Monday, January 7, 2013


Don't worry, despite the title, you won't hear about that, "One weird trick to make your lettuce EXPLODE!!"

 I will add assorted tips here when I get them. For now I will edit sections in this post, to build it out.
Some of these come from the AeroGrow instruction sheets, some from online forums and others from personal experience.

  • Soak your sponge in the same water you will use before adding seeds and before planting. If you have an AG seed kit, soak it in the same water+nutrient solution you will use for growing. Again, before planting.
  • If using a "Grow Your Own" kit, after sponge soaking, try to get your seeds to embed a little in the sponge, as opposed to just laying them in there.
  • Do whatever you have to to get that dome off the pod BEFORE your plant leaves contact it.
  • Essentially, once you have leaves that are out and above the pod label, you can pretty safely remove the dome. It is there to promote initial germination.
  • It really does help, apart from some herbs, to have your grow lights on during the day and off at night. I recommend either activating your unit around 6:30am the first time, or around 10:30pm. If the latter, refer to the AeroGarden Usage Guide for help with causing your unit to think it is the "end of the day". Lights off at 10:30pm and on at 6:30am.
  • Pre-mix your nutrients and your water, as appropriate for your plant type,  in a gallon jug for periodic refilling to keep your tank water where it needs to be. (From "ocarolina" on AeroGarden Growers)
  • Whenever it is time to add a full pack of nutrients (ADD NUTRIENTS light activates), siphon off the entire amount of water in your tank and replace with fresh water/nutrient combo. See SIPHON section below.
  • With the 6 and 7 pod Aerogardens, be mindful of the nutrient levels if you are not maxing out your pod usage. The AeroGrow supplied packs are pre-measured assuming that all recommended pods will be used. For the first fill up, use the amount recommended for full pod planting. After that, use 50-60% of that amount. Please note, though, that this is not necessarily true with the bigger plants like tomatoes, etc. In an AG7, only 2 pods are used, by design.
  • Get a thumb tack and use the point to ensure that the scored areas on your pod labels are actually separated from each other.

  • NEW When cleaning your 6 and 7 pod AGs, after growing a large root system plant (like tomatoes and peppers), be sure to take apart the underside of the grow deck and get into the water channels. You do this by unscrewing the underside from the upper side (about 10-12 screws) and pulling the two layers apart. Guarantee you there will be a lot of roots up in there. I recently pulled about 2' worth after growing both pepper and tomato plants in my AG Extra.

  • Be careful with the place where the hood cord plugs into the hood. Especially when you lower the hood almost to the bottom. The cord plug binds a bit against the telescoping hood arm, causing it to bend at a significant angle. I tend to prop my plug head against the top of the lowest section of the arm. 
Lowest post setting, bending hood power cord
Cord propped on post ring.

  • The area under the grow deck is a maze of tubing and water channels. These will interfere with some of your plant pods and may require the arms of those pods to be trimmed accordingly. I suppose you can probably manhandle them into place but I found it easier to trim the lower portions of 2 or 3 of the arms.None of my sponges have fallen out, though your mileage may vary if you use non-AG sponges.

  • By day 5 or 6 you'll likely want to remove your domes. Of course, use common sense when dealing with pokey plants.
  • If you are filling 5 or fewer pods on an AG7, use a full 8ml pack for the initial planting. After that, use the 5.5ml packs, or go for 4-6ml if you are administering nutrients from bulk.

  • There are 2 tubes: short but hard and long and flexible.
  • The short tube goes into the AeroGarden tank. The longer one goes into the receiving bowl.
  • Make sure that the squeeze bulb is screwed on firmly but not over-tightened.
  • Begin squeezing the pump until you get some liquid in the receiving bowl. Once you do, make sure that the end of the longer hose stays under water. This will help pull the tank water into the bowl.
  • You'll also want to keep the shorter tube under water in the tank.
  • I'm not sure about this but I left the unit plugged in and the pump running while I removed the water.

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