Aerogarden Harvest Elite – While we were all in quarantine, we all found things to do. Many of us turned to gardening, which is a broad term that can fit your life, whether you live in a landless city apartment or a suburban home with an acre or more of outdoor space.
There are a lot of hydroponic garden systems, from fancy to simple, that work well enough on your kitchen counter to grow basil, cilantro, and even lettuce, but I wanted to see how well one could grow flowers. So, I turned to the AeroGarden, which is becoming more and more popular. It uses water, air, and LED grow lights to make a better-than-perfect environment for growing plants indoors.
When I ordered our AeroGarden, the Harvest Elite Slim, which is the model I wanted, was not available. I went with the Harvest Elite, which is shorter but looks pretty much the same. Also, as of the time of this writing, nine of the sixteen different AeroGarden gardens are sold out. This can be read in a couple of ways: 1) Yay! People love them, and I’ll do the same. 2) I’m annoyed because I want one and don’t want to wait for it.
In the end, there is still a lot of choice, so you should be able to find one that works for you.
AeroGarden sells seed kits and gardens starting at $70.
Aerogarden Harvest Elite
I bought the 6-pod AeroGarden Harvest Elite garden system, which came with a 6-pod gourmet herbs seed pod kit, as well as three other kits.
Even though the AeroGarden was carried on a ship through bad weather in New England, like a snowstorm, nothing was broken.
I opened the box and found exactly what I had ordered: a 6-pod AeroGarden Harvest Elite garden system, a 6-pod gourmet herbs seed pod kit, and three other kits that I had chosen, including a 6-pod Incredible Edibles flowers kit, a 6-pod lavender kit, and a 3-pod Lots of Dots polka dot plant kit.
After only three days, the Durango marigolds poked their heads out of the tops of the seed pods.
AeroGarden says on its website, “Most plants germinate in 7 to 14 days, are ready to harvest in 4 to 6 weeks, and will continue to produce harvests for up to 6 months or longer.”
After only three days, the Durango marigolds poked their heads out of the tops of the seed pods. After a week, only the marigolds had come up, but they were tall enough that I could take off their little mini-greenhouses.
The rest of the snapdragons, dianthus, and calendula started to grow between weeks one and two, but I wasn’t sure if my garden would be ready to pick at the one-month mark.
In Week 3, my daughter told her remote third-grade class that I was growing a jungle in our living room. She pointed the camera on her Chromebook at the AeroGarden. My little babies had, in fact, grown a lot, and it did look a bit like a jungle.
At this point, I hadn’t done much for these plants except water them once a week. There’s a little window you can look through to see when the water is full.
But once we turned the corner into Week 4, they grew like weeds and drank about a quart of water a day faster than I could water them.
The way it grows is easy and clean.
It’s easy to set up the AeroGarden garden system: Once you take it out of the box, plug it in, fill it with water, and put the seed pods in.
The AeroGarden garden system is easy to set up. As soon as you take it out of the box, you just plug it in, add water, and put the seed pods in. On the Harvest Elite device itself, there is a digital clock that you are asked to set and a daily counter that shows you how long your plants have been growing.
But when I was actually setting up the AeroGarden for the first time, I had to make a few assumptions to keep the process going. I had to sort through partial instructions for setting up the unit that came with the unit, partial instructions for setting up the unit that came with the seed kits, and partial set-up indicators on the unit itself. This didn’t throw me off too much because, for better or worse, I don’t usually follow set-up instructions, but I wanted to make sure I was doing it right, especially for testing.
I set the clock and told the Harvest Elite what kind of plants I wanted to grow. I chose the “incredible edibles,” which include snapdragon, calendula, Durango marigold, and dianthus. I put in the right amount of MiracleGro plant food, pushed the six seed pods into place, and covered them with clear, dome-shaped grow caps that act like mini greenhouses.
Its futuristic look doesn’t go with the way I decorate my house.
The eclectic style of the rest of my house doesn’t go with the sleek look of AeroGarden.
AeroGarden’s Harvest Elite is a sleek machine with simple controls and few extra features. I can understand that. The problem is that it doesn’t go with the eclectic style of the rest of my house. My Christmas cactus loves growing in a white ceramic planter with squirrels on it.
Also, the fancy LED light diodes on the hood of the Harvest Elite make it look like a panel from a spaceship, or at least that’s what I think it looks like, with bright pops of red, blue, and pale yellow-white.
There is a place for this very modern style of design, but it’s not for me.
It’s hard to water with a pitcher because the hood is so low.
When I was watering, the Harvest Elite’s light hood kept my pitcher from going all the way up.
This made me think of trying to water my Christmas tree… You can’t pour in all the water because the stiff lower branches of the tree don’t let you get the right angle. Well, those branches are the hood of the Harvest Elite. When I was watering, I could only pour in a certain amount of water at a time because the handle of my pitcher and my knuckles hit the hood. This made it hard to get a good angle, so I had to make two half-full trips to water it all.
I will say that by Week 5, the plants were so tall that they were pushing against the hood. That’s when I finally realized that you can raise the height of the hood with a little muscle.
At night, the bright lights on the hood can be hard to see.
The LED grow lights from AeroGarden are so bright that they look like the sun. I think it’s too bright.
While the Harvest Elite was plugged in, I didn’t go out for midnight snacks. The lights on the Harvest Elite’s hood are so bright that they make blue light stimulation look bad. Really, it’s hard to see at night, and it reflected on my LED TV screen, which was annoying while I was watching something else.
As for other operational distractions, the unit itself is quiet, except for the occasional sound of water dripping, which could be a relaxing challenger for my Calm app and is very soothing.