The Speedy Life & Tragic Death of My AeroGarden

For my birthday this year, my brother Michael got me a very thoughtful gift. He got me an AeroGarden.

In case you’ve never seen one, an AeroGarden is a black plastic contraption that holds a very strong light. You place little pods in little pre-set holes, fill the base with water, plug the whole thing in and pretty soon those pods are sprouting plants.

This particular Aerogarden came with pods for basil, thyme and dill. (You can order other pods online, I’m sure.)


Pretty quickly after plugging in my Aerogarden, I realized that despite the earth-friendliness of growing herbs right there in my kitchen, this was really going to use up a lot of energy. The base hums as the water that you pour in there circulates; and, for at least 12 hours a day, this bright light blasts down on your pods/soon-to-be plants. I thought my power bill might double.


But what an amazing plant-growing machine, this is. Almost a week later, the sprouts began to sprout:


With their required nutrient packets (you feed them every two weeks) and their very specific rules (don’t remove the paper tab that labels each herb; don’t lift the plastic cover until the herb outgrows it), I began to think of these herbs more like Gremlins than something you’d find out-of-doors.

And then, pretty quickly, I forgot about them. That is until, a few weeks later (about a month and a half from the start date), they were pretty epically huge:


Look at that basil growing towards the sky (or, instead of sky, the giant lamp):


There was no stopping my Aerogarden! Well, that is until I started using the herbs.

I don’t recall the recipe (was it a pesto? a salad? an Artisinal cocktail?) but as soon as I started plucking the basil, the thyme and the dill, things took a rapid turn for the worse.

True: I occasionally unplugged the thing to plug in my blender or my food processor and yes, ok, maybe I forgot to plug it back in every now and then.

And true: maybe I got lazy about feeding it the required nutrition packs. As in, I only gave it one the whole time I had it.

And true: maybe—and this is the most sinful of my Aerogarden sins—maybe I forgot to replenish the water once it was all used up, so my poor little herbs were suffocating in their black plastic coffin.

Needless to say, this happened:


The herbs died a sad tragic death. Much blame was thrown in my direction and yes, I am guilty as charged. But maybe, and this gets very Freudian, maybe subconsciously I wanted the plants to die because the machine was sucking up too much energy anyway? Maybe in killing these plants, I was really saving the earth?

The happy coda is that, just as these herbs were breathing their final breath, my friends Patty and Lauren gifted us with a bunch of herbs from the farmer’s market to keep on our windowsill:


Say hello to my rosemary, mint and thyme.

You know how sometimes somebody will have a kid in their first marriage and then walk out on their wife and child, starting over with a new family and treating their new kids way better? (See: Harry Nilsson documentary.)

That’s how I feel about this herb collection. I dutifully water these herbs every morning and when the mint grows too high, I thoughtfully clip it; now new leaves are sprouting out on the stem.

All-in-all, the Aerogarden is a good option if you want fresh herbs and you don’t live somewhere where you can get them easily. It does waste a lot of energy and those nutrition packs are kind of creepy, but if it’s your only option, go for it. Otherwise, get some herbs for your windowsill and water them with love and care. And occasionally send postcards to your Aerogarden sitting neglected in the closet.

27 thoughts on “The Speedy Life & Tragic Death of My AeroGarden”

  1. Sorry to say it, but you are wrong, the aerogarden do not uses much energy… Much less than your, TV or notebook… Just to let you know ;-)

  2. Your article brought on a smile, yes it is true about what you said Adam.
    Now for the rest of you, grow up. Anyone familiar with the saying “Everybody has one and can turn into one”.
    Enough said.

  3. I watch my electric bill closely, and this little garden doesn’t even register. I have just finished the first crop, and I am ready to try some of my own seeds, although he Thai basil and chives are still going strong.

  4. I despise Monsanto (Scotts, Miracle-Gro, Aerogarden) like poison. I do not buy or endorse their products. But the Aero-garden is a great idea and should work well, although the chemical nutrients may not grow the best tasting produce. Also, the electricity usage is not very much. The article was written in fun, I enjoyed reading it.

  5. ineedhelpwithplants

    How nice you have a sunny windowsill, Adam… a lot of us don’t have nearly enough light to support the growth of even shade loving plants, let alone herbs and veggies. Yes, you’ve written this to be amusing, but you’ve got a strong anti-hydroponic slant that comes through loud and clear, but sometimes hydroponics are very useful. Too bad this has lingered so many years.

  6. I have an aerogarden, and I followed the directions, and my herbs are growing fabulously. I use them in my cooking 4+ times per week.

    Your problem was not that you started using them. It was that you didn’t water them, feed them, or keep the light on them.

  7. Hi Roberts,

    I have read your article. You thought your power bill might be double. For this reason your hurbs was died. Actually, your thought was not right. I have a beautiful aerogarden. I have followed the Aerogarden Growing Tips and trust me I got a awesome result. The interesting fact is, it’s gives you a good result within few days. You can use it again and again.

    The most important thing is, you didn’t follow the direction about your hurbs. That’s why your hurbs was died. You should have water them, keep the light on them.

    Thank you for reading.

  8. I love my Aerogarden. Not only do I get fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, I also get full-spectrum lighting in the room it lives in. There is one problem – a big problem for me – and that is that Scotts-MiracleGro Company acquired the Aerogarden company a while back and that isn’t good. Wikipedia says “Scotts is Monsanto’s exclusive agent for the marketing and distribution of consumer Roundup.” You know, the stuff killing off the bees and the monarch butterflies.

  9. Stacie Stevens Markham

    well the whole idea is more nutritious food and food that grows way faster. It’s probably a great way to start your plants and then transfer them to your window or outside and then start again?

  10. Adam did this on purpose. He wrote this article to get people pissed off and posting on his blog. This isn’t about Aerogarden or his inability to follow instructions. This is about getting traffic to the 15 ads my ad blocker blocked when I loaded his web page. Congrats! You fooled 39 people!

  11. I have several AereoGardens and have always achieved amazing results. Seems like YOU need to stop attempting to grow things because you obviously have a black thumb, not a green thumb.

  12. I cant believe i just wasted my time reading your article. You failed to follow the simpliest of instructions and the herbs died??? Really? Big surprise. I have the 6 pod led unit and power consumption in minimal.

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