Monday, November 24, 2014

The Indoor Herb Garden Chronicles and an #AeroGarden #Giveaway

When I have time, I like gardening. I like the idea of going outside to pick tomatoes that I'm going to use in a salad. When I don't have time to care for an actual garden, I like to have at least a few easy herbs growing in containers. When winter comes, the herbs freeze, and I get really cranky about having to buy those expensive little plastic clamshells with fresh(ish) herbs.

So when I got an opportunity to try a new AeroGarden (and give one away) I was all over it. I got a model 3SL which is nice and compact and has three spaces for growing herbs (or other plants).

And it makes a nice bright nightlight that turns on and off automatically.

I started the three herbs the kit came with - dill, basil, and parsley - but when it's time to re-plant, I think I might change the options. Maybe some chives. Or cilantro. Or thyme. Or I'll decide later.

But it's not just about me, you can WIN your out AeroGarden 3SL here.

But that's not the end of the winning possibilities.

There is a Grand Prize giveaway hosted on Kitchen PLAY where they are giving one ULTRA LED AeroGarden away each week, for four weeks (4 total).

The ULTRA LED is a larger unit that grows more plants and it's got really fancy LED lighting that looks kind of cool and those LED lights should last longer than normal grow lights. When the ULTRA LED first came out it sold for $349.95, but now you can get it for $299.95 at most places and for $232 at

BUT!!! There's an even better deal for a little while. Costco and are now selling the ULTRA LED for $199.95 and from November 22 through November 30 you can get it for $179.95. Also, check out Slick Deals for another great sale.

So if you want to buy one of those bad boys, now is the time.

If you're not sure how well plants in an AeroGarden will grow, I'm going to be updating this post regularly with photos of my growing little green friends, and I've started a Pinterest board to stash more photos of my plants.

I got my 3SL last Thursday (11/20) and I set it up right away. It didn't take long at all to set up - it's mostly intuitive - really the only thing I absolutely needed instructions for was to check how much plant nutrient to put in the water. Now, I  just have to top off the water as it needs it, and add nutrients every two weeks. And you don't even need to pay attention to that - there's a light that reminds you.

Oh, and once the plants start growing, they need to be pruned regularly. But that's easy, since I'm growing herbs I want to cook with.

I put mine on a table in my front hallway where I have to pass by it several times a day, so I'm likely to check the water level and notice the reminder light. I might move it to the living room, but for now I like that it's lighting up my stairway area. If you've got spare counter space in your kitchen, it would make sense to grow your herbs where you're going to use them. But counter space is definitely one thing I don't have any of.

It looks like this unit is going to be easy to clean - the water tank comes off the base so you can give it a good scrub in between plantings, which is really nice.

Update: 11/24/14
You're not supposed to take the lids off, but I figured it would be fine to take it off long enough to take a photo. This is my basil, starting to peek out of the soil. This morning it was a little green bump. Now it look lumpy, like there are leaves happening.

Update 11/26: Two days later, and here's my basil. It's doing really well!

And the dill just sprouted. It's really thin, but also really tall. It just catapulted.

The parsley isn't showing itself yet, but it's not that it's late. These two sprouted really early.

Basil 11/29/14

Dill 11/29/14
I took its little plastic cap off of it yesterday because it was too tall.

Update 12/2/14
My parsley has sprouted. one day, it was a teeny green spot, and the next day it popped up. It's still small, but it's growing nicely. So far I only see one sprout, but that's all I really need.

Here's another view. I think I'm going to need to thin the herd soon, so I don't end up with too many plants. Or maybe not. The instructions say that the pods can support multiple herb plants, so maybe I'll leave them as is.

The dill is leaning a little because of where the light bulb is. I think when I raise the lights, the dill won't lean quite as much. Or maybe I can turn it around once in a while.

Update 12/3
The dill now is getting the frondy-looking leaves that are typical of dill.

Basil is getting bigger. It was close to touching the plastic dome, so I decided it was time to release it. The larger sprouts are starting to get a second set of leaves.

Parsley is getting taller. Although the other plants have more than one in each pod, so far there's only one parsley sprout so far. It's not yet tall enough to release it from its plastic dome, so it stays under cover when it's not posing for photos.

Update 12/5
Dill is looking very happy, basil is bushy, and parsley is popping up.

Update 12/7
Everything's getting bigger. Here's the parsley. There are two sprouts now, and you can see the second set of leaves on the larger one.

Update 12/9
Everything is growing really well. The parsley has one parsley-like leaf and there are at least three sprouts there. Basil is bushy. Right now, the dill is looking pretty floppy and top-heavy. I'm going to give it another day and then I'll prune the heavy top leaves so it has a better chance of standing up on its own.

Update 12/11
I trimmed the topmost leaf from each of the dill plants and they're better able to stand upright. I also spun them around. Part of the reason for the lean is that the light is a bit forward from them - you can see in the photo that they're under the base of the light, not the light itself - so they're reaching for that light. When all the plants are taller and I raise the light, I think there won't be quite as much lean. Or at least I hope not. But I don't want to raise the light until the basil and parsley are a little taller.

Meanwhile, the basil is getting bigger and it's looking pretty sturdy, and the parsley is getting parsley-like leaves. I'll probably have to trim the dill again at least one or two more times before the basil and parsley are tall enough for me to raise the light.

Update 12/15
I've trimmed the dill several times to keep it from bashing into the lights, but now the other plants are starting to catch up. I'm going to prune the basil soon to get it growing more bushy rather than tall, but I think I'll have to raise the light soon, anyway.

Have you used an AeroGarden? What was your result?

Who's it for: People who want to dabble with indoor hydroponic gardening.

Pros: Has its own light source, so you can put it anywhere.

Cons: Once the plants are growing, you do need to check the water levels regularly.

Wishes: It would be cool if the smaller units could use LED lights.

Source: I received this from the manufacturer through Kitchen Play, for the purpose of a sponsored program.

More info: You can find AeroGarden on Pinterest, and this board will have tons of pins from bloggers participating in this event.

If you want to win the same AeroGarden 3SL model that I have, you can enter here! Contest is OVER.

This post is sponsored by AeroGarden through Kitchen Play. You should know by now that I only write what I want to write. I had a very old-style AeroGarden some years ago so I knew what to expect as far as growing plants, but this unit has some improvements over the one I had before, so I wanted to give it a try.


  1. We mostly use cumin, rosemary, cilantro, parsley, oregano, basil. thyme, (not happy with growing cilantro - it just went straight to blooming with hardly any leaves to cook with)

  2. This garden looks great~I love the fact of my lettuces and own tomatoes YUM.

  3. I love using garlic in almost everything.

  4. Thanks for the updates Donna, I love seeing the progress after just a few days.


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