Updated: Oct 9
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This week I want to share our new tabletop AeroGarden with you! We are blessed with an incredibly kind neighbor who is over the top for these little gardens. She loves them so much she had a few extra in her back room (now that’s dedication!), and she offered to give us one. We are SUPER excited about growing herbs and maybe even tomatoes and peppers indoors in this little garden. As you can see, there are 9 slots and an adjustable growing light. Nutrients only need to be added once every two weeks, water at the same time (even in summer it evaporates very slowly!), and the plants grow fast - these herbs are about two weeks old in the picture above.
As you can see below, the setup is extremely easy. First we put the seeds in the seed pods (which you can reuse - just get new coco cores and seeds), then put on the sprouting caps. Once the seedlings sprout, take off the caps, and watch them grow! The setup turns the grow light on and off automatically, and it reminds you when to add a capful of nutrients. Who knew gardening could be so simple! I’m hoping with this system, we can have sprigs of fresh herbs to add to a CSA box (if that’s what we end up doing) almost every week! And if we get another unit, I’m going to see how tomatoes and peppers do, especially for when it’s too hot outside to grow them!
Here’s a link to where you can find similar AeroGardens on Amazon, if you’re interested in getting one - they are totally worth the investment!
While we’re on the topic of indoor gardening, we also started working on sprouting what Justin calls our “free plants!” Since we’re looking at planting in October (a month out), the more plants we can grow to seedlings, the fewer we need to buy when the time comes. First off are the seedlings for the Juice+ Tower Garden we have outside. Once it’s under 100 degrees, it’ll be time to transplant, but it is really fun to save $2/plant by starting our own seedlings for the tower. There are 32 slots on the garden, so this project definitely pays for itself.
The process uses rock wool cubes as the growing base for the plants in the aeroponic tower garden. First you soak them in water, then we just put them into reused take-out trays (from George’s Kitchen, our favorite), and put a few seeds in each, per seed packet instructions. Cover everything with a tiny bit of vermiculite, keep wet with 1/4” water in the bottom and within a couple days we had little sprouts! After a couple of weeks nearby the AeroGarden grow light (you can see they lean, so we turn them around daily!), they’re nearly ready to transplant into the Juice+ Tower Garden. We have to start adding some nutrient solution (I’m just stealing a little of the water from the AeroGarden every few days for now) until the temp comes down enough for us to transplant.
Inspired, we decided to see how many other seeds we can start growing. Our neighbor down the street has a moringa tree (the “tree of life” - a super nutritious tree, one of the few that provides all essential amino acids, and a lot of the different parts of the tree can be eaten), so the boys asked if they could have some seed pods. He of course was tickled and gave us as many as we could pull off the tree. The seeds were super fun and easy to harvest, and extremely easy to sprout in some Jiffy Pods. We found putting them in a wet napkin in a plastic bag for a few days first gave almost 100% sprout rate, then they grew rapidly when planted in the pods. Finally, we transplanted over to their longer-term pots, and they are growing like weeds! If we can grow them up to little trees on the side of the house over the next year, we could potentially sell them to a nursery or on OfferUp for a good price! Not to mention we now don’t need to pay for a moringa tree, which is one we want to plant this season!
Last but not least, we have had a few more adventures in plant starting, some successful, some not so much. We had one royal poinciana seed out of twelve actually germinate, two tangerines grown from seed that survived transplanting, and a succulent that has grown some roots in a water dish and is nearly ready to try transplanting. Alas, the Barbados cherry and ficus cuttings didn’t survive the heat, and the verdict is still out on our poinciana cutting - it could be dead or maybe still just trying to root at this point!. But we’re having fun learning and getting to know how our plants work. I think the real key is figuring out how to grow more plants from the ones we have, then sell them once they’re a nursery plant size, right? And doing the FAB 5 program is great because Justin and the Agriscaping team are a great sales outlet to have. If we somehow can’t find enough local buyers, we can sell them to his nursery. It certainly is an idea for side income that has come out of this Agriscaping adventure!
I love that the FAB 5 program is really teaching us to see the opportunity that we never even knew existed before. Our whole neighborhood is a part of the project too - between the AeroGarden donation from our sweet neighbor and the Moringa tree we were able to harvest - this project is giving us the opportunity to start great conversations with our neighbors. And understanding more about how to propagate plants, now I’m looking into my neighbors’ yards, wondering what other great seeds or cuttings we could ask to harvest and try planting!