The Hydroponics Experiment (Part 8 – Pruning)

Angelic Tomato EmojiIf you’re thinking about picking up an AeroGarden as a hobby, you should know something important – IT’S BORING! After five weeks, there hasn’t been a whole lot of involvement. Most of the upkeep involves filling the AeroGarden water and occasionally tossing in some nutrients. Although, there were a few interesting events during this project. In life, there are ups and downs. And since the tomato plants are living things, it too had its share of achievements and setbacks.

Tomato sprouting, with drops of water on the leaves.

The trouble started with getting the seeds to sprout. Each little grow pod included several seeds. However, only one tomato plant can thrive per pot. That means you have to murder the extra plants. This probably shouldn’t have felt so dramatic, but I found myself getting attached to these little plants. Just as they’re showing signs of life, I’m supposed to kill them. I think the seeds should be included separately. While the AeroGarden is fairly hands-off, this part wasn’t enjoyable.

Two pods had too many plants growing, while nothing was growing in the third pod. I managed to transplant one of the plants to the empty pod. After some delicate pruning, I had one plant per pod.

But before I terminated the little sprouts, I wanted to immortalize them with a time-lapse video. That’s when I noticed something strange. Instead of the plants growing upwards, they seemed to shrivel. The leaves would droop and curl. It was as if they were being melted by acid. What’s wrong with my plants? I’m not sure, but I suspect that it might actually be too much light.

The AeroGarden Ultra LED is bright. It lights up the room. Since the light is on 16.5 hours a day, that’s another advisory for this hobby. An AeroGarden is not a bedroom project. The bright light can wake you up. I can still tell when the light is on, even though the AeroGarden is down the hall and in another room.

This shrivel and grow cycle would continue for days. In the morning, the plants were perky and tall. By the evening, they looked tired – as if they had been commuting from Manhattan.