Holy Hydroponics!

After several failed attempts at growing an indoor herb garden, I started to give up on the idea that I would have fresh herbs growing in my kitchen during the winter months. My spindly herbs just were not getting enough sunlight. I had two choices; I could set up a grow light system or try a hydroponics system. I went for the hydroponics system – a method of growing plants in water, using mineral supplements, and no soil.

The system I chose was the AeroGarden. Oh, I suppose I could have labored over a more complicated set-up… something involving huge bins of water, hoses, a pump, grow lights, etc., but why? Setting up the AeroGarden was ridiculously simple! This blog is about simplicity. Right? Besides, the thought of my kitchen looking like Dr. Frankenstein’s la-borah-tory gives me the shivers. The AeroGarden is compact, not too ugly, unobtrusive, and works like a dream. Upkeep is minimal. The only thing I have to do is add water and nutrients every two weeks. I don’t even have to mark it on my calendar. The system tells me when it is time to add them. Another nice feature is that the lights automatically turn on and off at the same time every day. Later, as the plants grow, I will have to raise the lights and prune the plants. That’s not a problem, since I will use the clippings for cooking. I’m telling you, this thing practically runs itself!

I seeded my first garden with a cherry tomato, lemon mint, regular mint, Red Rubin basil, globe basil, and Genovese basil. I was apprehensive about growing the tomato alongside the basil and mint because I knew the tomato would grow so much faster. I worried about raising the lights to accommodate the tomato at the risk of denying light to the smaller plants. Even after only 25 days, the tomato is considerably larger than the other plants. I could have waited until the next planting, but my impatience won out. Besides, had I not tried it, I would have wished that I had tried it. So, you see, this whole thing is out of my hands. The tomato is strong and beautiful, by the way. It’s roots are about a foot long and float freely in the reservoir… very cool.

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