Monday, June 6, 2011

Aeroponics

Growing stuff outside kind of sucks, as light and weather conditions are inconsistent, and insects destroy everything. We tried growing some small potted plants in windows but they did not do particularly well either. The use of grow lights helps a lot, but hydroponics/aeroponics seems to be the best for small, fast growing plants. We have 3 aerogardens which work really well as they are small, self contained, and have built-in timers. There are a few problems with the seed kits, which have lots of seeds that just don't sprout. It's easier to just buy a blank kit and use generic seeds. Each unit uses relatively little power (.042kw), so around 3-4$ per month. Replacement bulbs last 6-8 months and cost 18$ for a pack of 3 (actually turns out there are now some newer bulbs available that deliver 30% more light, as they changed the orientation to be horizontal and wider, rather than the triangular/circular old design). Planting kits are ~15-18$ and last 1 year.

Mint, Parsley, Italian Basil, Purple Basil, Oregano, Chives, Dill
The basil and dill grows very fast, but don't really have any use for dill. Chives and oregano are extremely slow growing, not sure if it is the nature of the plant, or because they are so far away from the light source, either way there is not much I can do about it.

Red Lettuce
Lettuce grows the fastest, and is probably the most useful. It can replenish itself every few days. One unit is planted with red lettuce, the other is a mix of romaine and something else. Both are constantly growing into the lights and getting singed.

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