AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3: Week 8 Update

AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3: Week 8 Update

After 8 weeks of growing in my AeroGarden Farm Plus, I have fruit! A jalapeno pepper to be specific. It’s growing at an unbelievable rate.

Eight weeks in, and the Farm Plus is still exceeding expectations.

Time to jump into this week’s maintenance details, exciting changes to my fruits, and more comparison photos to blow your mind.

AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3 Week 8 Overview

Now that the fruits are really producing flowers, it’s not filling out at the same rate. But the herb side continues to turn into a jungle each week.

Yet again, a lot of changes have happened in the last week. I’ve continued to not only take pictures of each plant’s condition before and after harvest, I’m continuing to created images to easily see the difference. It really is the only way to appreciate just how quickly everything is growing.

Three weeks after reseeding, the catnip still has its dome. It keeps producing condensation, so something has to be happening. I just can’t see it  yet. I’ll give it one more week to show itself before I add more seeds to the pod. But, I have a pepper!

Aside from harvesting a lot of herbs in the left garden, today’s maintenance also involved pruning the right garden. Today’s maintenance probably took 20 minutes for the left side and 10 minutes for the right side.

Before we get to the walk through of each plant, here is a comparison of the condition of the Farm Plus last week after maintenance and this week before maintenance.

AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3 Week 8 Overview

The fruits are so tall now, doing square comparison photos is the only way to show the entire garden comparison.

AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3 Week 8 – Left Side Walk Through

During the last week, I once again moved some herbs around.

As you can see in the image, at 8 weeks, yet again there is a lot to harvest in the herb side of my Farm Plus.

Yet again, because the left side is such a jungle, I had to harvest from front to back, instead of back to front. But for the sake of making the posts easier to update, we’ll continue the walk-through from back top left to bottom row right.

Let’s begin with a Week 7 left side after harvest compared to Week 8 left side before harvest.

Now, let’s walk through each herb on the left side of my Farm Plus.

The mint and Thai basil continue to be relentless.

Rosemary

Even more new growth on the cloned Rosemary over the last week.

The cloned rosemary continues to do well.

Last week and this week, my rosemary was/is 6 cm (almost 2.5 inches) tall. Because it’s so busy filling out at the top, I’m not concerned that there hasn’t been any growth over the last week. This week’s maintenance involved pinching off some of the leaves that were starting to brown. As a reminder, the browning leaves are completely normal when cloning herbs that have bark.

Sage

The sage grew 8 cm over the last week.

The sage still continues to do amazingly well. It grew 8 cm (just over 3 inches) since it was harvested last week. After last week’s harvest, the sage measured 15 cm (6 inches). Today, before harvesting, it measured 23 cm (9 inches). After harvesting, the sage measured 20 cm (almost 8 inches). Reminder, because of how sage grows, it’s more about reducing its bulk and preventing it from covering neighbouring plants.

And here is a comparison of the sage last week ago vs today before harvest and today after harvest.

Left: Sage last week after harvest. Centre: Today before harvest. Right: Today after harvest.

Thai Basil

The Thai basil is simply relentless.

I’m still amazed by how much basil this Thai basil plant is producing and growing week after week.

After week 7 harvest, the Thai basil measured 19 cm (7.5 inches). Today, it measured 30 cm (12 inches) before harvest. After the harvest, it measured 21 cm (8.36 inches).

Yet again, harvesting it was pretty daunting. There were new thin stems growing entangled in the mint and basil. This Thai basil had become so massive in the last week, once again I had to chop of complete stems, completely ignored the rule of thirds. It didn’t hurt the Thai basil last week, so I doubt it will hurt it this week.

Above is a comparison of the Thai basil last week after harvest, today before harvest and after harvest. Today, I made sure to cut off the tops of every Thai basil stem, which took a bit of doing.

Oregano

I’m very pleased with how the oregano is starting to fill out.

The oregano is becoming quite full now. After last week’s harvest, the oregano measured 10 cm (4 inches). Today, before harvesting, it measured 17 cm (6.7 inches). That is a lot of growth in just one week! Today after harvest, the oregano measured 10 cm (4 inches).

Left: Oregano last week after harvest. Centre: Today before harvest. Right: Today after harvest.

The oregano is still a nice carpet after today’s harvest but it is also retaining height after harvesting. The pruning to encourage growth is doing its thing.

Italian Parsley

The Italian parsley is doing okay in its new home.

On February 22, I swamped the places of the cumin and Italian parsley because the cumin was having to try way too hard to reach for the lights.

Last week after harvest, the Italian parsley measured, 7 cm (2.75 inches). This week before harvest, it measured 13 cm (just over 5 inches). While it didn’t grow as quickly in height as it did when comparing weeks 6 and 7, the centre is really starting to fill in. I only cut away a couple of the longer stems. After today’s harvest, it measured 7 cm (2.75 inches).

Left: Italian parsley last week after harvest. Centre: This week before harvest. Right: This week after harvest.

 

 

Cilantro 1

I got to harvest this cilantro plant today!

Finally, I was able to harvest cilantro from this plant today. That excited me. Last week, this cilantro plant measured 7 cm (2.75 inches). Today before harvest, it measured 14 cm (5.5 inches), doubling its height in one week. After harvest, it measured 6 cm (2.4 inches).

Which means, I can finally show you a comparison photo!

Left: Cilantro 1 last week. Centre: Cilantro 1 before its first harvest. Right: After harvest.

Cilantro 2

The second cilantro plant also grew a lot over the last week.

The second cilantro plant is really starting to fill out.

After last week’s harvest, it measured 8 cm (just over 3 inches). Today, before harvesting, the second cilantro plant measured 15 cm (6 inches). After today’s harvest, it measured 9 cm (3.5 inches).

And here is the comparison shot.

Left: Cilantro 2 last week. Centre: Cilantro 2 before its first harvest. Right: After harvest.

Mint

The mint is a lot of plant.

Yet again, like the Thai basil, harvesting the mint was pretty daunting and time-consuming for the same reasons. Yet again, I had to cut off entire stems. Also, like with the Thai basil this week, I tried my best to cut, at minimum, the top leaf-set from each stem.

After Week 7 harvest, the mint measured 17 cm (6.7 inches). Today, before harvest it measured 24 cm (just under 9.5 inches). Again, that really is a lot of growth! After yesterday’s harvest, it measured 17 cm (6.7 inches).

Left: Mint last week after harvest. Centre: Today before harvest. Right: Today after harvest.

Catnip

There is still no image of the catnip. More sad trombone.  On February 20, I moved it to the bottom-left pod. I’m waiting for some teeny tiny chemistry spoons to arrive, which I’ll use to shovel in more seeds if I still don’t see anything next Thursday. Catnip seeds are so teeny, I’m wondering if I’m not placing them in the centre of the pods but rather in the sides of the peat.

Thyme

The thyme is beginning to fill out quite nicely.

My thyme remains happy in the AeroGarden Farm Plus.

Last week, after harvesting, the thyme measured 6 cm (2.4 inches). Today, before harvesting, it measured 8 cm (just over 3 inches. For a slow-growing herb, I’m rather impressed. After today’s harvest, it measured 6 cm (2.4 inches).

And now I finally get to show you a comparison shot!

Left: The thyme last week after harvest. Centre: Today before harvest. Right: Today after harvest.

Cumin

Left: Cumin last week. Right: Today in its new home.

The cumin is still the little herb that could. On February 22, 2019, I moved it to the bottom-right pod and added a stake to give it some support. Hopefully with the new placement and support, it will start to thrive. If not, I may just replant it. Because I’m growing this for the seeds, there is no harvest to note.

Last week, the cumin measured 7 cm (2.75 inches). Today, it measured 8 cm (just over three inches). It’s trying really hard.

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. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next week!

Top: Week 8 total herb harvest. Bottom: Week 8 pile of Thai basil leaves after being prepared for storage.

AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3 Week 8 – Right Side Walk Through

There are so many flowers and even a pepper!

I HAVE A PEPPER! I don’t mean to shout, but it’s really exciting! And it’s growing so rapidly! But before we get there, just as a reminder, below is a comparison of the right side last week after pruning and today before pruning.

The fruits are now more concentrated on producing fruit instead of growing leaves.

It doesn’t look like a lot has changed, but it has.

Manitoba Heirloom Tomatoes

Left: The Manitoba tomato canopy before pruning. Right: The back before pruning.

The Manitoba tomato plant is now very tall!

As a reminder, the Manitoba Heirloom were planted on January 11, 2019. Last week, after pruning, it measured 36 cm (14 inches). Here is a breakdown of its maintenance and changes in the last week:

  • Very careful pruning as to knock off more flowers.
  • Today, before and after pruning, the Manitoba tomato measured 55 cm (21.7 inches)!
  • Continue to pollinate every day after the lights turn on.
  • Six flowers completely open on February 28.

I was hoping for some fruit within the last week, but that hasn’t happened yet. Unless there are teeny tiny tomatoes hiding in the canopy.

I continue to prune the Manitoba tomato plant as if its a tree: cutting off a few limbs that are getting really big and taking away resources from new growth. Also, any tomato branches that hang out the back more than 6 cm (2 inches), I cut them back. I still plan to include these pruning instructions in the site’s FAQ.

And here are some comparison photos of the Manitoba tomato:

Top left: Manitoba tomato front before pruning. Top Right: Back before pruning. Bottom Left: Front after pruning. Bottom Right: Back after pruning.

I didn’t prune a lot. Just some brown leaves and a couple of limbs that were growing outside of where I want them to.

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

Still, not much has changed in the last week with the cherry tomato plant.

It’s still a miracle that the Heirloom cherry tomato plant is still alive and growing, even if very slowly.

It’s still trying its best! The leaves continue to get a big bigger, and it grew from 2 cm to 3 cm. I think it will surprise us yet.

Serrano Peppers

We have flowers!

Another reminder about the Serrano peppers: Like the Manitoba tomatoes, this was planted on January 11, 2019.

I’m so very happy to report that the Serrano pepper finally has flowers!

Last week, the Serrano pepper measured 30 cm (1 foot)! Also, I’ve been having to do a little bit of regular maintenance on it! This is how the last week’s maintenance looked:

  • Pruned February 26.
  • First flower opened February 27.
  • Pruned February 28.
  • Continue to pollinate every day when the lights turn on.
  • 2 flowers February 28.

The Serrano pepper hasn’t grown at all in height the last week. And pruning has been very minimal: cutting of the leaf growing under buds and flowers. Each leaf-set grows in a group of three. I always cut off the leaf that is growing downwards, directly under the buds/flowers.

Below is a comparison of last week after pruning, the first flower to open, and this week before and after pruning.

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

We have more flowers this week!

The buds on this pepper keep multiplying. That is the biggest change between Week 7 and 8. Here is a summary of other changes and maintenance details:

  • Pruned February 28
  • 6 (?) flowers — it’s difficult to count them because of how bushy and tight the leaf sets are.
  • Continue to pollinate daily after the lights turn on.

This plant has started to slow down its growth as it concentrates on producing fruit. Last week, it measured 23.5 cm (9.25 inches). Today, the bell pepper plant measured 25 cm (just under 10 inches).

Below is a photo last week after pruning, today before pruning, and today after pruning.


A couple of the flowers are showing signs that they will soon drop to reveal fruit.

Jalapeno Peppers

I was so excited when I discovered the first pepper the other day!

The jalapeno pepper has way too many buds and flowers to count. And it’s producing fruit! However, pruning it has become a challenge because if I’m not so very careful, I end up knocking flowers off. So, I have to prune very sparingly.

It, too, has had a lot of maintenance over the last week:

  • First pepper appeared February 24. It measured 0.5 cm (0.2 inches).
  • Pruned February 28.
  • Continue to pollinate daily when the lights turn on.
  • First pepper measured 3 cm (1.2 inches)  on February 28.
  • Too many flowers to count, even with losing some during pruning.

Last week, the jalapeno pepper measured 27.5 cm (just under 11 inches). Today, it measured the same, for reasons already mentioned. Below are some comparison photos.

Left is the jalapeno pepper fruit today. Top left is adorable baby pepper on February 24.. Top right, last week after pruning. Bottom left, today before pruning. Bottom right, today after pruning.

Red-Fire Chili

Left: Red-Fire chili last week. Right: Red-Fire chili today.

The red-fire chili is still pushing slowly but surely. Today, I actually had to prune a couple of leaves because they were wilting.

Last week, it measured 10 cm (4 inches). Today, the red-fire chili plant measured 12.5 cm (5 inches). So, it’s still growing at a decent rate.

Purple Super Hot Peppers

The purple super hot was planted on January 11, while the majority of the garden was planted on January 3, 2019. Like the red-fire chili, it is a smaller pepper plant compared to its cousins.

There has been an exiting change since last week: It had three flowers open and I had to prune it today! While pruning it, I accidentally knocked off one of its three flowers. I really need to be more careful but it can be so difficult with the leaves are bunched tight.

Last week, the super hot measured measured 15 cm (6 inches). Today it measured 16 cm (just over 6 inches). Now that it’s producing flowers, it won’t grow as quickly.

Above is a comparison photo of the purple super hot last week, today before pruning and today after pruning. I didn’t need to prune a lot.

After I was was done pruning everything, the pile of leaves and branches was comparatively small. It will be interesting to see what happens after the first season of fruit what changes come this side of the garden.

Though small, the pruning pile is still decent.

Because so much was covered, below is an image of the right side before and after today’s pruning session.

The top part of the image is the right side yesterday before pruning. The bottom is after. It allows for a much better appreciation of exactly how much needed to be pruned.

Finally, below is an image of the entire garden before and after this week’s maintenance.

My AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3 Week 8 Journal Update

No water spills this week.

Now that I have flowers, I’m still adding flowers to my journal in addition to the butterflies that symbolize pollination.

Something is going on with my Polaroid Zip that it’s still producing a line through the photos, even after I re-calibrated it. It’s almost time to change out the photo paper and calibrate it again. Maybe it will fix itself then.

I’ve had a pretty great week, so today’s mental health work was really just acknowledging the great things as I updated my journal.

Some of the great things include my Prednisone doing a decent job of reducing my pain, even if it’s still not considered managed. But waking up at a 5 and going to bed at an 8 is much better than waking up at an 8 and going to bed at an 11. I also spent some time in the last week decorating my garden room and getting some new furniture for it, in preparation for my eventual second AeroGarden. Farm Plus.

I will be writing a post soon-ish about turning your gardening space — whether it’s a corner of a room or an entire room — into a sanctuary.

I am still extremely please with how this experiment is going! It’s really becoming more and more difficult waiting until all plants go through one fruit cycle before buying my second Farm Plus.

So, that is that! Exciting things!

Let me know if you have any questions! And if you’re brand new to my Farm Plus series, you can catch up here.

Until next time!

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Jules Sherred
hello@disabledkitchenandgarden.ca

Jules Sherred is a gender noncomforming autistic disabled trans man. He has lupus with many secondary disorders, including but not limited to, psoriatic arthritis in every joint, fibromyaligia, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic migraines, and antiphospholipid syndrome -- a bleeding and clotting disorder. He also has Complex Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (C-PTSS). He has found great physical and psychological relief in Instant Pot-ting and AeroGarden-ing. After coming up empty trying to find disability resources, written by disabled people, on how to create a disability-friendly kitchen and garden that has multiple benefits, he decided to take matters in his own hands by sharing what he has learned.

6 Comments
  • Elizabeth DeJager
    Posted at 16:50h, 28 February Reply

    As a jalapeno eating fiend I am cheering on your first pepper!

    I am wondering if your garden room temperature is helping you get such strong growth. My winter batches of lettuces were so sluggish because my kitchen is around 63 F/17 C and they have grown much better in other times of year. If you wish to share, how warm is your garden room? You really seem to have found a good environment for productive plants.

    • Jules Sherred
      Posted at 16:59h, 28 February Reply

      I cook so much Asian food, jalapenos are a huge staple in my house.

      My Garden Room runs at around 24 C/76 F. Because of my auto-immune stuff, I run pretty cold, so I need a warmer environment. They are definitely benefiting from it. When I first planted my Sprouts, I didn’t have the air vent open, so they weren’t growing as fast. As soon as I opened the air vent to keep the same temperature overnight, BOOM!

      This temperature may be too warm for many people. If you have a thermostat that you can automatically change temps at certain times, try warming in the kitchen overnight. When the lights are off is when the plants do most of their growth.

      • Elizabeth DeJager
        Posted at 17:19h, 28 February Reply

        The room at 76 F sounds lovely to walk into. Special interest in weather spouse just reminded me our cold winter this time around was really just normal and my plants had been staying warmer than usual previous years.

        Ideally I should just set things upstairs in the winter next time. The aerogardens certainly are portable .

        • Jules Sherred
          Posted at 17:27h, 28 February Reply

          Yes, that is a great thing about the counter-top models compared to the Farm Plus: You can always move them where ever you want and not wait at least a year between seasons.

  • Jen Jones
    Posted at 20:02h, 28 February Reply

    This is great! Congratulations on your first pepper!

    • Jules Sherred
      Posted at 20:03h, 28 February Reply

      Thanks!

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