How to Prune: Chives

Chives can be stored in a refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to a week. But to make the most of the delicate onion flavor of chives and retain the luscious green color in your recipes, use chives fresh. If you must cook them, add them last, just before serving.

Both harvesting and chopping chives is easy when snipping with scissors. Learn more about how to prune your AeroGarden chive plants…

 

 

Rinse and Refill Siphon: Keep your water tank fresh with no mess.

Plants in most hydroponic gardens benefit from periodic changes of nutrient solution. Rinse and Refill Siphons make it easy to change out the nutrient solution in your AeroGarden without disturbing your plants. A quick pump of the ball and the siphon keeps your water tank fresh with no mess.

INSTRUCTIONS:

To siphon, insert the pickup tube into the liquid, close the vent valve (the white knob on top – tighten clockwise), squeeze the bulb repeatedly until liquid begins to flow down the accordion tube and relax and let the siphon action do the work. Before removing the pickup tube from the liquid, open the vent valve (counterclockwise) and wait for all the liquid to drain from the delivery tube.

Preserving Peppers

Have a lot of AeroGarden peppers on your hands? Learn how to preserve your peppers such as jalapeno, sweet bell pepper, anaheim, and poblano to name a few- plus tomatoes! The three major methods of preserving peppers are freezing, drying, and canning.

Freezing Method

  1. Freezing is the easiest way to preserve peppers, keeping them crisp with fresh flavor.
  2. Remove stems and seeds. Hot peppers can be frozen whole if you want to include the spicy seeds.
  3. Chop the peppers in strips or cubes.
  4. Lay flat on baking sheet or cutting board and place in freezer. Once frozen solid, put into freezer bags, date, and use within 8 to 12 months.

Drying Methods

  • Air dry: hang the peppers in a dry climate for 3 to 4 weeks. Make sure to space out the peppers for good air flow.
  • Food dehydrator: this method is the fastest drying method and is a good alternative for humid climates.
  • Oven dry: You can always use the oven to dry out the peppers but it will take 1 to 2 hours. Bake at 150°F with oven door cracked open to let moisture out. Rotate peppers every 30 minutes.

 

Canning Method

Canning is great for salsa and other pickled recipes. Find a recipe you like and go from there. The possibilities are endless!

Tip: Wear gloves when preparing hot peppers and wash hands before touching your face to avoid burns.

-If you do get burned, follow these steps:

  1. Apply rubbing alcohol to burn area to remove pepper oils
  2. Then use apply milk to irritated area. The milk contains the chemical casein and removes the pepper burn from the skin. Follow by soap and warm water.
  3. Apply olive oil to burn area for about one minute and wash off.

 

Garden Tip: Jalapeño

This Mexican pepper, Jalapeno, ranges in the medium-hot level, about 5,000 Scoville units.  This seems pretty tame when compared to the #1 hottest in the world- The Carolina Reaper at 2,200,000 SHU and former world champ- The Ghost Pepper at 1,041,427 SHU.

AeroGarden Peppers

Growing Tip:

  • Give the plants plenty of space to grow. This is the reason why the seed pod kits come with a certain amount of pre-seeded grow pods and plant spacers depending on the size of your AeroGarden.
  • Feed it extra nutrient upon the 3rd feeding and moving forward. For 3 and 6-Pod gardens, give an extra 1/2 capful. For 7 and 9-Pod gardens, give an extra 1 capful.
  • Schedule grow light to be on during the day. This decreases stress on the plant.
  • Pollinate often.
  • Harvest when the peppers are large and firm. Cut from the plant when they are green or red. The longer the pepper is on the plant, the redder and hotter it gets.

 

Tips for Preserving Seeds

Do you want to save your seeds for next year? Here’s how to store them properly to ensure germination!

Seed Expiration

We guarantee germination for 1 year from the date of purchase of the seed pod kit. However, typically the seeds remain viable for 2 years if stored properly. Exposure to excessive heat or humidity may shorten the lifespan of a seed.

Seed Preservation

The best way to preserve the seed pods is by storing them in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight – a place where the temperature will not fluctuate much. The refrigerator is generally the best place to store seeds. But stay away from the freezer, any seed that cannot be dried properly should not be frozen or else you risk damaging the cell wall of the seed. Some seeds store better than others. Tomato seeds, for example, can last for more than four years if stored well!
If you have your own seeds and are using a Grow Anything Kit, ensure your seeds are properly dried. Let them air-dry for about a week before placing them in an air-tight container. Store them in an area that is cool and dry year round. When you are ready to plant your seeds, keep them in their closed container until they reach room temperature to avoid unwanted condensation.

Chlorosis: Diagnosing Pale, Yellow, or Yellow-White Leaves

Are your leaves a pale, yellow, or yellow-white color? If so, your plant may be experiencing chlorosis.

Chlorosis is a condition where leaves yellow or blanch due to lack of chlorophyll, which is responsible for the green color of leaves. A plant that is chlorophyll deficient has little or no capacity to create carbohydrates using photosynthesis and may die unless the cause of the chlorosis is treated.

The most common cause of chlorosis is a lack of nutrients. The leaves will become pale or yellow if the plant does not have enough nutrients to synthesize all the chlorophyll it needs.

Perfectly natural pale yellow leaves

However, this process can also be natural. A plant will have two starter leaves known as cotyledons when the seedlings first emerge from the soil. Over time, the plant will start to produce its typical adult leaves. The cotyledons help the plant begin growing, but once it’s producing more leaves, they are no longer needed and will often yellow and eventually fall off. If these are your only yellow leaves, your plant is perfectly healthy!

 

 

Tips for Salad Gardens

In the spirit of August’s Seed Pod Kit of the Month, Heirloom Salad Greens, here are some salad tips-

Temperature- Salads prefer cool temperatures below 72 degrees. Take care to keep your garden away from sunny windows that might increase the temperature. If you are struggling with keeping your salad garden cool, try the following tips:

  • Add ice cubes to the water bowl regularly.
  • Place your garden in a cooler area in your home, such as a basement.
  • Avoid placing your garden near other gardens or appliances that might give off heat.

Harvesting- There are two ways to harvest your salad greens.

  1. Remove whole leaves by cutting the base of the leaf with scissors or shears, or by gently pinching off with you fingers. Spread your harvest evenly across your garden.
  2. Prune the top 1/3 of the leaves, as if you are giving it a hair cut!
  3. Avoid harvesting right after adding liquid nutrients to your garden, it will have a mineral taste as the lettuce quickly absorbs the nutrients.

Garden Check Up: Roots

The condition of the roots reflect the health of the plant. Healthy roots are light colored and firm. Unhealthy roots turn brown and mushy and can have a bad odor.

To prevent root rot try the following steps to promote garden health:

Rinse and Refill the water bowl. This is good to do at-least once a month to replace old water filled with excess minerals left over from the liquid nutrients that the plants did not absorb. After refilling- add the recommended amount of liquid nutrients for your AeroGarden. Optional– add a teaspoon of food grade hydrogen peroxide to the water.


Mature plants will have an advanced root system that may overwhelm the water bowl of your garden. If the roots are healthy, then you will need to water more frequently due to the limited space in the water bowl and those thirsty roots.

 

To root trim or not? Some people do trim the roots of their mature plants BUT there is a high risk of over trimming and killing the plant. Because of this risk, it is not recommended.

So take a look under the grow deck and do a Garden Check Up on your roots.

Bolting Lettuce

What does “bolting” mean and why does lettuce do it!?

Well, it’s when the plant bolts into rapid growth and goes straight to flowering. The plant goes into survival mode and goes to seed.

Hot temperatures will trigger bolting in cool season greens, such as arugula, mustard greens, romaine, beet greens, and lettuce. other plants known to bolt are beets, broccoli, cilantro, basil and dill.

Can You Eat it After Bolting? No. When this happens, the flavor turns bitter and the leaves tend to get smaller and tougher. At this point it is inedible.

But you can prevent bolting….

How to Prevent:

Keep the water in your AeroGarden bowl cool.

If the water feels warmer than room temperature, add cold water and or ice cubes to the water bowl.

Very rarely bolting can be temporarily reversed or slowed down if you catch it early enough and trim off the flowering stocks. This can give you more time to harvest before it becomes inedible.

 

 

Is It Time To Clean Your Garden?

Before starting a new Seed Pod Kit, you’ll want to clean your garden for a fresh start. Do Not throw away your filter by accident! It’s easy to do when removing plant roots.

Start by dismantling your garden:

Roots can grow into the filter, so be sure to clean it out and reinstall. If the filter looks too worn, replace the filter to prolong the life of your pump.

While you are doing maintenance on your garden, you may want to consider using Airstones. This will give your plants an oxygen boost for better growth! Note: Airstones are for use in all aerator/bubbler models.

 

After each planting, you should clean and sanitize your AeroGarden to reduce the risk of root pathogens that can destroy your crop.

Here’s how:

  • Fill the bowl with water and add ¼ cup of chlorine bleach
  • Let the water pump or aerator circulate the bleach solution for 5 minutes
  • Empty the bleach solution, rinse well, and then fill with clear water (no bleach)
  • Allow the pump or aerator to circulate the clear water for 5 minutes
  • Empty and rinse once more to ensure that all bleach is rinsed from bowl

Or without bleach: 

Add 5 cups of distilled white vinegar (instead of ¼ cup chlorine bleach) and follow instructions above.