What kind of experience can you expect from an AeroGarden Sprout by MiracleGro? I picked one up and put it to the test. See my findings below.
The "Sprout" Comes in 4 Colors
Ease of Setup
The AeroGarden is packaged well and requires very minimal effort to get set up. The step-by-step picture instructions are very easy to follow and the on/off light switch and see-through reservoir window are very nice features for being able to monitor the garden’s needs. Overall, setup only takes a couple minutes to put in the light, add water and nutrients, and put in the pre-seeded grow pods.
This unit comes with everything you need to start growing (except water), including the seed pods and nutrients. It also has a couple key/useful features: The light automatically turns on for 16 hours a day, and there are instructions included on how to set this so it best coincides with your schedule. It's also very easy to operate, with only two buttons to set the light and nutrients. So what do you have to do? Water will need to be added every few days to keep the level stable (as I found out the hard way...). The liquid food needs to be added every two weeks. The good news here is that there's a handy view panel for checking water levels, and the AeroGarden reminds you when to add the nutrients.
So what would I like to see improved?
- LED lights instead of CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Light). CFLs need to be replaced a couple times a year. LEDs are much preferred for plant growth, and will last years and use less electricity.
- Higher adjustment levels for the light. As it stands, the light only extends 10" above the plants. This can be a problem for plants (like dill) that like to grow up fast and furious. I've seen lots of other reviewers complain about this same issue, with some noting that the light burned/killed their plants when they grew too tall.
The good news: The plants grew. The bad news: The growing area is so small you are really limited in how much, and what types of plants, you can grow. All three of the plants that came with the kit (basil / dill / parsley) grew enough in 6 weeks that I was able to get a harvest. As you can see from the pictures below, though, the harvest was pretty meager. Dill probably isn't the best plant for this unit, as it likes to grow tall, and the light isn't high enough to allow for a full growth. Also, each one of the pod spaces is pretty small, which really limits the plant growth. Overall, this is more of a fun grow/science project (that makes growing really easy) than a serious herb garden for people who want semi-regular harvests. If I could do it again, I get a bigger version of the AeroGarden for a fuller harvest.
My kids loved this unit (it was their favorite). They liked the little paper descriptions on each growing pod that explained when the seeds would sprout, and how big the plants would get. They especially enjoyed watching the little aeration bubbles in the water reservoir.
I, on the other hand, was less impressed, and I wouldn't buy it again. For more serious gardeners like myself, this was more of a "one time" operation, as I wouldn't expect that I'd ever get a good harvest from it. I liked the see-through water reservoir better than the other models. I would consider growing just basil or parsley in this unit but not dill. I also find that it's not as aesthetically pleasing as some of the other small hydroponic units out there (especially the "Click and Grow" and Foody Smart 2), which makes it less likely to find a place in my home.
I wouldn't recommend this unit as my first choice as an indoor herb garden/kit. It would make a fun gift for a niece or nephew who wants to explore what it's like to grow a plant, but it's not the most productive for even a semi-serious indoor herb grower, and it's ease-of-use and aesthetics don't make up for its growing limitations.
Buy Online: AeroGarden Sprout by Miracle-Gro – $79.95