Ask AeroGarden: Watering Your Plants

Question:  “Some of my seed pods are experiencing poor growth or not even germinating, but my basil is growing perfectly. What is the problem?”

Answer:  “This is most likely a problem with the type of water you are using. We recommend that you use distilled water. Distilled water has no mineral content and is perfect for hydroponic applications. Our liquid plant nutrients have the exact measurement of minerals for optimum plant growth. When distilled water meets with our nutrients it results in pH balance. Some plant varieties are more tolerant than others to pH imbalance. Basil, for instance, is known to thrive in imbalanced conditions, but many other plant varieties will struggle with poor growth and even lack of germination. In addition, most filtered water, hard or softened water, bottled drinking water, well sourced water, and some municipal tap water, depending on the state in which you reside, will also cause imbalance.Go ahead and refill your garden with distilled water and nutrients. This will restore pH balance!

Get to the root of it! Feel free to ask your question at ask@aerogarden.com and get an expert answer from the AeroGarden team.

Ranch Dressing

It’s not hard to understand why ranch dressing is so popular: It’s creamy without being heavy, with a good herbal kick and a subtle garlic presence. There are countless recipes for it, but this version, made with fresh garlic and fresh herbs, tastes so much brighter than those using garlic powder and dried herbs.

INGREDIENTS

    • 1/2 cup purchased or homemade mayonnaise
    • 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
    • 1 clove garlic, peeled
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
    • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus additional to taste
    • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

PREPARATION

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and buttermilk. In a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic and onion with the fine sea salt to create a paste, or use a large heavy knife to mince and mash the garlic and onion with the salt into a paste. Add the garlic-onion paste and dry mustard to the buttermilk mixture and whisk well to combine. Add the chives, parsley, dill, and freshly ground black pepper and whisk well to combine. Season the dressing with additional fine sea salt. DO AHEAD: The dressing can be prepared ahead and refrigerated, in an airtight container, up to 1 week.

Makes about 1 cup

ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes

Courtesy of Epicurious

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!

 

 

Pineapple and Cilantro Moscow Mule

This tropical cocktail is summer fun for everyone and can easily be made into a mocktail by leaving out the vodka and adding more ginger beer.
Image & Recipe Credit: TMIO
Ingredients
  • 6 cilantro leaves
  • 4 tablespoons pineapple puree
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ice
  • 1½ ounces vodka
  • ginger beer
Instructions
  • Gently muddle the cilantro leaves in a sturdy glass to release their oils.
  • Add ice to the top.
  • Pour the vodka over ice
  • Add pineapple puree and lime juice
  • Top with ginger beer
  • Stir, garnish, and serve
*Pineapple puree- blend pineapple chunks in blender until smooth.
*Optional- to sweeten the drink add some agave.
Serves: 1 drink

Ask AeroGarden: Having Cilantro Trouble?

Question:  “I have had issues trying to grow cilantro.  I just can’t get it to grow…help?”

Answer:  “Cilantro can sometimes be challenging. We’ve seen it take 5 to 8 weeks to germinate but we don’t want you to wait that long.  Sometimes the hulls surrounding the seeds are very hard like Navy Beans and need to be soaked overnight.  Another tip is pouring water right down the center of the hole and placing a quarter over the label and checking underneath it once a week for successful germination.  Once it has sprouted, please remove the quarter.”

 

Get to the root of it! Feel free to ask your question at ask@aerogarden.com and get an expert answer from the AeroGarden team.

Vinaigrette Basics

Not just for salads, vinaigrettes can be used to marinate meat, seafood, and vegetables. Homemade salad dressing can range from a simple two ingredients to a more complex vinaigrette.

Vinaigrette foundation is three parts oil and one part vinegar. OR for extra pizazz do 2:1 oil to vinegar ratio. Whisk together and add a little Kosher salt. Finish with fresh ground pepper.

  • Vinegars include: sherry, champagne, balsamic, red, white, or rice wine.
  • Oil: for a mild base use grape seed, or use your best extra-virgin olive oil for grassier flavor.

Build up vinaigrette by adding a mustard, something sweet, spicy, an allium, and herbs. Use any of these combos:

*Let your taste buds guide you in ingredient amounts!

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.

BLT Salad with Aioli Dressing

Try this delicious bacon, romaine lettuce, and seared cherry tomato salad!

Feel free to substitute the romaine for any lettuce variety from the AeroGarden Heirloom Salad Greens Seed Pod Kit (25% off through August!)

 

INGREDIENTS

    • 5 ounces applewood-smoked bacon (about 6 slices)
    • 12 cups torn romaine lettuce (from 1 large head; about 13 ounces) OR any lettuce variety in the Heirloom Salad Greens Seed Pod Kit (25% off through August!)
    • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 garlic clove, pressed
    • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar

 Toasted sourdough bread with avocado is a tasty side for this salad too.

PREPARATION

Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp; transfer to paper towels. Crumble bacon coarsely. Optional– lightly sear the halved cherry tomatoes in the skillet to enhance flavor. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from skillet; reserve skillet.

Place lettuce and tomatoes in large serving bowl. Heat bacon drippings in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, then mayonnaise and vinegar; whisk until blended, 30 to 40 seconds. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over lettuce and tomatoes and toss to coat. Sprinkle bacon over. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 serving.

Courtesy of Epicurious

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.

Mint Mojitos

This Cuban drink is one of the top refreshing cocktails you can enjoy, especially during warm days. Lime + mint + bubbles (and let’s not forget, Rum) = Perfection! Great for a summer happy hour using mint from your AeroGarden.

 

Get started –

  • Cut a lime into wedges
  • Add a lime wedge and 10 mint leaves into the bottom of a glass
  • Use muddler or handle of wooden spoon to crush mint and lime to release mint oils and lime juice
  • Add 2 more lime wedges and 2 tablespoons of white sugar and muddle again
  • Fill the glass up to the top with ice
  • Pour 1.5 fluid ounces of white rum over the ice
  • Fill the rest of the glass with carbonated water
  • Stir
  • Taste – Add more sugar if you want
  • Garnish with lime wedge and mint sprig

Tips –

Avoid over-muddling the mint, it will give the mojito a grassy taste. Over crushed mint breaks the chlorophyll filled veins in the leaf which gives a bitter grass taste.

You want to lightly press down on the leaves with the muddler or wooden spoon and gently twist.

Don’t forget, the Cocktail & Mocktail Herb Seed Pod Kit (July’s Plant of the Month) is 25% OFF through July!

-Cheers!