Growing Herbs Indoors Made Easy

I see lots of people in gardening groups just itching to plant even though it's still cold outside where they live. Houseplants are great but some of us are looking for more. A few winters ago, I found a way to add to my indoor gardening and have delicious herbs to use in my cooking.

You see, some of my favorite plants to grow are herbs. Above is a photo of the herb plants I grow on my deck every summer. See all the trees in the background. They are the reason I grow herbs in pots on the deck. Many herbs need lots of sunlight. Something we are sorely lacking living here in the woods. The front of the deck is one of the few parts of my yard that gets full sun.

And although I would love to bring my herb plants indoors for the winter, we definitely don't get enough sunlight to help them thrive indoors.

So I have pretty much been enjoying the herbs I can grow in the summer and then buying what I need from my local grocery store in the winter.

Until my partner and I went out to lunch one day and saw this lovely indoor gardening wonder on the hostess table.

This is the Miracle Grow Aerogarden. If I had just seen this in a catalog or on-line skeptical me would probably not have bought it. But seeing it in person, actually working for someone who was not part of the company that produced it, made me very interested.

After researching these units a bit on-line I found that there were several sizes depending on how many plants you want to grow - 6, 7, or 9. The units come with a pack of pods that contain seeds already planted as well as the plant food you need for optimum growth. You simply add water and  the food to the base, put the seed pods in the holes in the top of the base and program the unit for the types of plants you are growing.

The Aerogarden regulates the light, circulates the water and lets you know when to add the plant food. These features really appealed to my techie tendencies. You can even connect to some of the units by Wi-Fi. (That was a bit over the top - even for me.)

I did have some other questions though, such as what other seed packs were available and could I buy 'blanks' so I could choose my own seeds. I found that there were tons of options in seed kits like the one on the right. (This photo also helps you to see what the pods look like that come with the unit).

Some of the kits that are available include salad greens, different combinations of herbs, peppers, tomatoes and edible flowers. I also found that you can order 'blanks' and replacement sponges so that you can choose your own seeds.

I don't usually ask for stuff for my birthday - I like 'doing gifts' - like a trip to my local craft distillery or Longwood Gardens. But I loved the idea of this thing so much, I put it on my Amazon Wish List. I'm happy to say that my partner bought one for me. (He really is a great guy!) What a wonderful gift for a gardener during one of the most dreary months of the year.

 

The unit was super-easy to set up. Mine came with pods to grow basil, mint, thai basil, curly parsley, dill and thyme. The labels even tell you the heights of the plants so that you can arrange them from front to back - tallest to shortest. Here's a photo after about 1 week.

Some of the herbs are just starting to sprout under the little domes while others are a bit larger. I took the domes off of the larger ones at about this time and as the other plants grew above the labels I removed their domes as well. 

Here's another photo taken today after 16 days of growth. 

We've had to raise the light to accommodate the plants that are growing more quickly. I'm happy to report that all of the herbs grew big and full and produced more than we could use. Next I am going to try growing heirloom lettuce for some nice fresh greens for salads.

Aerogardens are available on the Aerogarden website at www.aerogarden.com and, of course, on Amazon. I did find a larger selection of colors for the units as well as more choices on seed pod kits on the Aerogarden site
Let me know if decide to purchase one for yourself and how things work out for you. We'd love to hear about your experiences.

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