AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3: Week 9 Update

AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3: Week 9 Update

After 9 weeks of growing in my AeroGarden Farm Plus, I have 6 jalapeno peppers, 3 bell peppers, and 1 Manitoba tomato!

Nine weeks in, and the Farm Plus is growing more than ever before. I’m getting antsy as I wait to harvest my first fruit!

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 9 Overview

Last week, I thought I didn’t have to prune my fruits as much. Was I ever wrong.

I’m blown away but after yet another week, a lot of changes have happened. Remember when last week when I said the fruits have starting to concentrate more on producing fruit and less on growth? Well, this week, my Farm Plus made it very clear that isn’t the case.

Four weeks after reseeding, the catnip still has its dome. So, today, I added a whole bunch of more seeds.

Aside from harvesting a lot of herbs in the left garden, today’s maintenance also involved a lot of pruning of the right garden. Today’s maintenance probably took 30 minutes for the left side and 30 minutes for the right side. But, I spent hours in my garden room this morning, really taking my time.

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 9 Overview

Top: Week 8 after maintenance. Bottom: Week 9 before maintenance.

The lights on the right side are now so high, I have to stand much farther away from the garden to be able to capture the whole thing. The Manitoba tomato plants are not even two months old, and are growing at much faster rate than if I were to grow them outside.

AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3 Week 9 – Left Side Walk Through

My Thai basil continues to strangle neighbouring herbs.

At 9 weeks, today was the largest harvest in the herb side of my Farm Plus. As each week passes, the amount that will be harvested will rapidly increase.

I’m still harvesting from back to front but will continue to go through each herb from back top left to bottom row right.

To begin, Week 8 left side after harvest compared to Week 9 left side before harvest.

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

Rosemary

The rosemary is really starting to green-up now.

The cloned rosemary is getting greener with each passing week.

Last week, my rosemary was/is 6 cm (almost 2.5 inches) tall. This week, it is 6.5 cm (2.6 inches tall). Because it’s still busy filling out at the top, I’m surprised that it grew in the last week. This week’s maintenance again 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 still continues to do amazingly well. So well, I had to cut of entire stems because it bulked up more than it grew taller. It grew 5 cm (2 inches) since it was harvested last week. After last week’s harvest, the sage measured 20 cm (almost 8 inches). Today, before harvesting, it measured 25 cm (9.8 inches). After harvesting, the sage measured 21 cm (8.3 inches). Yet another 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 after harvest vs today before harvest and today after harvest.

Left: Sage last week after harvest. Centre: Sage this week before harvest. Right: This week after harvest.

Thai Basil

This week was another week where I had to cut of entire stems of Thai basil.

I’m starting to think, there is nothing that will hold back basil of any variety. You break the harvesting rules and it just comes back bigger than ever.

After week 8 harvest, the Thai basil measured 21 cm (8.36 inches). Before this week’s harvest, it measured 27 cm (10.6 inches) before harvest. After the harvest, it measured 23 cm (9 inches).

Still, harvesting it was pretty daunting. There were even more new thin stems growing entangled in the mint and basil. Yet again, I had to cut off entire stems of Thai basil just to prevent it from growing anywhere. I cut off both young and old stems. We will see if it starts to curtain it this week and it begins to only grow where I want it to.

Above is a comparison of the Thai basil last week after harvest, this week before harvest and after harvest.

Oregano

I wish I could just let the oregano grow wild without consequences.

The oregano is even more full now. After last week’s harvest, the oregano measured 10 cm (4 inches). This week, before harvesting, it measured 14 cm (5.5 inches). Most of the growth was the oldest of the oregano getting larger leaves! This week after harvest, the oregano again measured 10 cm (4 inches).

During today’s harvest, I removed some of the carpet effect as it was getting tangled in with it’s neighbouring plants.

Italian Parsley

The Italian parsley is still doing quite well in its new home.

It’s a bit difficult to see because of how the tops of the Italian parsley are bending over other herbs, but it grew quite a bit in the last week.

Last week after harvest, the Italian parsley measured, 7 cm (2.75 inches). This week before harvest, it measured 23 cm (just over 9 inches)! Yet again, I only cut away a couple of the longer stems. After this week’s harvest, it measured 6 cm (2.4 inches).

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

Cilantro 1

I was amazed by this week’s harvest.

This week was the second time I was able to harvest the first cilantro plant. I was able to harvest at least double over last week. Last week, this cilantro plant measured 6 cm (2.4 inches). This week before harvest, it measured 17 cm (6.7 inches), more than doubling its height in one week. After harvest, it measured 9 cm (3.5 inches).

And below is the comparison photo of last week after harvest, this week before and after harvest.

Cilantro 2

At this point in my experiment, I think I’ll need a total of 4 cilantro plants growing at once to meet my cooking needs.

The second cilantro plant more than doubled in bulkiness since last week.

After last week’s harvest, it measured 9 cm (3.5 inches). This week, before harvesting, the second cilantro plant measured 18.5 cm (7.3 inches), more than doubling its height. After this week’s harvest, it measured 9.5 cm (3.7 inches).

And here is the comparison shot of last week after harvest, this week before and after harvest.

Mint

I am now on my fourth small freezer bag of mint.

And again, harvesting the mint was pretty daunting and time-consuming for the same reasons as the last few weeks. Yet again, I had to cut off entire stems. I am now keeping my mint prepared for storage in two different way: 1) With stems on for my dogs’ homemade dental chews; and 2) With only leaves for cooking Indian food.

After Week 8 harvest, the mint measured 17 cm (6.7 inches). This week, before harvest it measured 26 cm (10.2 inches). Again, that really is a lot of growth! After harvesting, it measured 20 cm (7.9 inches).

Left: The mint last week after harvest. Centre: This week before harvest. Right: This week after harvest.

Catnip

After 4 weeks there still no image of the catnip. So, today, I added maybe 20 seeds to the pod. If it doesn’t grow this time, I’m going to give up on catnip all together.

Thyme

I’m so happy the thyme is continuing to thrive.

My thyme is happy as always in the AeroGarden Farm Plus.

Last week, after harvesting, the thyme measured 6 cm (2.4 inches). This week, before harvesting, it measured 11 cm (4.3 inches. After this week’s harvest, it measured 7 cm (2.76 inches).

And now the comparison shot!

Cumin

Left: The cumin last week. Right: This week.

I honestly don’t know how the cumin is still alive and growing. It’s stem is so unhealthy and needs a lot of support. Yet, it persists.

Last week, the cumin measured 8 cm (just over three inches). This week, it measured 9 cm (3.5 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 mostly their own lighting. They each completely have their own lighting after dealing with the right side of the garden. Below are some images of this week’s harvest.

Top: This week’s entire herb harvest. Bottom left: Thai basil leafs ready for freezing. Bottom right: Mint leaves ready for freezing for human cooking.

AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3 Week 9 – Right Side Walk Through

The right side of my garden is once again a jungle!

I HAVE A PEPPERS AND A TOMATO! Plus, I’m so thankful that I keep a journal. Because, as I was tending to my garden this week and noticed how big my first jalapeno pepper has grown, I thought, “Wow! This is a lot of growth for more than two weeks!” HA! That pepper is only a week and a half old.

Before we get to all the new fruits and more, just as a reminder, below is a comparison of the right side last week after pruning and today before pruning.

Top: Last week after pruning. Bottom: This week before pruning.

I’m really laughing at myself for thinking I was done with the heavy pruning. As you’re about to see, I was so very wrong.

Manitoba Heirloom Tomatoes

Left: The Manitoba tomato front before pruning. Right: Back before pruning.

The Manitoba tomato plant is not only very tall but it now producing fruit! I nearly missed it because of how bushy the ding dang plant is.

As a reminder, the Manitoba Heirloom were planted on January 11, 2019. Last week, after pruning, it measured 55 cm (21.7 inches). Here is a breakdown of its maintenance and changes in the last week:

  • Tomato found on March 3, 2019!
  • This week, before and after pruning, the Manitoba tomato measured 58 cm (22.6 inches).
  • Continue to pollinate every day after the lights turn on.
  • Too many flowers to count on March 7.
  • Pruned March 7.

This week, I continued 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. However, I cut off a lot more. I’m behind updating the site’s FAQ with these instructions, but it will get done!.

And here are some comparison photos of the Manitoba tomato:

TOP ROW – Left: Manitoba tomato front before pruning. Centre: Back before pruning. Right: Tomato on March 3.
BOTTOM ROW: Left: Front after pruning. Centre: Back after pruning. Right: Tomato on March 7.

I really did prune a whole lot.

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

Left: The cherry tomato plant last week. Right: This week

I’m honestly amazed that this plant is not only still alive, but still growing. Especially as the lights are now way way too high for it to grow properly.

Last week, it measured 3 cm (1.2 inches). This week, it measured 5 cm (2 inches).

Serrano Peppers

The flowers have truly exploded. Fruit should be any day now.

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

I cannot wait until the Serrano pepper plant starts to produce chilis. Serrano peppers are the hot pepper I use the most in my kitchen.

Last week, the Serrano pepper measured 30 cm (1 foot). This is how the last week’s maintenance looked:

  • Serrano pepper measured 37 cm (14.8 inches) on March 7.
  • Pruned March 7.
  • Continue to pollinate every day when the lights turn on.
  • Too many flowers to now count.

Between Week 7 and 8, the Serrano pepper hasn’t grown at all in height. That changed this week, as it grew by 7 cm (almost 3 inches). Now that its canopy is above the neighbouring peppers for good, the flowers are really beginning to explode.

Below is a comparison of last week after pruning, and this week before and after pruning.

It’s difficult to tell how much I pruned as it was mostly in the back, but I did end up taking off a fair amount of leaves.

Sweet Bell Peppers

It’s unbelievable how much the bell pepper bulked out in the last week.

I have THREE baby bell peppers! And they are super adorable! Here is a summary of other changes and maintenance details:

  • 2 bell peppers found March 3.
  • 1 bell pepper found March 4.
  • Pruned March 7.
  • More flowers than can be counted
  • Continue to pollinate daily after the lights turn on.

This plant has started to slow down its growth as it concentrates on producing fruit but it grew more significantly when compared to Week 7 vs 8. Last week, it measured 25 cm (just under 10 inches). This week, the bell pepper plant measured 28.5 cm (11.2 inches).

Below is a photo last week after pruning, this week before and after pruning, and some bell peppers.


I can’t wait to see how fast these peppers grow when compared to its spicy jalapeno cousin.

Jalapeno Peppers

We now have 6 jalapeno peppers! A couple were hiding before I pruned.

The jalapeno pepper continues to have way too many buds and flowers to count. I no longer worry about knocking flowers off during pruning. For each flower that falls off, another handful of buds grow elsewhere. There are probably over 100 buds on this plant right now. I can afford to lose quite a bit.

But the most exciting news is that I now have 6 peppers and the first one should be ready to harvest any day now!

The jalapeno pepper plant, too, had a lot changes over the last week:

  • 4 more peppers found March 5.
  • 1 new pepper found March 7.
  • Continue to pollinate daily when the lights turn on.
  • First pepper measured 6 cm (2.4 inches)  on March 7. That’s twice the length since 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). This week, it measured 28.5 cm (11.2 inches). Below are some comparison photos.

Top left: Jalapeno last week after harvest. Top right: This week before. Bottom left: The first jalapeno pepper’s size this week. Bottom centre-left: One of the peppers found on March 5. Bottom centre-right: 3 jalapenos bunched close. Bottom right: This week after pruning.

Red-Fire Chili

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

The red-fire chili is the little pepper that could. This week didn’t involve pruning, like last week, but there was growth.

Last week, it measured 12.5 cm (4 inches). This week, the red-fire chili plant measured 13.5 cm (5.3 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.

Like the other chilis that have produced flowers, it too now has more flowers than I can count..

Last week, the super hot measured measured 16 cm (just over 6 inches). This week, it measured 20 cm (7.9 inches). I can’t wait until it gets its first tiny fruit! I’m still doing daily pollination. This week, I also had to prune some leaves.

 

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

After I was was done pruning everything, the pile of leaves and branches was super tall. So tall, I decided to not only take a top view but also a front view so you can see that it’s taller than the bed of the AeroGarden Sprout LED.

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

The top part of the image is the right side this week before pruning. The bottom is after. It allows for a much better appreciation of exactly how much needed to be pruned, even with the addition of the extra view of the clippings pile.

Finally, below is an image of the entire garden before and after this week’s maintenance. Now every herb once again has its own light and so do the fruits.

My AeroGarden Farm Plus Garden 3 Week 9 Journal Update

Now that I have fruits, I need to go through my sticker collection again to see if I have any pepper and tomato stickers. I’m still adding flowers to my journal in addition to the butterflies that symbolize pollination.

Something is still going on with my Polaroid Zip that it’s still producing a line through the photos, though after adding new paper, wiping the printer head, and re-calibrating, the streak isn’t as thick.

This past week was rough. I was really thankful for the hours in my garden room today. It really helped to ground me instead of having PTSS-induced anxiety screaming at an 11. I know I said today’s maintenance took one hour total, but I took a very long extra time taking photos, measuring, stopping half way through to tend to the my first Sprout LED, and just spending minutes closing my eyes and listening to the water pumps.

It was very good.

I will still 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. But before I do that, I’ll be writing up a journal layout guide to fulfill the reward for one of my Patrons of the AeroGarden Beginner Journaler tier. You can expect that in the next couple of weeks, after Patrons get it.

I am still extremely please with how this experiment is going! I think I it almost narrowed down in regards to how many of each herb I will need to grow. I’m still a bit away from knowing how many of each fruit I need to plant. Which sucks, only because I hate having to wait to purchase my second AeroGarden 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.

2 Comments
  • Jen
    Posted at 18:16h, 08 March Reply

    Fantastic progress!

    • Jules Sherred
      Posted at 18:24h, 08 March Reply

      It’s really difficult to not type these posts in all caps and italic for extra emphasis. I think after this weekend, the first jalapeno will be ready to pluck!

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