The AeroGarden Harvest Elite is an excellent introduction to a hydroponic garden. It comes with everything needed to grow plants, like fresh herbs and vegetables right on your kitchen counter. It is a smart garden that takes the guesswork out of growing fresh herbs and plants.
Even if you do not have a green thumb or a sunny window, you can grow herbs like basil and mint. Having fresh herbs on hand will make your salads and meals taste so good—and bonus points for not having to worry about them going bad.
We tested the Harvest Elite so that you wouldn’t have to! Read on for our indoor garden experience and tips for growing herbs in the Harvest Elite.
The Aerogarden Harvest Elite is a self-contained system with everything needed to grow your own herbs.
Included in the kit:
- Six gourmet herb seed pods with growing medium and plastic domes – Genovese Basil, Curly Parsley, Dill, Thyme, Thai Basil, and Mint
- Miracle-Gro Plant Food
- Stainless steel grow deck and bowl with reservoir pump and fill line indicator
- Light hood with 20-watt LED grow lights that adjust up to 12 inches grow height
- Automatic timer for light
- Digital display to add fertilizer and water
- Grow up to 6 plants 5X faster than soil
- 20W LED grow light for full spectrum, optimal lighting
- Up to 12″ of grow height for herbs, lettuces, tomatoes & more
- Elegant, stainless-steel finish
- Digital display and illuminated push button controls
- Easy, automatic reminders for water & plant food
- Item dimensions : 6.25 x 10.5 x 17.4 inches
- Item weight: 5.94 pounds
AeroGarden claims – true or not?
✔️ The Aerogarden website says, “Most plants germinate within 7 to 14 days, are ready for harvesting in 4 to 6 weeks, and will keep producing continuous harvests for up to 6 months and longer.” This was TRUE, especially for the basil and Thai basil plants. And the plants are thriving three months in.
✔️🚫 Another claim states, “Our 6-Pod Harvest Elite garden, in a stainless steel finish, has a sleek tailored shape and a compact footprint without sacrificing water capacity.” This was true and not-so-true for me. The herb garden takes up a small portion of the kitchen counter, and the amount of herbs harvested is more than I need, so I have started giving away herbs to friends and family. Though I have had to refill the water almost daily to keep the water supply high.
✔️ The third claim from the website says, “The super easy control panel reminds you when to add water or plant food. The automated lighting makes it easy for your plants to get the right amount of “sun” for healthy growth.” I found this to be true. A red light turns on when it’s time to add the nutrient solution. It is hard to miss the bright red light, especially since I love looking at my herb garden. The timer for the LED light is one less thing to keep track of.
Aerogarden review from buyers on Amazon
There are more than 6,000 AeroGarden reviews on Amazon for the Harvest Elite. Most say that the Harvest Elite is beginner-friendly, easy to maintain, and herbs grow quickly.
The most useful Aerogarden Harvest review is by Frita Bandita, who also has other Aerogarden models. She has excellent tips like:
- read the directions first before setting up the Aerogarden
- plant herbs and do not grow cherry tomatoes or bell peppers in the Harvest Elite
- do a deep clean and wash the unit in between plantings
- keep the plants watered
- feed the plants on the recommended schedule
- replace the filter in the reservoir
- harvest often to keep the plants under control and promote healthy growth
The setup was a breeze! All there is to do is to add water, nutrients, place the seed pods, plug it in, and set up the digital clock. It is a smart garden, and the digital clock keeps track of the lighting cycle, alerts you when to add plant food, and keeps track of water levels.
The plant growth was really fast, and I was impressed. I have started basil plants from seed in the past, and it took about a month or so to harvest. With the harvest system, the herbs germinated pretty quickly, then the plant roots extended and quickly populated the reservoir.
The basil and Thai basil plants germinated in four days. Within a few days, I had to remove the plastic lids to let the plants grow.
The plant roots started to grow rapidly and leaves started to grow.
The basil and Thai basil plants were big enough to start harvesting.
The herbs continue to grow and harvesting needs to be done weekly.
I was so excited to harvest my indoor garden! Since the basil grew the fastest, I was able to pinch individual leaves first.
When the herbs and plants grow about six inches tall, it is time to start pruning the plants. The trick is to cut above the node, where the leaves grow out of the stem. The leaves will continue to grow out of the nodes. Pruning also helps keep the plant healthy and from overcrowding the space.
I ended up pruning the plants down a lot and within a week it was even bushier than before.
Slower germinating plants
There were two seed pods that hadn’t sprouted yet to sprout. It has been almost three months. A friend said it takes parsley to germinate, so I’ll give it a couple more months. AeroGarden has a germination guarantee, so I’ll have to contact AeroGarden and get pod replacements.
Ease of use and cleaning
The harvest unit is super easy to use and maintain. Herb plants are supposed to last up to six months, so I haven’t needed to clean the unit.
Using your own seeds
Aerogarden has a lot of seed kits to choose from. When I noticed that two pods were not growing, I experimented and dropped a couple of kale seeds into the seed pods. And pretty soon, I had kale growing. They didn’t get as big as what you can get in the supermarket or when grown in an outdoor space, but it was enough as a side for one of my meals.
AeroGarden has a Grow Anything Seed Pod Kit with just the growing medium, so you can use your own seeds and not have to be stuck with just what they offer.
Tips and recommendations
Here is what I learned over the past two months:
- Once the plants grow taller, you have to adjust the light hood. Even though the LED grow lights are not hot to the touch, when the plants start to touch the grow lights, the leaves can burn.
- Initially, the water tank will need to be refilled weekly, but as all the roots grow, the water must be replenished more frequently. Now, I check it every two days to keep the water level high and near the fill line as much as possible.
- The LED grow lights are bright. And with the light schedule being on most of the day and into the night, the bright lights can be used as a room light. I started placing other plants around it to make the most of the grow light.
- Adding plant food can be a little messy. The nutrients are supposed to be measured in the bottle cap, so it dribbles down the sides of the bottle when capped.
- It can be tricky to fill the water reservoir, so pay attention to ensure that the water doesn’t spill down the front of the unit and short-circuit the digital timer.
- You can grow plants and add seeds to the seed pod kits. Feel free to experiment with other herbs and make use of seed pods that didn’t germinate.
Should you get the Aerogarden Harvest Elite?
Even in a small space, growing your own food and jazzing up a bowl of salad greens or using your own herbs for bruschetta is possible. It is fun to see the AeroGarden plants grow, and it is easy to maintain. I want to grow tomatoes and more plants, so for the next plant cycle, I will buy more seed pods.
Let’s keep it 100…we love growing plants and have tried different methods. We think the Aerogarden Harvest Elite is a good investment if you want to try and grow fresh herbs. It is easy to grow herbs and plants that even new plant parents will find success growing plants of their own.
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