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Self-sufficiency is a very fulfilling goal for so many individuals. While the word may conjure images of farmers in bib overalls, eating a full harvest you grow is more accessible than ever. Even if you live in the heart of a metropolitan city, growing your healthy food is within your reach.
How To Clean AeroGarden: Tips and Tricks
Hydroponic gardening is an effective way to grow plants rapidly and efficiently. This cultivation technique utilizes mainly water and a precise growing environment. Unlike traditional gardening, the soil is not the primary material for growing hydroponic flowers, vegetables, herbs, etc.
AeroGardens are a convenient and exciting way to grow fresh herbs, vegetables, and more. Buying anAeroGarden is a simple way to introduce the hydroponic approach to your lifestyle. You can enjoy your freshly-grown produce at home in only a few months.
The most important tip to remember when cleaning your AeroGarden is that it should never be wholly submerged. Because this indoor hydroponic garden has electrical components, the base should only ever be surface-cleaned with a damp rag or sanitizing wipe.
An AeroGarden needs water, lights to promote photosynthesis and generate heat, and a little space. Some AeroGardens need only your countertop in available real estate! But, cleaning these appliances can be a unique challenge. Read on to learn how to clean your AeroGarden.
How Often Should You Clean Your AeroGarden?
Your AeroGarden should be cleaned every time you start growing with new pods. Because hydroponics depends heavily on water, mold and algae problems can quickly get out of hand if the unit is not properly cleaned.
Every gardener should completely clean and disinfect the AeroGarden after a crop finishes. Developing this habit is essential for any thriving crop grown in this hydroponic system.
Algae blooms are common and completely normal in your AeroGarden. Any time light and water interact this slimy substance forms. Other nutrients like nitrogen and carbon dioxide occur when plants grow to combine to provide the perfect algae environment.
AeroGarden sells plant spacers to remove the gap between your seed pods and the water below to reduce algae growth. Spacers like these are handy, but algae are not harmful to your plants. The biggest issue with algae is that it simply looks gross and can begin emitting an odor.
Mold is another potentially harmful substance growing in a dirty AeroGarden. Harmful molds can quickly infect and kill any of your plants. It is also unpleasant to have dangerous molds interacting with the air you and your family breathe. Black or dark molds should be removed.
White molds are often found around the growing sponge and are helpful byproducts of the growing process. These organisms usually grow in wet, humid conditions. However, some beneficial molds will support a healthy ecosystem within your hydroponic indoor garden.
You can choose to remove these mold growths for aesthetic reasons. Carefully wipe the white mold areas away with a Q-tip. Other growers sprinkle cinnamon on the mold to shrink it naturally. Remember, these new organisms will not harm you or the plants growing.
Plants will display a few signs growing is complete, which is the perfect time for a comprehensive cleaning and disinfecting procedure. You can also simply refill and replace the water during the growing cycle of your plants.
Of course, dormancy is easy to spot in plants that no longer produce fruits or vegetables. Also, if flowers appear within your lettuce or on the tips of herbs, the plant has switched from growing to trying to reproduce.
These examples are telltale signs that a plant is becoming dormant and is no longer growing or producing. These plants will have bitter or unpleasant produce. It is best to throw the plants out and start over with a new crop.
If you decide to start a new AeroGarden seed kit without cleaning the system, your healthy plants can suffer fatal consequences. A hydroponic system that allows plant residue, mold, algae, and other materials to decompose can introduce harmful bacteria and pathogens into the plants.
The hydroponic system is sustained with precisely clean water. It is vital to provide clean water that adheres to specific water chemistry metrics. Proper water used in AeroGarden measures a slightly acidic solution of between 5.5 to 6 pH. Distilled water fulfills these properties nicely.
For this reason, it is essential to be careful with a bleach solution, whether on the grow deck inside the large plastic bowl. You might consider a softer or more natural cleaning solution, especially if you are just trying to get rid of something like a mineral buildup.
Warm water or a quick vinegar bath with a clean towel works well for easy cleaning, but wipe everything down afterward with a dry towel.
However, once material grows in the cultivation area, the pH level and salt content will also change. Polluted water can cause adverse effects on the plants growing in the AeroGarden, leading up to the eventual death of the plant.
In addition to thoroughly disinfecting and cleaning the AeroGarden after the plant dies back, cleaning the water reservoir monthly is an excellent idea. Even if you have plants actively growing, you can safely remove and exchange the water without damaging the crop.
How Do You Empty AeroGarden?
It may surprise you how quickly the water becomes murky in an indoor hydroponic garden. Within only a week or so, the distilled water will transition to polluted water. It is crucial to regularly refill the water in your Aerogarden to support robust and consistent growth and healthy air inside your home.
AeroGarden offers a simple procedure and specialized tools to make refilling the water for your hydroponics quick and easy. The company describes their rinse and refill method here as their preferred method to quickly and easily replace dirty water in the basin regularly.
Routinely emptying the water reservoir prevents the growth of harmful bacteria and other pathogens. Diligent rinse and refill, which AeroGarden claims to take only five minutes, can also promote healthier, faster-growing plants in an indoor hydroponic garden.
A siphoning method can help you replace the water in an AeroGarden, even when you have existing plants. AeroGarden sells a specialized siphon that seamlessly removes water from the entire bowl. This siphon is designed to fit precisely inside the openings of your AeroGarden bowl.
However, cheaper and non-specialized options can be found in hardware or plumbing aisles. Make sure the siphon you choose has a small enough spout on the end that it will fit inside the openings of the AeroGarden you have.
Siphoning is moving water from one place to another using gravity. Squeeze the bulb end of the siphon to suck polluted water into the tube. Then, position the siphon at an angle where the water naturally flows into the container you have waiting. Consider using a bucket or empty milk jug.
Your AeroGarden has a convenient nutrient light that illuminates when replacement plant food is needed. When you see this light come on, consider it as your cue to empty the water reservoir and replace it with fresh, distilled water.
How Do I Sterilize My AeroGarden?
The following steps will help when your crop finishes and you want to completely clean and disinfect your AeroGarden. Sterilizing your AeroGarden after your entire crop has finished growing is essential, which ensures your subsequent plants start with the highest probability for healthy plants.
It is important to remember to choose a gentle, natural cleanser like distilled white vinegar during this process. A substance like a vinegar solution prevents any harmful chemical residue from being left behind. Some folks recommend using a bleach solution. But if using chlorine bleach makes you nervous, standard distilled white vinegar works like a charm.
First, remove all of the leftover growing medium, plants and plant residue, and other components of the seed pod from the AeroGarden. Make sure to carefully scrape out all of the former growing materials to avoid any evidence of cross-contamination.
You can save your AeroGarden pods for use again in the future at no additional cost. However, if you choose to do this, make sure the pods experience thorough scraping for any leftover plant residue. During every step of this process, analyze any risks for cross-contamination with your new plantings.
Next, drain the water reservoir into the sink and do a quick rinse of the basin. Do not use abrasive sponges or harsh chemicals to scrub the basin.
Now you will focus on the water basin. The reservoir is a crucial area to disinfect, as it has the most direct, consistent contact with your plants. First, fill the basin with regular, warm water to one-third the height of standard volume. Next, add four cups of white vinegar to the water.
Like the procedure of deep-cleaning a coffee maker, you will now run the AeroGarden’s water pump. The pump’s pressure will push the sanitizing solution through the hydroponic system’s entire system of inner mechanisms for the deepest cleaning possible.
Run the water pump for five to seven minutes to achieve a complete deep-cleaning cycle. This solution will effectively kill the algae or bacteria growing in the basin. This cleansing will also eradicate any pathogens lingering in the water pump or other inner mechanisms.
Discard the sanitizing solution down the drain and rinse the water basin thoroughly. Again, do not reach for any harsh cleaning solution or an exfoliating sponge for cleaning the reservoir. These choices can damage the structure or leave behind a chemical residue that could poison your plants.
Now that your AeroGarden is sanitized and rinsed; you will run that cleansing process one more time. However, this time the cycle performs with only warm tap water. Do not include any vinegar or other additions to this process. Rerun the cleaning cycle for five to seven minutes.
This second cleaning process ensures no lingering vinegar or other bacteria lingers in the AeroGarden. You are almost ready to plant again! Once the five to seven minutes have elapsed, rinse the water reservoir again and let the unit completely dry for 48 hours on paper towels before planting.
Just remember, a damp paper towel and warm water goes a long way, but sometimes a unit will require a deeper cleaning process. After all, the grow deck lays atop the water and below living organisms.
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