tanyaviola(5b)August 24, 2006

Since I won't have any outdoor space for my gardening this year....I need to do it indoors.

Has anyone heard of the "Aerogarden"? It's an indoor gardening system...very small and doesn't need much work. Just wondering if anyone has one or knows someone who has used it?? It seems like a pretty good deal for someone who doesn't have much space/money and needs to garden indoors.


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Hi tanyaviola,
The company I work for sells (or about to sell) this system. They have one set up in our area where the phone calls (orders) come in etc. it is small and expensive, but it does work I can tell you that for sure...right now it's growing lettuce and it looks every bit as the picture does. The plants are very healthy and bushy. I would have to think though for $149.00 etc how many heads of lettuce can I buy instead. But on the other hand I guess it's all part of growing something yourself. Not sure I have answered your question or not...bottom line is that it does work!...period the end

Big Al

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 10:07PM
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Thanks so much! It's good to hear that. Yes, it's expensive, BUT, it's a lot cheaper than buying a whole setup for hydroponics with trays and lights and whatever else you need, although it doesn't hold a lot. Oh well, what can I do? I wish they'd make one that could expand..where you could add more kits on the bottom.

Thanks again for the response.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 11:37PM
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I've done some digging on the web to see what is offered in the way of hydroponics and there is quite a bit. Most of the stuff is modular, meaning that you can easily start small and scale up over time.

I have however caved in and just ordered the AeroGarden with its master gardener kit to use as a seed starter. Yeah, it seems expensive, especially since you're locked into buying repeat kits for about $40.00 when you go the next round of seeds. Starting up with an expandable hydroponics system could well cost as much or more, depending upon what you do.

As you can tell, the AeroGarden will be my first forray into the hydroponic landscape and I just want to see what it does and accept its non-scalable, 7 seed cup limitations. Maybe after getting my feet wet, I'll bend and start tinkering with more flexible components of a modular system.

Heck, this is what happens after 50, you stop flying airplanes and climbing back into the mountains and instead, start planting seeds out on the patio. It was that or start building model train sets or piecing together puzzles. The seeds won out.

I anticipate problems, most likely with sensitive root systems which when it comes to transplanting time, will cause all efforts to start some seeds hydroponically, to fail when transistioned to soil. And then too, there are those really tiny seeds and spores. I can just imagine them being washed away by the sprayers in this hydroponic thingie.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 11:53AM
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tanyaviola, hydro setups can be very cheap if you don't
buy a pre-fab system from a compay. One classic style is
the flood table system. Some 4" or 6" diameter thinwall
pvc pipe, 200-300 gallon-per-hour fluid pump, 20-30 gallon
reservoir, and a timer form the basis of an inexpensive
hydro system. Check out the "hydropinics" link from this
website to see one in action.....

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 6:13PM
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I saw one at the store the other day. I was not impressed at the value for the price tag. The lighting is only 2 65w compact fluorescents with a reflector (and not a very good reflector at that.) A sunny window sill will provide a lot more light. It can't grow much. It's a toy, not a practical solution. I like toys, but I don't think it would satisfy a frustrated gardener at all.

And while it has nothing to do with the quality of the product, as a person who is typing with mud on her feet and dirty fingernails, I was less than impressed by the advertising about how it was so wonderful because it had no dirt. :)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 7:06PM
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jenjenoh(z5 OH)

I have two and I like them for growing greens during the winter months. I grew enough swiss chard, lettuce, and spinach to feed my husband and I a salad every other day or so. I removed the seeds that came with it and seeded it with my own. Despite what the company insists, it can be done. Now that it is warm enough, I am storing the aerogarden and growing greens in self watering planters out on my deck. When cold weather rolls around again, I will be using the aerogarden again though. I just need to find a good hydroponic solution to use with it.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 7:56PM
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I have 2 of these: one growing their salads kit and the other the strawberry plants kit.

Don't be fooled by the small bulbs, the lighting is bright, it provides the equivalent to 1450 lumens. So wherever you place it, put it somewhere where the brightness won't bother you since it's on for about 16 hrs / day.

The salads kit has been rather ideal, very low maintenance and I'm not fighting dirt and slugs. We had our first salad (for 2) after 3 weeks and then about a salad a week (for 2 again) with leaves harvested here and there for sandwiches. And well, we do like the novelty of harvesting directly to our salad bowls without rinsing first.

I'm currently disappointed with the strawberry plant kit. I don't know if I'll get any strawberries, too long to get into right now.

Our local Bed, Bath and Beyond is now carrying these, and we tend to get 20% coupons in the mail often. So I am expecting to get my supplies there and well, if we do purchase anymore, we'll most likely go for the 20% discount.

Come the peak of our summer, I hope to be growing spinach in one, it seems to bolt so easily here, even in containers chasing shade.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 6:44AM
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bomber095(z5b MA)

My fiance and I have it on our wedding registry at Linen's N Things, but I will be shocked if someone gets it for us at $249.

I can say that I want it very badly though

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 7:34AM
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I'd be shocked too! The suggested retail is $149.00. The cost of the Master Gardener Kit is $39.00.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 11:14AM
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I agree. If you spent a little time putting together your own with simple parts and grow lights which are inexpensive, you can have your own for far less money and a larger area.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 11:24AM
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I just received my AeroGarden from UPS, just 30 minutes ago and have unboxed it and put it together. It went together easily enough.

Folks might want to know that the TV special from AeroGrow, International, Inc. will cost them the suggested retail of $149.95 + $19.95 for trying it out and they'll be charged shipping and handling too. True, they will get a couple more seed kits to try. I got mine from "My Secret Pantry" on the web for $149.00 and free shipping and it included a couple free gifts as well.

But I'm with JenJenoh who wrote above that she doesn't care what the company says, she can reseed the pods with her own seeds. Now that I have a seed kit in hand, I can see the truth of that. It's just a piece of SPONGE!

I think the real reason folks will spring for this thing, beyond the kitchen appliance desire, is because it is a small footprint device and will allow them to start seeds indoors. Piecing together a modular hydroponics system may well demand much more space, to the extent of needing to be set up outdoors or in a shed or garage.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 3:55PM
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kellyrie(z5 ME)

I love mine - I have had it since Christmas. I have just grown herbs in it so far. It is very handy and takes up little space on my kitchen countertop. It will never take the place of my outside garden but I really don't think that is the point. It is awesome to be able to have fresh herbs in my kitchen during our long winters though. I do agree it is a bit pricey- but it has only been out a relatively short amount of time. I imagine it will come down in price eventually. Just my 2 cents...

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 4:40PM
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I love the look of these and really, really want one. My birthday coincides with the end of the growing season, and I just may have give some really big hints to keep me in fresh produce (albeit in small amounts.)

About piecing someting together - I really doubt I could make it look as nice as the Aerogarden. It has a pleasant design, and I have no clue whatsoever about hydroponics, or the materials to build something. So there is the learning curve of reading about, shopping for, and then building (with no shop or tools) the thing, versus pointing and clicking and having it delivered up my 4 flights of stairs to my door. Given my situation I would definitely choose the latter!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 5:14PM
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I have one that I received as an X-mas gift. I was thrilled with it until I found out the price of the unit, and the price of the seed kit's. I was upset that the person who gave it to me wasted their $$ on it considering the units capacity and limitations. I've seen the infomercial a few times and can only conclude that it is alot of hype.

I have grown the Herb kit that came with it, and it did fine, with the exception that the chives didn't do well, the parsely was leggy, and some of the herbs like mint, I don't care for. I tossed those Herbs when I was sick of them.

Next I planted the Int'l Basil seed kit. It has been very vigorous in growth, but for $20.00, not worth it, and I doubt that it will produce $20.00 or more in Basil.

I got to thinking about growing seedlings for my outside this year, and learned alot about doing so from research here on the GW. I ordered some imported Italian seeds for Tom's, Peppers, and Herbs from in early March. I started the seeds in peat pellets on top of my fridge 3/31/07. As soon as they emerged, I put them under a pair of 40W dual bulb "floro" shop lights on a cheapo timer for 16 hrs/day. All I can say is wow! All of those plants grew fantastic!....They are in my garden now and thriving. The shop lights cost me less than $25.00 with bulbs.

I planted the seeds for the herbs at the same day as I set up the AeroGarden Basil kit. I found that the herbs I started from seed(basil, flat leaf parsely, and oregano) grew at the same rate as the AeroGarden, if not better, and were sturdier plants with better heftier leaf development.

Get some shop lights and save your money.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 3:05AM
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I have stated that I bought the Aerogarden as a first forray into hydroponics with the hope of 'seeing' what it's all about and learning something, perhaps, before going further and building something more modular and scalable. My primary motive is and has been 'seed starting' or germination of seed.

I haven't planted anything in my Aerogarden yet, because I am waiting for the master gardener kit and a seed order from Thompson-Morgan Seedsmen, but looking through the materials, the most intriguing thing is that Aerogrow International provides with the Aerogarden, 1) Starter Nutrient Tablets, 2) Sprouting Nutrient Tablets and then 3) a larger supply of Growth Tablets.

One of the most frustrating problems I think you'll all agree, is getting seeds to germinate. Some seeds germinate quickly and through eugenic selection in agriculture, these are prevelant in many basic food seeds, I suppose, Tomatoes, Peppers, etc. Other seeds are quirky and 'imbibation' (getting water on the dried dormant seeds) is not enough to trigger germination. Temperature and light in particular play major roles in getting the seeds to start. But other more subtle factors may play into the drama. When I first started my hand at getting some plants going from seed, my love for more exotic plants had me dealing with some seeds that I knew in advance from reading up on them, would be stubborn. I also came across mention of Gibberellin or Gibberellic Acid (GA), the plant hormone which stimulates germination. I can't help but equate Aerogrows Starter Nutrient tablets to possibly having GA in them. Going further, there are two other plant hormones that we should become aquainted with, so called rooting hormones, Indole Butylric Acid (IBA) and Indole-acetic acid (IAA) which influence growth, leaf and stem elongation or size and the primary inhibitor hormone, Abscisic Acid (ABA) which is described in some cases as a stress hormone in plants and is responsible for ripening of fruit, leaf fall in Autumn and can inhibit germination due to factors such as insufficient imbibation, and other intolerable factors such as temperature or lighting not condusive to plant growth.

So I wonder then if Aerogrow's, Starter Tabs have Gibberellin and their Sprouting Tabs are touched with rooting hormones? It would figure in a new technology like hydroponics that these hormones would be manipulated.

I have thusfar only been able to identify that Miracle Grow provides a product, specifically available for rooting hormones, but have yet to find any mention of a specific product available for obtaining Gibberellic Acid, for example from Home Depot, Orchard Supply, etc. Of course, if you can obtain these products, there is no need to do hydroponics per se'. You could apply them directly to seeds in soil. Hydoponic nutrient mixes likely include them, but also need a larger set of the essentials upon which plants must thrive, the stuff they obtain from the soil itself, Minerals, nitrogen compounds and other things.

Anyone who can enlighten us on this, have at it. I would particulary be interested in hearing about the additives that go into a modular and scalable hydoponic setup as a comparison against the Aerogarden's nutrient tablets, which for this discussion only hint at use of GBA and rooting hormones.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 7:41AM
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I hear all of you who say to save your money and just buy shop lights, but they aren't all that pretty, no offense. Even those fancy $500 light carts are far too utilitarian looking for our space. Since I don't have a basement or even a spare room, these things have to be in my kitchen/dining room where I will be looking at them all the time. I'm no Martha Stewart, but I still want it to be pretty! That's just me. So I am one of those suckers who will spend the money (well I haven't yet, but I want to!) for convenience and looks.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 3:33PM
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Well, I've heard people say over and over again how cheap it is to build your own hydroponic system and all the while had this image in my head of some huge spreading system, even though I've seen pictures of more or less stand alone boxes.

So let me help people out who are as new to this as I am; I found a nice simple web site, complete with drawings that beautifully explains quite a bit and is appropriately named "Simply Hydroponics" at

Go there and check out the system types they depict. It's almost like a history lesson.

There are 2 types of system, media based, where the plants are actually rooted in a substrate, such as sponge, rock wool, coconut fiber or perlite, etc. and water based where the roots just dangle in the water. There is also air-based, if you consider an Aeroponic System. I think I prefer the media based in Rock Wool as it seems appropriate for moving and transplanting the plants to the garden without undue stress to root systems.

It appears that the absolute simplest system would be a water culture system, a tub full of water with an aquarium air pump running in it to oxygenate the water. The plants float on top, seated in open bottom pots which are floating in slots or openings in a piece of floating styrofoam. All you need do is keep the nutrient levels up and every now and then, add water and/or drain and clean it to prevent problems with pathogenic problems that might injure your plants. That's simple and inexpensive!

The Ebb and Flow set up looks to be a problem not because it introduces a pump, but because the tank must be drained after flooding and through some sort of control mechanism which at its simplest is you, the gardener. The Wick system seems to have a similar complication and NFT, well, that looks more like a drip system where the water drips on a film where the roots touch, instead of directly onto the plants.

The Drip System which BTW the Aerogarden is a drip system, seems practical. There's a pump that pumps nutrient rich water up to the plants where it falls away back into the water reservoir to be repumped. You can stick an aquarium air pump in there too ... why not. More interesting, the pan above drains by gravity and need not even be a tank. It can be tubing with cuts into which each plant and the nutrient/water feed tube runs and the tube itself, is a drain back into the reservoir. This can indeed be a cheap solution costing less than a new Aerogarden and being more open to many more plants. The most expensive parts would be the water pump and possibly a timer to turn it on and off.

In every case, lighting is optional. That is, if you set it up outside in sunlight, you might not need to invest in lighting. If you set the system up inside, you'll need it.

The last example, the Aeroponic example, is supposedly best for large root items like trees and shrubs, but can be used on smaller plants as well.

I think but am not sure yet, that cloner boxes use aeroponics and if so Ameritech has some interesting products. Ameritech's Daisy-8 is as low as $66.00 for eight plants and is a small footprint item suitable for the counter top in the kitchen - by Golly! Ameritech's Power Cloner 45, 70 and 165 are larger, but still small foot print and range can be obtained on average for about $300.00. These systems apparently mist the roots of plants with the nutrient solution and recycle the drain-off.

So yeah, there are cheaper ways to go and that Daisy-8 is still an attractive item, but for about 1/3 the cost of the AeroGarden. And it even includes nutrient or rooting solution. The Ameritech boxes are propogation boxes designed for rooting cuttings or starting seeds, kind of what I wanted to do all along.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 6:50PM
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I was seriously considering an Aerogarden when I lived on the 8th floor, but then I wound up buying a house with a sunny, sunny back yard and decided I didn't need one. Now I'm considering one again just to grow lettuces and spinach and the like during our long, long, LONG, hot, hot, HOT summers. My lettuces survived 3 frosts in February, and then bolted in late April after a few hot days. I'm also considering doing trays of potting mix put under the lights I use for my African violets. Does anyone have an idea whether or not lettuces or mesclun would have enough root room in 4 inch deep trays? These would be "cut and come again," not trying to grow head lettuces. This is such an interesting thread!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 9:06PM
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All right! I just couldn't wait for the master gardener kit to arrive!

So I carefully took the Mint, Italian Basil, Purple Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Parsley and Chives seeds out of their seed pods and put them into sealed labelled envelopes and then refilled each pod with some of the toughest to germinate seeds I have ...

Two of the pods got Gingko Biloba Seeds, just small enough to fit and having been kept in the fridge to fake winter for three weeks.

Two other pods got seeds from Streletzia Reginae or Bird of Paridise.

Two other pods got seeds, one from Heliconia Shiedeana and the other from Heliconia Latispatha.

And finally, the last seed pod got a couple seeds from a tree that I alrady have some germinated sprouts from, but want more, Jacaranda Mimosifolia or the Blue Jacaranda.

Uncerimoniously, I crossed my fingers after plugging in the pods and adding the starter nutrient tabs and turned it on ...

Stay tuned to this thread for further information on BearState's break all the rules and do it your own way attempt to germinate some pretty tough customers in an AeroGarden using a Gourmet Herb Seed Kit.

Yep, I used to build plastic models without reading the instructions too!

Aren't I a stinker?!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 9:29PM
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Update: Cloners like Ameritech are Aeroponic devices. I was just alerted to an even cheaper one from Agritech, 42 plant sites for just $159.00. Wow! And these are stand alone boxes with no hoses to hook up, nothing but an electric plug ... though lighting is recommeneded.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2007 at 2:42PM
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I have two aerogardens, one with herbs and one with salad greens. They look really cool (ok I'm a computer geek and like gadgets) and they grow amazingly fast. I have a side salad out of my greens every other day at this point, and am looking forward to fresh salad in winter.

Here is a link that might be useful: my aerogarden photos on flickr

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 3:27PM
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I just bought one 3 weeks ago after eyeing it for nearly 7 months and am in total love with it.
I can never get my lettuce to grow outside because something keeps eating it and then the heat is horrendous on it.
So am growing the salad greens and it grows fast! I am on week 3 and just this past week it has tripled from what it started at week 2.
I am eventually going to buy another. I like to garden outdoors but this is so nice to have right in the kitchen and is so pretty on the counter:)
Aero Customer Service is amazing too.
I know it will never replace my outdoor gardening but it is a nice compliment IMO:)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 4:32PM
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Anyone tried the deluxe aerogarden? Can you really grow full sized full-sized tomatoes and bell peppers with this?

Here is a link that might be useful: Aerogarden Deluxe

    Bookmark   January 9, 2008 at 10:41PM
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My aerogarden was a most wonderful addition to my kitchen! So much so that I now have a greenhouse.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 1:33AM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

I don't know if this will help anyone here or not but some years ago I grew plants hydroponically in lecastone also known as 'PrimeAgra'. (see the link) At the time I was interested in growing ornamentals such as orchids and rare gesneriads for competition. Mostly, I grew under lights. Plants that were ordinarily very tempermental thrived in lecastone culture.

Lecastone is completely inert, pH neutral, attractive and reusable. You can use them over and over and they don't degrade. I knew one fellow that even started seeds and cuttings in them but I never tried that.

I bought my lecastone from a company called CropKing in Indiana in 1989. I don't know if CK still sells them but they do sell hydroponic supplies. After growing hundreds of plants in them over time, I still have them. There are many companies that sell them these days so prices may vary. Obviously, the more you buy, the less they cost. One source I saw recently sells 50 litres for 20$.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2008 at 10:46AM
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I have an aerogarden. I think it's really cool. There is an upgrade (or more expensive version) now that lets you grow larger plants. The ordinary one, it's not that you can't grow anything you want, it's that most plants will get too large. their seed kits are basically special hybrids mostly that are very small. You prune the main stem to get things to bush out a bit. I grew the hot pepper one. I forgot to prune the top thing (was traveling when it was time). the result was they got too tall and started burning on the lights. We took them out and plunked them in the garden, quite unceremoniously and in the middle of the heat no less. I expected all of them to die. They didn't. About half survived. Unfortunately I wasn't really crazy about the taste of the half that survived, but that's a personal thing.

They have a new 'seed starting' thing that is allegedly 70 tiny containers for seeds... it is convenient that it has an adjustable light already. The thing is, the container spots look quite tiny and I'm not sure how easy it is to get them out again without damaging the plants, their own website page has very little info on it frankly. So I probably will not use it for seed starting. Right now I'm not using it at all. I want to get some shop lights, since I now have a 4-flat heatmat, and grow on a shelf out in the garage.

I think for people who have counter space, and/or who have a ton of money for their wall mounts, and who really really have a thing for fresh salad veggies in particular, it's probably pretty cool. To me it is more of a novelty, like sharper-image-goes-kitchen, than a serious gardening tool.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2008 at 4:32PM
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LOVED the post by bearstate! I did the same thing when I got my AeroGarden as a birthday gift this Monday (sans the tough-to-germinate exotic seeds). I have many of the herbs that came with the AeroGarden already growing in my outdoor herb garden, so I tore off the seed pod labels and emptied the seeds into little envelopes for later. Then I refilled each pod with different lettuces to start. I have to agree that the Starter Nutrient Tablets have to have some rooting hormone in them because my already easy-to-germinate seeds germinated by the second day. I'm looking forward to a mixed mesclun and black seed simpson harvest. AeroGrow sells a lettuce kit, but it seems silly to spend $20 on what I got for $3 in seeds.

HOWEVER, what will I do when I want to plant new seeds? I doubt the little sponges will be intact after one use. Has anyone tried a hydroponic potting medium with the AeroGarden pods? I read in another post someone else was planning on cutting their own sponges. Could it be that simple??

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 8:29PM
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I'm bumping this up in hopes of getting an update from bearstate. I actually bought the master gardener set to try hard-to-start seeds and a lot of them are ones bearstate mentioned.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 3:31PM
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If you are just looking to start seeds, there is a much cheaper option. I ordered the seed-starting biodome from park seeds and all of my veggie seeds have blossomed into seedlings. This works, and costs a lot less. Here's a link, just click on seed starting-

    Bookmark   May 16, 2008 at 6:42PM
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I just had my aerogarden 2 days back and have created an aerogarden community at there you can share photos, swap seeds and most importantly swap tips and tricks about modding your Aerogarden !

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 7:14AM
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