AeroGarden is one of the favorites on the indoor hydroponics market. However, the products of this company are not the cheapest and in order to optimize costs people try to reuse pods.
You can use rockwool instead of AeroGarden sponges. This is the cheapest and most effective alternative. You can also use sponges from other manufacturers and it works well.
Next, we will look at all the alternatives available and how to use them correctly.
1 Urban Leaf Grow Sponges
I’ve been using Urban Leaf sponges instead of the original AeroGarden ones for some time now and they work great for me. The first reason I preferred them is the price. They are almost half the price of the AeroGarden sponges.
Also, their undoubted advantage is that they are made from coconut coir. At the same time, other sponges are made of peat moss, which is a bit detrimental to the environment.
The shape of Urban Leaf sponges is slightly different. They are less cone-shaped, but that has almost no effect on use. They fit nicely in the net pots from AeroGarden.
Overall, I’m happy with this alternative as the plants grow just as well as they did in the original sponges. The roots fit through the pores of the Urban Leaf sponge with ease and I have never had any problems.
2 Park Seed Grow Sponges
The second alternative is the sponges from Park Seed. I have used them several times and have had great results.
The first advantage of Park Seed sponges is that they are softer and more spongy than the original ones from AeroGarden. This allows the roots to get through the sponge better and the plants grow a little faster.
Park Seed makes several sizes, but the 60-cell size sponges fit best. They fit almost perfectly in the baskets. They are cone-shaped and angular instead of round. But this does not affect the growth of the roots.
As for the price, they are a bit cheaper than the AeroGarden sponges, but not as much as the previous alternative. In general, you can save a little money with Park Seed sponges and sometimes get even better results.
3 Vic VSEE Grow Sponges
The next alternative is Vic VSEE. This is a Chinese manufacturer that makes sponges for growing. Overall it is a pretty good product and you can use it in your hydroponics. It fits nicely in AeroGarden baskets.
The definite advantage of these sponges is the price. It is the lowest of all similar products. So if you want to save money, Vic VSEE will help you do that very well.
However, there are a few difficulties with the use of these sponges. First, they have to be soaked in warm water. If you do not do this then the sponge will not work and will remain hard.
Second is that even a well-soaked sponge sometimes does not allow the roots to penetrate it. Seedlings as if squeezed out of the sponge. To correct the situation, the sponge must be cut lengthwise on one side.
In general, Vic VSEE sponges work and they are quite cheap. However, you have to be prepared for a success rate that is noticeably lower than in the previous two cases.
I have been using rockwool for hydroponic plants for years. It is the most inexpensive and affordable alternative to sponges from AeroGarden.
For those who do not know rockwool is a product that is made from stones. It was originally designed for thermal and noise insulation of houses. However, it is very often used as a medium for germinating seedlings and growing hydroponic plants.
One piece of rockwool can be used to make a huge number of sponges for growing. This makes their price very low compared to other sponges.
Plants grow great in such a medium and do not get diseased. In addition, rockwool is not capable of damaging the AeroGarden or any other hydroponic system.
How do you use Rockwool in AeroGarden?
First you need to buy a piece of rockwool. You can buy pre-cut cubes for germinating seeds. But it is better to buy construction rockwool because in the end each piece will be very cheap and you can make a piece of any shape.
Using a sharp knife, cut off the number of pieces you need. The piece size should be no more than half an inch across and up to 3 inches long. At the top end of each piece, make a small hole with a nail or awl. This is where you will place the seeds.
Place the pieces in water for a while. When they are wet place them in baskets and put the seeds in the holes.
That’s it place the baskets in the hydroponics and put the humidity domes in. After a while, you will see the seeds sprout.
People also ask
Can you use regular sponges in AeroGarden?
You cannot use regular sponges in the AeroGarden. An ordinary sponge, even though it has pores, is quite tough and it will be very difficult for the roots to penetrate it. As a result, the plant can not develop fully and will remain small.
Also on a regular sponge sooner or later mold will appear. This will definitely lead to root rot and the plant will die.
Can you use regular dirt in AeroGarden?
You cannot use regular dirt in the AeroGarden. Regular dirt is a crumbly material and it will quickly be washed away by the hydroponic system’s water.
As a result, the pump may fail and you will lose your warranty on the unit. Also, the roots will be left without a medium and the plant will only be held on the netting pot.
What is AeroGarden sponge made of?
AeroGarden sponges are made from Canadian Sphagnum Peat. This medium is organic and prevents the development of root rot and slime because of its antibacterial properties. It holds water very well and does not produce a mess.
Most alternative sponges are also made from sphagnum peat. Only Urban Leaf makes its sponges from coconut coir.
Can you use coco coir in AeroGarden?
You cannot use regular coconut coir in your AeroGarden because it is crumbly and will quickly clog all the channels through which water flows. Instead, you can use coco coir sponges, which are made with special technology and do not crumble.