31 Jan AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3: Week 4 Update
Once again, I have so many exciting updates after 4 weeks of growing in my AeroGarden Farm Plus! Some of these exciting updates include the Thai Basil reaching maturity in just under four week and the Heirloom Manitoba tomatoes growing to 12 cm (4.72 inches) from label to top of the plant in two and a half weeks!
Four weeks in, and the Farm Plus is still mind-blowing! I doubt that is going to change.
Because there is so much to update when it comes to the Farm Plus, the format is going to be different than with my AeroGarden Sprout LED updates. I’m going to include maintenance information as I give you a tour through each plants condition. Also, because this garden is an experiment to decide how many of each plant will be planted when I purchase my second Farm Plus, I’m also keeping track of how much the plants grow from week-to-week.
AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3 Week 4 Overview
A lot of changes have happened in the last two weeks. So much so, I’ve decided to not only take pictures of each plant’s condition before and after harvest, I’ve created images to easily see the difference.
Almost all of the domes are now off, with a couple of exceptions we’ll get to soon. As you can see, I’ve begun having to use the trellis system.
Aside from harvesting a lot of herbs in the left garden, today’s maintenance also involved feeding and watering both gardens. I also decided to plant some thyme since the thyme died in my Sprout LED Garden 2. Just like with the Sprout LEDs, today’s maintenance only took 5 minutes. I expect that time will go up to 15 minutes once I need to harvest and prune all 18 plants, each week.
Before we get to all of that, here is a comparison of the condition of the Farm Plus last week and this week before maintenance.
AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3 Week 4 – Left Side Walk Through
As you can see in the image, at 4 weeks, there is a lot to harvest in the herb side of my Farm Plus. Part of the thing that blows my mind about this is that, at week 4 in my Sprout LEDs, my herbs weren’t doing nearly as good.
As I said in last week’s Farm Plus update, I think that has to do with how each pod is individually watered and fed during a pump cycle. I was able to capture video so you can see this in action.
I think it’s pretty cool technology! Before I walk you through each plant, take a look at a comparison of the left side last week vs this week before harvest.
Now, let’s walk through each herb on the left side of my Farm Plus.
There isn’t anything to show yet with the rosemary. The grow dome is filled with condensation, so stuff is happening. I was convince that the rosemary wouldn’t grow because it’s extremely difficult to grow, even in the best of conditions. I lifted the pod out today and saw roots just starting to grow through the peat moss, so that’s great!
I’m quite blown away by the sage. The dome came off on January 14, and in the last couple of weeks, it has grown 6 cm, measuring 8 cm before harvesting. After today’s harvest, the sage measured 7 cm. Even though the sage hasn’t grown the long stems yet, I had to reduce the bulkiness of the plant to allow light to neighbouring plants that aren’t as tall.
And here is a comparison of the sage two weeks ago vs today.
I’ve never seen plant-growth like this.
The Thai basil is one of the plants that has blown my mind the most. I had to harvest it yesterday because it had reached the lights that I already raised once. I didn’t want to raise them again because then the lights would have been too far away from the shorter plants. On Day 26, the Thai basil was already producing flower buds, which means it has reached maturity.
Before I harvested the Thai basil, it measured 21 cm (8.25 inches). After harvesting the Thai basil, it measured 10 cm (4 inches). The Thai basil is another herb that lost it’s dome on January 14, going from just under 2.5 cm (1 inch) in height to 21 cm (8.25 inches) in 17 days!
I’ll need to harvest the Thai basil at least once a week. In future Farm Plus updates, I’ll include images of any changes over the two-week period between updates.
Above is a comparison of the Thai basil two weeks ago vs yesterday before harvest, plus the flower buds. It was nice to use the Thai basil in my cooking yesterday. I had been waiting for a long time to have Thai basil, as I cook a lot of Thai food but no local grocers have Thai basil.
Today, I got to harvest some oregano. Before the harvest, the oregano measured 7 cm (2.75 inches). After harvesting, it measured 4 cm (1.6 inches). Being able to harvest oregano so soon is amazing. But, the growth is also amazing!
The grow dome was removed on January 21, 2019. In the last 10 days, it’s decided to grow everywhere, including growing out from under the label! It’s just pushing its way through anything it feels like.
There is still nothing to show for the catnip, but its grow dome is covered with condensation so something is happening.
Last week, there was nothing to show. Two days ago, I still saw nothing. Yesterday, I finally saw the cumin just peaking up above the label. Today, the grow dome had to come off. The cumin measures approximately 2 cm (just under 1 inch). I didn’t measure it too aggressively because the cumin is at the stage will it will just rip out of the peat moss if lightly touched.
I’m growing this plant simply for the seeds since I use a lot of cumin seeds in cooking.
I replanted the first cilantro pod two weeks ago. As previously mentioned, cilantro can be difficult to grow. As you’ll see shortly, the second cilantro plant is doing amazing in the AeroGarden Farm Plus. For some reason, it’s not wanting to grow with the same gusto in this pod. That said, there has been condensation in the grow dome, something that didn’t happen in two weeks with the first try at planting. I peered inside the pod today and could see a tiny little sprout starting to come out of one of the seeds. Next week, there should be something exciting to show you.
I love how well this cilantro plant is doing. It, too, needed to be harvested today to allow the leaves in the centre of the plant to thrive. Before harvest, the cilantro measured 6 cm (2.4 inches). After harvest, it measured 3 cm (1.2 inches). I can’t wait until the other cilantro plant really begins to thrive since I go through a lot of cilantro every week.
And here is a reminder of how the cilantro looked two weeks ago.
There is still some time to go before the cilantro matures. Once it does mature, I need to watch it carefully so that it doesn’t begin to produce seeds. Once I start my second Farm Plus, I’ll probably allow a couple of cilantro plants to produce coriander seeds since it’s something I use in cooking often.
This is another plant that is blowing my freaking mind! The dome of mint growing in my second Sprout LED didn’t come off until it was 4 weeks old. Compared to the Farm Plus, the dome came off on January 21, 2019. Ten day later, and the mint measured 11 cm (4.3 inches) and required a harvest. The first harvest in my Sprout LED 2 was at Week 6.
Another different between the mint in my Sprout LED and the Farm plus is the colouring of the stems. The stems in the Sprout LED are only now turning purple, nearly 9 weeks after planting. As you can see, the stems are already very thick and dark purple.
After today’s harvest, the mint measured 7.5 cm (3 inches).
Two weeks ago, the mint was just about to reach the label. Eleven centimetres of growth in two weeks is something! Remember, I’m measuring the height of the plants from the label to tip. And just like the oregano, the mint, too, is growing out from under the label!
I didn’t harvest any of the Italian parsley today. I just made sure that it was getting enough light after harvesting the neighbouring plants.
The dome of the Italian parsley came off on January 25, 2019. Six days later, it measures 4 cm (1.6 inches).
Two weeks ago, you could barely see the Italian parsley growing.
And here is what the the left side of the Farm Plus looked like before and after harvest.
Once again, every herb has their own space and lighting. I can’t wait to compare this side in two weeks!
AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3 Week 4 – Right Side Walk Through
You’ll have to steel yourself for a few of the updates from the right side of the garden. There was no maintenance this week other than watering, feeding and rotating some plants to prevent them from blocking slower growers.
When I look at comparison photos, I just want to grab people and shake them, while I yell, “I HAVE THIS MAGIC THING THAT GROWS FRUIT IN WEEKS DURING THE WINTER!”
Time to really steel yourself as I walk you through each plant.
Manitoba Heirloom Tomatoes
As a reminder, the Manitoba Heirloom tomatoes were planted two and a half weeks ago on January 11, 2019. The dome came off on January 16.
Two extra plants were cut out on January 18. Today, this tomato plant measured 12 cm (4.7 inches)!
It’s really not enough to say how much they have grown since the Week 2 update, but also look at how thick that stalk has gotten! Manitoba tomatoes were bred for harsher environments, so it’s not totally surprising that it’s growing like it is in just two weeks under optimal conditions. But it still amazing!
Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes
Because of how well the Manitoba tomatoes are doing — which were planted with the Grow Anything pods — I’m really surprised at how slowly the cherry tomatoes are coming along — which came with the Farm Plus.
They’ve grown a teeny tiny bit, but nothing blind-blowing like the rest of the garden.
As shown in the above images, I really do mean they’ve grown a teeny tiny bit. They’ve grown maybe 1 cm (0.4 inches) in the last two weeks. I know plants grow at different rates, but this is extremely slow for the Farm Plus. This the only fruit that still has its grow dome.
Another reminder about the Serrano peppers: Like the Manitoba tomatoes, this was planted two and a half weeks ago on January 11, 2019. The dome came off on January 19.
Two extra plants were cut out on January 21. Another extra plant was cut January 23. Today, this Serrano plant measured 6 cm (2.4 inches)!
The seeds for both the Manitoba tomato seeds and Serrano pepper seeds were purchased from West Coast Seeds, in case you are curious and want to get yourself some magic seeds.
Sweet Bell Peppers
During that last two weeks, I had to cut two extra bell pepper plants on January 18, 2019. To help give you another reference to understand how quickly the fruits are growing in the AeroGarden Farm Plus: I don’t cut the extra plants until they are just over 2.5 cm (1 inch). Today, the bell pepper plant measured 6.5 cm (2.6 inches).
Two weeks ago, these peppers were roughly 1 cm (not even half an inche) above the label.
Two weeks ago, I thought the jalapeno pepper was amazing. Today, it’s mind-blowing, too! On January 18, 2019 was when I had to cut three extra jalapeno plants. Today, the jalapeno measures a whopping 8 cm (3.15 inches). And the leaves are really massive!
I don’t know how much more my brain can take. I’m not saying that as a idiom. Watching how quickly everything grows in the AeroGarden Farm Plus is causing me to want to buy my second Farm Plus right now and not wait until the experiment is over.
Two weeks ago, there was nothing to show you. Three days ago, I was worried nothing was happening despite the condensation because it had been nearly 4 weeks, and no visible sprout. Today, the dome came off! From nothing visible to bursting out of its dome in 3 days! Today, they measured 2 cm (just under 1 inch).
I can’t see any extra peppers growing in this pod yet. But they could still show up. Also, seeing how quickly this pepper decided to spring into action once visible just adds to my confusion over why the cherry tomatoes are just so slow.
Super Red Hot Peppers
The timeline of the purple super hot chilli has been: Two weeks ago, nothing to show; dome off on January 22, 2019; cut 2 extra plants on January 24; the plant measured 4.5 cm (1.8 inches) today!
I’m looking forward to see how this goes!
My AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3 Week 4 Journal Update
Keeping the Farm Plus journal pages has been very rewarding. While I enjoy the more artsy updates for my Sprout LEDs, I’m really enjoying tracking the experimental data for the Farm Plus. Hopefully, by Week 6, every bubble will have data points, even the thyme basil that I planted today in the bottom left pod.
My brain only works off of hard data. So, there are different, yet equal, mental health benefits for the type of journalling the Farm Plus needs.
So, that is that! Exciting things!
Let me know if you have any questions!
Until next time!