing stuff indoors?

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Lastpointe

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That looks like a cool thing

i don’t do indoor gardening, partly because of going to Florida most winters and fresh veggies at our local market are great

but with this strange year I think I should do that too. Thanks for the nudge
 

Carolla

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And Lastpointe - if you get an Aerogarden you can separately purchase a 'seed starter tray' top - for my unit it then accommodates 23 of the 'plugs' (my friend's larger unit takes about 50!) into which you place your own seeds. They germinate very quickly - so it's great for starting stuff for the garden in the spring. Once germinated, you just remove the plug & put it into a regular pot to continue growing until time to plant outside in the garden. The plugs are also available in bulk purchase bags.

Be careful if you order from Aerogarden online tho - it takes you automatically to the US site - and you will pay a lot of exchange and duty also, as well as international shipping. Various places in Canada do sell Aeorgarden - so just a word to the wise.
 

Pinga

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Interesting.

Is it cost effective or just nicer, better?
 

ChemGal

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I have one, very small, only 3 pods. I saw it for sale online fairly cheap. Basil does really well in it, better than trying to grow it any other way I think. Other things don't grow so well when the basil is in there unless very frequent pruning is done. I laughed at Chemguy as he got it all set up in the winter when I really wasn't doing well, I have a basil mix, lime basil, typical basil and mammoth basil seeds. Guess which he choose the first time? I do not recommend the mammoth basil unless one has a fairly large one. Thyme did well, although it's slow to get going. I couldn't get stevia to grow, tried multiple times. It wouldn't germinate most of the time and the one time it did, it died off before getting real leaves. I had issues with stevia from seeds as well, but it was just a low success rate, not a no success rate and I went through more seeds with the Aerogarden. We had another herb in there during the winter, I forget what. Rosemary maybe? It grew, but we weren't pruning the basil enough and it was very slow, stayed small. I do wonder how well it could support a tumbler tomato plant, but that would definitely be a 1 plant only thing.
 

ChemGal

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Interesting.

Is it cost effective or just nicer, better?
It's possible to do hydroponics cheaper, but more work for the initial set up.
After the initial investment, herbs are much cheaper growing your own. On going costs - plant food (herbs don't use much, tomatoes would use much more), seeds, and the little pod things which one can DIY for very cheap if willing to cut some down to the right size and off-brand can also be found for cheap. Haven't had to replace the bulb, that would probably be the biggest expense.

Advantage of hydroponics is ease. Little maintenance. Chemguy does the feeding so I have no idea how often that is. With how dry it gets here we probably go through the water faster, but with it being in the kitchen it's throw some into a measuring cup for easy of pouring and top it up. Done less often than what soil grown basil would need. It's also a nice unit, I have most stuff in the basement.

I almost bought a towergarden, used. A MLM sells them and I know someone who had one. They are nice but large (although small considering what you can have in them). We ended up not due to not being able to figure out where to put it. Decision was it would be in the basement if we had one, didn't seem like the cost was worthwhile, even used.
 

Carolla

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Is it cost effective or just nicer, better?
Do you mean for spring seed starting? Or for growing greens in winter? Re Cost effectiveness - have to factor in the cost of the unit - mine on sale was approx $100 and that was 50% off. The lights are LED so minimal power draw. There are larger ones, some are bluetooth etc. (can't really think why this would be needed - but maybe that 's just me!) My friend started all her annuals (and she grows lots in baskets & pots) this year - so that was excellent; plus all her veggies for her substantial veg garden. Her dtr has one the same as ours - and grows romaine & other lettuce in it throughout the Calgary winter.

In winter, I find herbs are expensive to buy and I don't usually use up a whole bunch before they start going 'off'. So this way - snip as needed. Lots of pruning is good for most herbs - especially basil which we love! LOL to @ChemGal - of course he started with the MAMMOTH basil! Guys!!
 

ChemGal

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A friend has probably the fanciest one. I think it has a remote? If not the lights move with a button. Super nice and I image one of the biggest ones aerogarden makes. I would have issues justifying the cost of it though.
 

Carolla

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I think it has a remote?
Hehehe - it does - she can operate it with her phone! She was away on vacation one year & a neighbour was looking after the house when he noticed with alarm that a red light had come on! What to do? He called my friend & she told him what to do then she reset the notification by phone - he was very relieved! Me - I can barely text on my phone - so I definitely don't need features like that!!
 

ChemGal

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Hehehe - it does - she can operate it with her phone! She was away on vacation one year & a neighbour was looking after the house when he noticed with alarm that a red light had come on! What to do? He called my friend & she told him what to do then she reset the notification by phone - he was very relieved! Me - I can barely text on my phone - so I definitely don't need features like that!!
Mine is an older one, they don't make it anymore. Aerogarden3, very basic. I looked at the site, hers would be one of the farm models.
 

Mrs.Anteater

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I think I am going to do some sprouts in jars this winter.
Indoor plants in general are a problem for the cat- she nibbles on almost everything. She is just recovering from a stomach trouble- I think it was either the catfood or she had nibbled too much on the spider plant ( which is supposed to be safe for cats).
 

ninj

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My cat used to love chewing the ends off the leaves of the spider plant. They always looked ragged. I can't remember if they made him feel poorly.
 

ChemGal

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I think I am going to do some sprouts in jars this winter.
Indoor plants in general are a problem for the cat- she nibbles on almost everything. She is just recovering from a stomach trouble- I think it was either the catfood or she had nibbled too much on the spider plant ( which is supposed to be safe for cats).
I learned something this summer - sprouts seeds have higher standards than regular seeds to reduce the risk of pathogens.
 

Pinga

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Interesting.

I am thinking this might be a good gift for my son and daughter-in-law
 

Carolla

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What do you have growing in yours
Mine came with the basic 6 pod herb kit - Thai basil, Genovese basil, thyme, dill, mint, curley parsley. I have a lot of excellent organic Genovese basil seeds left from the summer and I will replant the pods with some of that when these plants are finished. And maybe some lettuce or greens although I'm hoping those will grow in potting mix under my other lights :)

I think I mentioned upthread that the seed kit often is included with the original purchase (and it includes the plant food too, so you don't need to order that separately). Then when those plants are done, you just peel off the foil top & pop new 'plugs' into the plastic cages & grow whatever you want. Not necessary to reorder the preplanted seed kits.
 
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