Author Topic: Fresh basil and tomatoes in the middle of winter - Aerogarden  (Read 909 times)

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Offline pz

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Fresh basil and tomatoes in the middle of winter - Aerogarden
« on: November 05, 2013, 11:52:45 PM »
I know the topic Aerogarden has been mentioned a few times, but no home photos, so I thought I'd post a few in "action".  We have been using the tiny hydroponic garden units for a few years for fresh pizza ingredients.  We have them spread all over the house, and in addition to the fresh ingredients, we find them useful for the following reasons (the grow lights automatically cycle on for 16 hours, then off for 8 hours):
  • One is in our bedroom, and we use it for a silent alarm clock - the lights come on at 5am, which is when I like to rise - they have never failed to awake me in the years we have used the unit
  • The other 3 units are spread throughout the home, and cycle at various cycle times so it looks like someone is up and about - serves as a criminal deterrent while simultaneously growing the plants.
In the pics we have:
  • All different types of basil
  • Cilantro, dill, chives, parsley, and a couple more basil plants
  • Cherry tomatoes, yellow and red
  • Red heirloom tomatoes
These plants are two weeks old from the time of planting to now
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Online TXCraig1

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Re: Fresh basil and tomatoes in the middle of winter - Aerogarden
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2013, 08:37:10 AM »
What are the little plastic cups for? What are the dimensions of the units?
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Offline derricktung

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Re: Fresh basil and tomatoes in the middle of winter - Aerogarden
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2013, 09:25:28 AM »
It's been awhile since I used my own Aerogarden, but if I remember correctly, the little plastic cups go over the seedling pods until the plants get big enough to grow out of them. 

Having attempted to grow my own batch of basil indoors, the Aerogarden is definitely FAR more effective... makes me want to start a aeroponic or hydroponic garden in the basement...

I'm reminded to only handle one project at a time though by my wife.  ;)

Online TXCraig1

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Re: Fresh basil and tomatoes in the middle of winter - Aerogarden
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2013, 09:48:21 AM »
They sell hydroponic basil at a local grocery store, and it has very thin and fragile leaves and no flavor. Anything you can do to grow it better?
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Offline stonecutter

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Re: Fresh basil and tomatoes in the middle of winter - Aerogarden
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2013, 10:06:36 AM »
I'm sure you will get great satisfaction from growing vegetables and herbs from seed...I know we do.

In CT we had a basement seed garden in the winter.   There were 4 multilevel shelves about 6 ft high, each level had shop lights with ordinary florescent bulbs on a timer for the primary light source, since the three basement windows were not enough .  It was great to have established plants to put in the ground on Memorial Day ( the designated safe time in CT) and we always had plenty of herbs ready for pizza and grilling...veg for salad and sides. 

   
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Online TXCraig1

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Re: Fresh basil and tomatoes in the middle of winter - Aerogarden
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2013, 10:33:42 AM »
I'm sure you will get great satisfaction from growing vegetables and herbs from seed...I know we do.

In CT we had a basement seed garden in the winter.   There were 4 multilevel shelves about 6 ft high, each level had shop lights with ordinary florescent bulbs on a timer for the primary light source, since the three basement windows were not enough .  It was great to have established plants to put in the ground on Memorial Day ( the designated safe time in CT) and we always had plenty of herbs ready for pizza and grilling...veg for salad and sides. 

I was just asking if all hydroponic basil had no flavor or if there was a way to grow in hydroponically where it was similar to soil-grown.

I'm picking tomatoes when you are planting them.  ;D
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Offline pz

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Re: Fresh basil and tomatoes in the middle of winter - Aerogarden
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2013, 01:27:31 PM »
What are the little plastic cups for? What are the dimensions of the units?

derricktung is correct - they act as a mini greenhouse to keep a moist environment while the seeds germinate and delicate seedlings grow a bit (can tend to be a bit dry in winter).  My wife had just taken the little domes off and placed them by the side of the plants - they will be removed now as we no longer need them.

The footprint is relatively small - approximately 18 inches long x 10 inches deep x 12-20 inches tall (telescoping light fixture on some units allows plant growth to a significant height)

They sell hydroponic basil at a local grocery store, and it has very thin and fragile leaves and no flavor. Anything you can do to grow it better?

The basil tastes really good - I think better than the fresh basil you can purchase in the small packets at the grocery store - the leaves are thicker as well.  Because of the variety of basil species (Lemon, Thai, Napolitano, Marseilles (French), Genovese (Italian), Globe and Red Rubin) most of which are not readily available, growing is well worth the effort - they each offer distinct flavors.  Along with the seed pods comes the liquid plant food that you dump in when filling the unit with water.

We usually do a couple of plantings through the winter - the second planting will also yield herbs and tomatoes as did the first, but these we transplant outdoors in the spring when it warms.  We did that last year, and just now as the snow is beginning to fly are we out of tomatoes.  The flavor of the tomatoes grown entirely indoors is comparable to those that spend the summer in the dirt outside - I just love to pick the plentiful fruit directly off the vine and pop them into my mouth for a burst of tomato flavor.

The one thing we have noticed after doing this a few years is that the plants outside in summer regularly are much more bountiful.
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Online TXCraig1

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Re: Fresh basil and tomatoes in the middle of winter - Aerogarden
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2013, 02:09:33 PM »
The one thing we have noticed after doing this a few years is that the plants outside in summer regularly are much more bountiful.

It's hard to replicate sunlight.
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Offline pz

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Re: Fresh basil and tomatoes in the middle of winter - Aerogarden
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2013, 02:29:52 PM »
Indeed; also the intense summer heat is what really helps fruiting and maturing.  It is just too cold in winter for the plants to be very happy, and prohibitively expensive to heat the house that high  ;D
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Offline stonecutter

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Re: Fresh basil and tomatoes in the middle of winter - Aerogarden
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2013, 03:52:03 PM »


I'm picking tomatoes when you are planting them.  ;D

Not anymore you're not.   

We have been living in South Carolina for the last 4 years...veg all year long.
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Offline stonecutter

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Re: Fresh basil and tomatoes in the middle of winter - Aerogarden
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2013, 03:55:53 PM »
........... Anything you can do to grow it better?

Yeah....fill the tray with good planting soil.  :-D
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Offline Surffisher2A

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Re: Fresh basil and tomatoes in the middle of winter - Aerogarden
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2013, 11:24:20 AM »
I used an aero garden for a couple years, I was impressed with the quality of the basil i was able to get out of it. It wasn't as big and bushy as my outdoor basil, but the flavor and etc was on par with it. Unless you have multiple aero gardens or step up to a hydroponic farm I couldn't get enough yield out of just my aero garden to keep up.

Offline pz

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Re: Fresh basil and tomatoes in the middle of winter - Aerogarden
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2013, 01:34:19 PM »
... Unless you have multiple aero gardens or step up to a hydroponic farm I couldn't get enough yield out of just my aero garden to keep up.

Yes indeed; we currently have 4 and just purchased their newest version, an LED unit - comes with an herb assortment pod packet.
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