June 15, 2019 11:27 PM

Tired of hearing about contaminated lettuce?

Lettuce...it's supposed to be healthy to eat, and have plenty of vitamins, right? Well, maybe it's not as healthy as it should be.

These days everything is grown in bulk.  It's all about producing more, and producing it faster.  Quick, fast, and in a hurry...even if it's at the expense of compromising the health of some consumers, especially those with a compromised immune system.  It's bad enough that pesticides are used so heavily and we feel like we have to drown our produce in water before eating it, often making it soggy...soggy lettuce, yummy!  ;-)  Add to that the numerous E. coli outbreaks that have contaminated our lettuce over the last few years and it can turn a so-called healthy food into a nightmare before you know it.

Even if you buy organic lettuce...you pay more and you hope the E. coli outbreaks don't reach it, but are you still getting all of the vitamins out of it after it's been shipped around for a week before you ever get a chance to consume it?  There has to be a better way!

Well, there is a better way.  A healthier way, a safer way, a cheaper way (after initial setup cost), and an automated way!  Enter indoor hydroponics.  Yes, you can grow your own lettuce indoors using nothing but water, some grow lights, and adding occassional nutrients...with an AeroGarden!  From that point on, most everything is automated.  The lights turn on and off on a pre-set cycle tailored to what you're growing.  The pump runs on a set cycle not only based on what you're growing, but it even has a special "germination mode" that helps your seeds germinate.  This is truly automated "set it and forget it" gardening.  (Sorry, but you will need to cut your fresh, pesticide-free lettuce before you eat it...I have yet to see an automated system that cuts the lettuce and puts it on your plate for you.) ;-)

There are many ways to grow hydroponic lettuce.  I've looked at many of them, and ended up choosing an AeroGarden Bounty 9-pod model.  AeroGarden has been at this game for a while, and they've truly perfected it and thought of just about everything to make this an incredibly simple and fun process.  The possibilities of what you can grow are nearly limitless, only limited by the amound of space you have (the light hood in the AeroGarden Bounty can extend up to 2 feet tall), and certain other factors such as the amount of light required for what you're growing.  From lettuce to herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and even flowers, the AeroGarden handles them all with ease.  Simply follow the on-screen instructions on the AeroGarden Bounty to fill the unit with water, insert your chosen seed pods which have seeds pre-inserted before they're shipped to you, place the grow domes over the seed pods, add the nutrients, and set the time you want the lights to turn on and off.  Then you're on your way to some fresh, delicious, pesticide free lettuce in a matter of a few weeks.

Once each plant starts to touch the grow dome, you simply remove that grow dome and either recycle it or reuse it later on another grow cycle.  Then continue watching your plants grow.  After a few weeks, you should be able to start harvesting some lettuce for sandwiches or wraps, then watch it regrow quickly.  Soon you'll have enough lettuce for an entire salad, and it still regrows!

So this all probably sounds great to you, but there are a few things you should know.  The only real complaint I have about my AeroGarden Bounty gardens are:

  1. Sometimes the water sensor, which is supposed to alert you when the water is getting to low, doesn't alert you.  This is probably due to the huge amount of roots you'll inevitably have over time as your plants grow, and I'm assuming they get in the way of the water sensor.  One way to resolve this issue, and to save yourself time and worry about keeping the water level high, is to get an Aerovoir...a simple water jug device that lets you keep an extra gallon of water flowing into the main unit as it needs more water.
  2. Changing out the water in the device can be a challenge.  AeroGarden provices a "rinse and refill" siphon to make this easier.  For me, this made things much easier for a while, but then suddenly the siphon stopped working automatically...and I had to constantly squeeze the plastic bulb to get the water to come out of the unit and into my bucket.  I eventually purchased a new siphon, but I had the same issue.  Now I dread this process, and only do it rarely.  The good news is that while AeroGarden recommends a rinse and refill about once a month, they say it isn't actually necessary to keep your garden running smoothly.  And more good news...in a more recently released AeroGarden Farm model, they've come up with a much easier, more automated way to change the water out.

All in all, the AeroGarden Bounty is a great way to get started with indoor hydroponics to grow your lettuce, herbs, or even tomatoes or peppers with it's taller light hood extendability.

Spotlight

Review Overview

  • Functionality: 10/10
    Reliability: 9/10
    Automation: 9/10
    Value: 10/10
  • 9.5/10

    Very Good

    User Rating: 4.75 (4 votes)

    Summary

    Lettuce...it's supposed to be healthy to eat, and have plenty of vitamins, right? Well, maybe it's not as healthy as it should be.

    These days everything is grown in bulk.  It's all about producing more, and producing it faster. ...

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