The Miracle Gadget That Finally Got Me Growing My Own Food (Lettuce!) in the Kitchen

published Jun 8, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

I’ll admit it: I don’t have much experience when it comes to gardening and growing my own foods. I planted my first blueberry plant outside last year (that is just starting to produce fruit!) and I’ve grown a few pots of kitchen herbs throughout the years. But generally, I’ve stayed away from it all because it’s just been so intimating. Of course, I’d like to be more self-reliant and grow more of my own food. I’d always wanted to, but this global pandemic left me wishing I’d done more, earlier. 

Credit: Heather McClees Williams

The Miracle Gadget Helping Me Grow My Own Food in the Kitchen

That brings us to this AeroGarden. I received it as a gift this past year and, during the stay-at-home order, finally decided to set it up with several different types of salad greens. The basic idea of the AeroGarden is that you take some pods, insert them into the pod holes, fill up the inner tank with water, and add the plant food. Then you plug it in, turn on the UV light, set a timer for the light to come on each day … and just watch and wait. There are a few different machines, so you can choose what size machine you have room for, and also what kinds of plants you’d like to grow. (My machine, the Harvest Elite, is slim, sleek, and fits perfectly on my counter in a corner.) Some plants sprout in a few days, while others can take a few weeks. You can choose from salad greens, herbs, and even vegetable pods. For my first try, I opted for arugula, kale, and salad greens.

Buy: AeroGarden Harvest Elite, $170

Credit: Heather McClees Williams

Here’s what my plants looked like after just a few days. The company said I’d get results … I just wasn’t so sure.

Here we are at 20 days. Look at how tall and healthy they are! It’s been so fun to watch them grow and change each day. I have even begun using some of the lower leaves in various dishes. So far, everything’s tasted super fresh and I’m officially a believer.

While I clearly can’t make a giant salad with these greens, I’ve been using them a lot in small side salads and smoothies. And I’m hoping to use them in soups, come the fall. I also hope to get some mint, basil, cilantro, and parsley pods to grow in the future, too.

Between my AeroGarden and my baby blueberry plant outside, I have a feeling that my produce bill will go down and my gardening confidence will go up.

There are a few other gardens like this one. Have you tried any of them? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.