Hello! Today, I’ll be discussing a crucial component of every modern hydroponic system: the seed pod. While these pods might seem small and straightforward, hydroponic growth simply wouldn’t be possible without them.
The Aerogarden seed pod is made up of three components. First, there’s the net pot. Next, we have the grow sponge, and finally, a sticker that helps prevent algae growth.
When purchasing the Aerogarden hydroponic system, you can opt for a set of seed pods, with or without seeds. It’s essential to specify your preference at the time of purchase.
The seed pod kit included with the hydroponic system comes at no extra cost. If you’re looking to buy separately, there are kits available that pair seed pods with plant food. Additionally, I’ll be discussing some alternative options shortly.
Once the seed pod is placed in the growing slot, it begins to soak up water. Transparent growing domes are fitted on the seed pods to enhance germination. Once the seed sprouts, it’s vital to remove this dome.
That gives you a brief overview of seed pods. As we move forward, we’ll delve into the finer details and intricacies.
When should I replace my AeroGarden pods?
You need to replace the Aerogarden pods when the life cycle of the plant is complete. In other words, when the plant produces a crop and dies. But don’t be in a hurry to throw away the pod, as it may still be useful to you.
Different components of the AeroGarden seed pod have varying lifespans. For instance, net pots can last indefinitely unless a plant’s roots damage them beyond further use. If they’re still in good shape, you can reuse them—just swap out the grow sponge and ensure the pot is cleaned of dirt and algae.
Grow sponges, on the other hand, are meant for one-time use. This means you’ll need a new sponge each time you start growing a new plant. Essentially, the sponge’s lifespan is tied to that of the plant it houses. There are some exceptions, which we’ll delve into in the next section.
Regarding the stickers, they’re generally considered disposable, mostly because plants tend to damage them.
If you count the growing domes as part of the seed pod, then rest assured they have a long-lasting lifespan.
Can AeroGarden pods be reused?
AeroGarden generally advises against reusing their seed pods, especially the grow sponges. This is because, over time, these sponges can accumulate plant debris and become a breeding ground for bacteria.
However, as mentioned in the previous section, net pots are an exception. They can be reused multiple times.
While reusing sponges can increase the risk of root rot, I’ve personally reused grow sponges without any issues. You can also find instances online where others have done the same.
If you decide to reuse an AeroGarden sponge, gently extract the plant along with its roots from the sponge, holding the sponge softly between your fingers. If the sponge remains intact after this process, it might still be good for another round, but be sure to clean it thoroughly first.
How do you clean AeroGarden pods?
After taking the plant out of the sponge, I move the sponge to the sink and rinse it with running water. During this process, I clear away any root debris from the sponge. Then, I gently wring out the sponge to get rid of the dirty water, making sure not to squish it too hard.
I avoid using a brush on the sponge to prevent damage. I also refrain from using any antiseptics to clean it, believing the chlorine in tap water is enough to disinfect it.
As for the net pot, I wash it using a plastic brush under running water. Just like with the sponges, I don’t use any disinfectants on the net pots.
Can I plant regular seeds in my AeroGarden pods?
You can use any seeds with AeroGarden pods. Simply insert 2-3 seeds into a growing sponge and then put the sponge into a net pot. After that, position the seed pod into the designated hole on the deck.
Ordinary seeds often sprout just as well, if not better, than the seeds provided by AeroGarden in their pre-seeded sponges.
Contrary to popular belief, hydroponics doesn’t demand special seeds. I’ve successfully used regular seeds in my AeroGarden for years. I’ve even grown hydroponic plants from seeds I’ve taken from kitchen vegetables.
What can I use instead of AeroGarden pods?
There are numerous alternatives to AeroGarden seed pods available on the market. These kits typically include:
- Grow sponges
- Net pots
- Grow domes
However, since net pots tend to last a long time, only new sponges and seeds are required for subsequent growing cycles. These alternative grow sponges are versatile, compatible not just with AeroGarden but with most indoor hydroponic systems. Because of this versatility, a wide variety of manufacturers produce these alternative sponges, some of which are listed in the table.
|Price for one sponge
Discussing net pots specifically, there aren’t universal substitutes available. It’s essential to purchase net pots that are compatible with AeroGarden, and a few manufacturers produce pots for this purpose.
It’s worth noting that the net pots from iDOO hydroponic systems aren’t compatible with AeroGarden. On the other hand, Letpot net pots are suitable for all AeroGarden models.
Can I put AeroGarden pods in soil?
Absolutely, you can transplant AeroGarden seed pods into soil. This is a common practice when looking to cultivate larger plants. Just remove the plant along with its sponge from the net pot and plant it directly into the soil.
In fact, many gardeners use AeroGarden hydroponic systems primarily for starting seedlings. Once germinated, they move the young plants to their garden or other containers.
To support this, AeroGarden offers additional growing decks with numerous planting holes. For instance, while the Harvest model comes with only 6 planting holes, you can purchase an additional deck featuring 23 holes for just $22.36, ideal for germinating a larger number of seedlings.
Using rockwool in Aerogarden
Lastly, I’d love to share a fantastic alternative to Aerogarden seed pods: rockwool. It’s an outstanding medium for hydroponically grown plants.
Actually, many commercial hydroponic systems favor rockwool as their go-to growing medium, primarily because of its affordability. When you buy rockwool in bulk, the cost per sponge can drop to as low as 2-3 cents.
I’ve personally been utilizing rockwool with my Aerogarden for quite some time. Here’s how I do it: I cut the rockwool to sizes that fit the net pots. Then, using a needle, I create a small indentation for the seed and soak the rockwool sponge in water. Once that’s done, I place the seeds inside and transfer them to the hydroponic system.
That’s about it! If you’ve got any questions, drop them in the comments. Best of luck to you!