Is Having an AeroGarden in Your RV Practical?
I’ve had my AeroGarden for over a year now, so I think it’s time to do an honest review and evaluation of the product. If you’ve never heard of these babies before, sit tight. I’ll provide you with a description of what the product is. A link if you’re interested in purchasing one. And an honest review that will include my personal pro’s and con’s while living the RV Life.
I want to point out that this is not a paid advertisement. I’m not being sponsored by AeroGarden, and they didn’t pay me to write a review. This is an honest assessment of how I feel about my garden and their product.
What is the AeroGarden?
The AeroGarden is an indoor hydroponic garden. A hydroponic garden is one where the plants grow in water and very little (if any) soil. For the Aerogarden, each seed pod has a small amount of soil in each pod containing the seeds. No additional soil is used while the plant grows. The roots are all free floating in water contained in the lower bucket portion of the unit. What makes the AeroGarden so special? They have made this dynamic and versatile way of growing, easy to use for the common household.
You can get a variety of sizes ranging from a 3 plant system to a super large 24 plant system. Most of the garden’s are counter size, no larger than a toaster oven. But their Farm Family setup is floor based and will require more space.
What Can you Grow in It?
I’m sure I’ve at least piqued your interest at this point. So what can you grow in this thing? Once again, there are a variety of options that AeroGarden has right on their webpage for your choosing. You can try your hand at herbs. If you really like a freshly grown salad, you can opt to plant an array of lettuces. If flowers are more your speed, you can do that too. You can even get vegetables that grow indoors all year round so you’re meals are always made with fresher ingredients. In the rare case that you aren’t satisfied with the seed kit options they offer, you can even purchase empty pods to put your own seeds in.
Ok. Ok. You think this thing is pretty cool, but you can’t keep a small cactus alive in your kitchen window. Trust me. I get it. I don’t have a green thumb either. AeroGarden to the rescue once again. They’ve made these things for the Green Thumb Challenged individual, like myself. It has an alert when it needs more water. Another alert when it’s time to give your little baby plants food. You’re going on vacation, no need to worry. You just put your garden into Vacation Mode where it reduces the number of hours the light is on! And it will even lower the frequency the water pump runs.
What About A Warrenty?
Yup. They’ve got that too. Not only does AeroGarden have a limited warranty on the garden unit, but they also have a guarantee on the seed pods! When you purchase the products directly through them, they will back the seeds with a 100% germination guarantee. Crazy, right?!
Aside from the warranties and guarantees that they provide, they have a host of FAQ’s on their website. Before you even reach out to the company via chat, email, or phone call, you will likely find your question right there. Questions range from the type of plastic used to assistance with the water pump not working. All questions with the most common solution at your fingertips without sitting on hold waiting for customer service.
Honestly, if you’ve made it to this point in the article, you have to have figured out that I love this product. When we did our walk-thru video of our RV, we actually had to edit out a chunk of it because I got stuck talking about my garden so much. You can still see the garden with all of my lovely plants growing. But can I honestly provide you with any additional reason’s to buy it? I really can.
It’s 2022. Really, it’s almost 2023. We all know that FRESH food is better for us than anything that comes in a can, box, or bag. We don’t need to join a health club or see a nutritionist to be told this. You know it, I know it, even your neighbor knows it.
Fresh ingredients are not only healthier for us, but they TASTE better too! Go ahead… Tell me the can of green beans taste as good as the fresh green beans you picked from your garden. You can’t! They don’t. I mean, they’ll work, you can eat them. There’s even nutritional value in those canned veggies. But they will never taste as good as the fresh stuff does.
Huh? Here I am telling you that you can go online and purchase pre-selected seed pods and now I’m talking about inspiration. This goes back to that superb support that AeroGarden provides. When you’re on the Aerogarden website, you can tab over to Inspiration. Here, they have a host of articles about Growing, Cooking, Learning, and even Crafting your garden the way you want it. Getting started with a garden can be overwhelming when you first start. This is especially true if you’ve never done it before.
AeroGarden helps you through learning how to prune and harvest from your plants. When you have an abundance of Basil, they have an article on how to dry and store it. Need a recipe for all of those tomatoes you harvested, they’ve got that! The articles are tailored to the specific types of plants that they sell. So you aren’t reading a recipe about Beefsteak tomatoes, they have one for cherry tomatoes.
As I said earlier, these little counter top garden’s don’t take up more space than a toaster oven. When you plant a garden outside, you actually need to have some space. The person living in an apartment may have a balcony to put a few potted plants on, but they don’t have a yard. Even if you’re in a house with a yard, you need to dedicate an area for growing a garden. I live in an RV, so my counter space is limited, but I had room to set up my garden. I was able to have fresh basil, dill, and tomatoes for all of my cooking.
AeroGarden uses non-GMO seeds that are specifically designed for the space provided in their gardens. You aren’t purchasing an eggplant that will grow over 3 feet wide. You are getting a plant that will fit in within the confines of the garden. This alone saves space.
You didn’t think I had any, did you? I’ve gone on a complete rant about how wonderful and amazing this thing is. You’re even ready to buy one. But hold up a minute. Let me go over why I don’t even use my unit anymore. Really. You may still want one even after I review my cons. Some of my reasons will likely be much different than the normal household. But I still think I have a few cons that every user would like to know about.
We live in a camper. Our power supply is limited. When we go Boondocking for 2 weeks at a time, we are solely running on solar panels and a generator. Every single amp of power needs to be accounted for when we do this type of camping. Utilizing some of that electric to run the AeroGarden, even with it’s LED lights, is electric we have deemed unnecessary. Now, the sun does still come up every day for free. Placing the garden outside will provide the necessary light.
But there is also the tiny water pump. This too draws power. Not to worry, the garden will still work without the pump going. As long as there is water in the unit, the plants will be fine. But we also need to consider our water usage. The plants still require water, but so do we, and we have a limited supply. For the common homeowner, this isn’t really a con you need to worry about. But for the RV Lifestyle it is.
Doug and I are only 2 people. There isn’t anyone else living in our camper. The seeds provided by AeroGarden yield SO much that we honestly couldn’t keep up with it. Now, I know for a lot of people, that doesn’t sound like a bad thing. Maybe if we were in a house and not a camper, it would be a good thing for us too. However, we are limited on space. There isn’t enough room to dry, preserve, and keep all of the harvest.
We started harvesting and giving it away there was so much. We’re all for helping each other out and providing to others when we have an abundance. But, we aren’t always with other people. A lot of our camping locations are in solitude. Then I found myself having to throw out perfectly good herbs and vegetables.
Getting New Pods
Again, this is not something that will effect a household. Only something that needs to be considered when using one in an RV. We don’t get mail or packages everyday. We aren’t even in most places long enough to order something. Our mail is delivered to a mail service located in Texas. When we know we have important mail that needs our attention, we have to book a campground that allows deliveries. We contact our mail service and they package and ship all of our mail to said campground. On a few occasions we have had to extend our stay because we’re still waiting for that mail delivery.
I can’t place an order for additional seed pods unless we’re stationary long enough for them to be delivered. This is something we deal with for all online purchases. We accepted this with most things and understand that if we can’t buy it in a store, we need to plan for ordering anything. This has an added cost, which bring me to my last con.
Yeah. Here it is. The real zinger. These babies are expensive. For the smallest garden unit AeroGarden offers it is an initial $100 investment. When you factor in that it comes with a starter seed kit and the plant food, that doesn’t sound terrible. But their Bounty (the one I have) it is $460! Don’t get me wrong, they have options and you can find one that fits your budget. But lets do a breakdown here… How much does it cost to pick up some fresh basil at the grocery store for tonight’s dinner? Maybe $2.00. I would have to use basil in 230 days of dinner just to cover the cost of the unit. Tomatoes may be faster.
Seed pods have an expense too. Just a quick poke on the website shows me that a 6 pod tomato and pepper kit will cost about $13.50. This isn’t terrible when you consider the cost of fresh vegetables at the farmers market. But still a cost none the less. Remember, we’re still trying to get enough harvest to cover the cost of the unit.
For the Fulltime RV’er, having a garden with you sounds wonderful in theory. AeroGarden has technically even made that possible. Like I’ve said in the entire first half of this article, I truly adored my unit and loved having fresh ingredients at my disposal. However, keeping the garden running just hasn’t been the most practical thing in the camper.
Even if you take out the Power and Yield concerns, you still need to factor in Getting New Pods and the Cost associated with it. For us, keeping our garden going just wasn’t pragmatic anymore. Hopefully this honest review gives you a few things to consider before committing to, and purchasing, a unit for your RV Life.