I’m going to review the Aerogarden Extra Elite, an aeroponic system small enough to fit on your kitchen counter, but first a small mention about aeroponic systems!
As i’ve mentioned before, aeroponic systems are the future of hydroponics. In fact i will go as far as to say that aeroponics are the future of gardening period!
While admittedly aeroponics is still in its infancy, the potential is huge. There is no other gardening system in the world that creates results so fast and so spectacularly. Please read my article i’ve linked to above to hear my rantings and ravings.
If you’re unfamiliar with aeroponics then i’ll quickly summarize what it is here, before moving onto the review of the excellent Aerogarden Extra Elite!
Aeroponics is a form of hydroponics! It is soilless gardening. Aeroponics is simply one of the six unique sub-systems within hydroponics. Each system differs by the method in which nutrients are supplied to the roots. Aeroponics therefore has its own way of giving nutrients to the roots. Aeroponics does this by delivering a fine mist straight to the roots within a grow chamber. This mist is heavily oxygenated as well as being in a form that the roots are most easily able to absorb. Because of all this, plants grow faster with aeroponics than with any other hydroponic system. Aeroponics is the gardening of the future, this is how we’ll be growing plants when we’re living on the moon.
So what is the best all round aeroponics system that is presently available? Well i introduce you to the:
This is awesome! That’s all I can say! I purchased this for my mom for Christmas, she loved it so much she went and bought 7 more!
Aerogarden Extra Elite
Lets get one thing straight from the start. The AeroGarden Extra Elite was formerly named the Aerogarden Pro 200! They are essentially the exact same thing. You cannot get the Aerogarden Pro 200 anymore! The reason for this is that there were a few issues with the Pro 200, namely the bulbs. Aerogarden listened to their customer feedback and changed the design so that the bulbs now operate perfectly. The new name Aerogarden Extra Elite is a re-branding and that is what i’ll refer to the system as in this review.
I had my system set up within ten minutes of taking it out of the box! Nice and simple!
What’s Included In The Box Of The Aerogarden Extra Elite?
- Aerogarden Extra Elite unit.
- Mega cherry tomato seed kit.
- Deluxe trellis system. This is to help you train the plants in an upwards direction rather than out or downwards.
- Nutrient tablets.
- Instruction guide.
Aerogarden Extra Elite Product Dimensions
When the grow light is fully extended, the dimensions are: 34h x 18w x 10.5d. This is an ideal size for placing your Aerogarden Extra Elite on the kitchen counter top. If you have a standard sized grow light, you could place two of these units underneath.
If, like me, you live in an apartment or terrace house that never gets direct sun, it is the only way you can grow herbs or tomatoes. That’s why I like this product.
The Aerogarden Extra Elite’s Features
Here are the aerogarden’s features:
Aeroponic mist spray – As explained above, it is this mist which is fed to the plant roots which makes aeroponics just so affective. The roots are kept within the growth reservoir and the spray is continuously cycled around it. Because it is mist and not liquid that is used, even when your reservoir and nutrient supply start to diminish, it doesn’t alter the performance in any way. The spray is also very quiet, you will barely be able to notice it, in fact the entire Aerogarden Extra Elite system barely makes any noise at all.
What you do need to be mindful of however is your mist sprayer becoming clogged. If this happens then your nutrients will no longer be cycled around. The instructions tell you how to clean the sprayer and it’s not hard to do. Simply be mindful of any debris that may end up near the spray nozzle.
Grow light attachment – Other than the mist sprayer, it is the grow light you get with your Aerogarden Extra Elite that really makes the difference. Your plant leaves will love the light intensity and you’ll find that you’re having to raise them fairly frequently to modify for the growth. The lights are so bright in fact that any plants you place around your Aerogarden will also benefit from them. So bright indeed that you simply couldn’t have this in the bedroom. I’ve read reports about people’s basil growing so well under the lights that they’re having to trim the leaves on a constant basis.
I will point out that you’ll need to replace your Aerogarden Extra Elite bulbs about once every 9 months. I’ve heard reports of bulbs lasting for over a year. However the bulbs will lose their intensity over longer durations. The bulbs for all three Aerogarden systems that are available are the same and you can get them from the Aerogarden website or you can ring the customer care line.
Seven grow slots – This is fairly easy to explain. The previous Aerogarden had only six slots, but the Aerogarden Extra Elite has seven. It is slightly larger to accommodate this (as well as having a light that raises much higher). This enables you to grow up to seven different plant varieties in the same system.
However i shall point out that the best idea is to plant seven of the same crop in a single Aerogarden. The people that get the best results are the people that do this.
Automatic timer function – This function is basically a dial on the front of your Aerogarden Extra Elite that you set depending on what you’re growing. So for example, if you’re growing tomatoes then you set it to tomatoes. This way the machine knows exactly how much light to give the plants, what intensity the light should be and also how frequently the spray will mist the grow chamber. You literally can set it and forget it!
Water level indicator – This is so that you can tell how much water you have in the system without having to check from the inside. I’ve heard reports however that this function can be a little inaccurate. In any case, if you really want to get the best out of aeroponics then you should want to test the pH of your nutrient solution every couple of days. You should then use up or down solution to modify the pH accordingly should it deviate too far from your desired levels. However, in any case, you should ideally completely change your nutrient solution every two weeks to keep it fresh. So i for one do not use the water level indicator.
Energy efficient – The Aerogarden Extra Elite is relatively energy efficient compared to other hydroponic systems. When the lights are on at full intensity and in conjunction with your spray, you’re looking at about 60 watts.
Well there you have it! The Aerogarden Extra Elite also comes with a one year warranty. There are a number of places you can buy one from, the cheapest place you can get the AeroGarden Extra Elite from is on Amazon. Amazon also does free shipping on this product.
If you have any questions regarding the Aerogarden Extra Elite then please leave them below!