Does anyone have any thoughts, or experience with, the Aerogarden hydroponic gardening products? Organic vs. Hydroponics?
You can make one yourself for a fraction of the cost of commercial store bought ones.
For growing herbs or other small items they could have some use.
Hydroponic can be organic so the real question is hydroponic vs soil and conventional vs organic. Organic soil wins imo.
I have several that I've picked up over the years. I typically don't use them in the summer, when I have an outdoor garden. I realize that it takes away from the eating seasonally thing.
I use the aerogardens for small tomatoes and peppers (so far, I have not mucked with other types of small vegetables. It is nice to be able to pick a couple fresh jalapenos or tomatoes in December, rather than buying the flavorless ones from the supermarket that were trucked in from who knows where. I also use them for herbs (basil, cilantro, parsley, thyme, et cetera) and flowers. I use them in the spring to start my seeds for the outdoor garden.
I don't use the actual Aerogarden nutrients, but I do use nutrients designed for hydroponic systems (primarily because I have often have several going at once, and it's much cheaper that way).
I primarily use my own seeds (often saving them from year to year). I occasionally will use a pod or two from an actual aerogarden seed kit, but I have saved the baskets from the early ones. I definitely prefer to use my own seeds for the herbs. My tomato & pepper plants usually last for eight months to a year, if not longer.
If you are going to go the aerogarden route, it makes sense to pick one up from craigslist or find one at a garage sale - the prices on new ones have gone up considerably in the last four months or so.
There's a forum for aerogardens here: http://www.aerogardengrowers.com
Pros: Super easy
Fits in small spaces/apartments
Cons:Costs way more than buying good herbs and vegetables
Has to be adapted to using your own seeds, so you are stuck buying their stuff forever
Lights are Bright!!! Will this affect your sleep at all?
Here is a good topic/review on Chowhound
I want to make this:)
Inside window gardens article and video
I haven't tried hydroponics as an adult, but when I was little we grew cherry tomatoes all winter. It is so not seasonal, but there is something magic about having a living room that smells like the most perfectly ripe tomatoes while it is snowing outside.
Hydroponics are quite delicious, with the exception of tomatoes I love most hydroponic veggies as they taste like the veggie they are supposed to, but turned up to 11 (Spinal Tap reference for you whippersnappers). Lettuce and spinach (and any veggie with a mild flavor) are both amazing when grown hydroponically, flavorwise... but nutrient-wise, I'm still skeptical.
That being said, most of the minerals you get from veggies come from the soil. You can supplement your water with specific minerals, but then you have to take the water ph into account, and you won't have happy veggies if you are off on the ph.
So, hydroponics would be great for herbs in your home, and maybe some chilis if you eat nightshades... besides that I would build planter boxes with real dirt in there.
'organic gardening' is a method of growing vegetables using materials that have not been processed and changed from their original natural state into something chemically produced and that 'hydroponics' was a type of gardening involving no soil and nutrients mixed with water.
As a method, organic gardening can be practiced with hydroponics or with conventional dirt gardening. Therefore, hydroponics systems using chemically produced nutrient fertilizer is still hydroponic gardening but not organic.