Not long ago, I was summing up our first two months with the AeroGarden, our ‘space garden’. I noted that, although it’s a really good way to start small batches of seedlings for the larger Hydroponicum, in its seed-starting configuration the noise it makes drove us potty.

I transplanted the seedlings to the Hydroponicum, and Ryan had a look at the AeroGarden to see if he could quiet it down a bit. The noise of the pump itself isn’t the issue; it’s the bubbles. Ryan’s solution is really simple – he has fitted a neoprene ‘baffle’, which alters the way the bubbles reach the surface and makes them quieter.

Neoprene bubble baffle
The bubble baffle

With that in place, I returned the AeroGarden to its three-plant set up for its next mission – rooting cuttings. I took cuttings from three herbs in the garden: rosemary, spearmint and sage. I’m trying Root!T Rooting Sponges for the growing medium, which are “made from a mixture of peat and bark bonded together with plant-derived biodegradable polymers”, so they’re not ideal but they are suitable and readily available. They are too large for the AeroGarden, so I slice them in half vertically and bend them round to fit, which actually works quite nicely to encase the stem of a cutting.

Rosemary cutting in a 3D printed AeroGarden pod
Rosemary cutting in a 3D printed pod

Ryan has been developing a 3D printed, reusable seed pod to fit the AeroGarden, so we’re trying those out as well. We’ve tweaked the design a couple of times to make them sturdier, and to fit the new growing media better.

My intention was to use hormone rooting powder for the cuttings, but it’s lost in the shed somewhere, so they have gone in without it. The spearmint cutting was originally taller. I inadvertently brought in a couple of tiny caterpillars on it, which I didn’t realise until the black specks of their frass (poop) became obvious. They’re gone now!

The AeroGarden is staying on the kitchen windowsill, and with its new baffle and its three-plant configuration, we can’t hear it outside of the kitchen. After nine days it’s too soon to expect any signs of root development, but the cuttings look relatively perky, so hopefully all is well. I will keep you posted! If this mission fails, I have a couple more exciting missions planned for our space garden.

AeroGarden cuttings: rosemary, spearmint, sage
Herb cuttings in the AeroGarden