AeroGarden Sprout LED Garden 2: Week 6 Update

AeroGarden Sprout LED Garden 2: Week 6 Update

There has been some major changes to my AeroGarden Sprout LED Garden #2 which led to a pretty significant harvest. I’ve also noticed a potentially huge health change in regards to one of my auto-immune disorders!

Every time I check on my AeroGardens — which is multiple times throughout the day — there is always something new and exciting to discover.

Today’s update will not only include what today’s tending entailed, but also a comparison to two weeks ago, and details about significant changes to my psoriasis.

AeroGarden Sprout LED Garden #2 Condition Two Week Ago

AeroGarden Sprout LED Garden #2 was pretty sad at week 4.

Two weeks ago, there wasn’t much happening with my second Sprout LED. The chives were already harvested a couple of times. AeroGarden’s guides say that chives are slow to grow, but mine has been growing extremely fast. I kept having to cut it down so that I could keep the grow lights at their lowest height.

Two weeks ago is when I was finally able to remove the grow dome from the mint. The mint is supposed to be fast-growing. The thyme’s grow dome didn’t come off until a week ago. Thyme is slow-growing, so I didn’t find that too abnormal. However, I was greatly concerned that my mint wasn’t growing as expected.

What I Did in an Attempt to get my AeroGarden Sprout LED Garden #2 to Thrive

I was baffled as to why my first Sprout LED was thriving and my second one was simply sad. I says in the growing guides that as long as you’re comfortable in the room that houses the gardens, then your gardens will also be comfortable.

The room that houses my AeroGardens didn’t have the air vent open. The room was being heated, but just barely. It being winter, I thought, “Maybe it’s getting too cold overnight for these smaller plants to thrive?” So, I opened the air vent to allow more warm air to be pushed into the room.

The results as you are about to see are stunning!

AeroGarden Sprout LED Garden #2 Condition Before Harvesting Herbs

AeroGarden Sprout LED Garden #2 before harvest

After opening the air vent, after two short weeks, my chives had grown to be upwards of 20 cm (8 inches) height; my mint was growing like a weed with some stems reaching out to the lights of my other Sprout LED, and the thyme had grown significantly.

The difference is quite remarkable. I knew my second Sprout LED was starting to thrive, but I didn’t realise just how much change there was in these two short weeks until I compared it to the photo from my week 4 update.

AeroGarden Sprout LED Garden #2 Week 6 Maintenance Details

AereoGarden Sprout LED Garden #2 after harvest.

Just like with my Sprout LED Garden #1, this week’s maintenance took about five minutes. Today’s Sprout LED maintenance included filling the water to the full line, adding a cap-full of nutrients, harvesting, and lowering the light to as low as they go.

I harvested the mint stems that were reaching towards my other Sprout LED and the stems that that were growing over the thyme. I also rotated the mint so the shorter stems at the back of the AeroGarden are now beside the thyme and getting more light.

I harvest all of the very long chives and cut down a couple of the medium-sized chives so that the height was more uniform. I also pinched off some thyme leaves that were starting to brown because the mint was overshadowing it.

Finally, I lowered the lights all the way down.

Things to Know When Pruning/Harvesting Your AeroGardens

There are some things that are ‘normal’ when it comes to how you prune your plants. The normal part is that you always cut above a set of starter leaves, beginning your first pruning when there are three sets of leaves. Also, you never prune more than 30 per cent of your plant.

The thing that is different than outdoor gardens is that you want to treat your AeroGarden plants like bonsai trees. You don’t want to encourage sideways growth. The reason for this is two-fold. First, you want to keep the plants under the lights as much as possible. Second, sideways growth blocks the light to neighbouring plants.

So, pruning also means training to grow the plant in the direct you want to go — up — as well as making sure no neighbouring plants are being blocked.

When pruning, be sure the following take priority:

  1. Prune any stems that are growing vertical, following the 30 per cent rule.
  2. Cut off any leaves that are growing over neighbouring plants.
  3. Rotate the plant so that shorter parts of the plant are directly underneath the lights.

Is AeroGarden-ing Treating my Psoriasis?

The following is pretty life-changing if true. Right now, it’s a theory that is being tested.

I’ve already written about the health benefits of AeroGarden-ing, both physical and mental health. As always, I journalled about this week’s Sprout LED tending for the mental health aspects.

AeroGarden Sprout LED Garden 2 Week 6 journal update

Today, I noticed something very significant in terms of physical health: The psoriasis on my face has vastly improved.

A little background is necessary here. I was diagnosed with psoriasis nearly 40 years ago, when I was six years old. That is significantly younger than the average age of onset which is early 20s.

One of the treatments for psoriasis is UV light. The kicker: Thanks to lupus — which I have lived with for 30 years now — I’m allergic to the sun. So, spending time in the sun during the summer to clear up my face isn’t an option. Though, even the light I get sitting under my covered back porch in the summer helps to clear it up some.

In the winter, my psoriasis comes out with a vengeance. It’s red, painful and on fire, especially on my face and scalp. I’m on methotrexate for my lupus which also is used for treatment of psoriasis, but if that doesn’t help in the winter. It’s just terrible and painful.

The last few weeks, I’ve been spending, at minimum, five minutes every day in my garden room, plus going in multiple times every few hours just to take a boo because my gardens are at a point where every hour there is something new.

When I woke up this morning, I took a good look in the mirror — dysphoria prevents me from doing this regularly — and noticed my psoriasis were not red and raised. In fact, it was a pale shade of pink and not as scaly.

I checked on my gardens briefly on my way to my home office. The next time I used the bathroom, I noticed even more improvement. Then, I spent 20 minutes in my garden room — 5 minutes tending to my gardens and 15 minutes updating my journal. I used the washroom again and there was yet again even more improvement!

I’m going to continue to monitor this over the next few weeks. If the psoriasis on my face clears up 90 – 95 per cent, in the winter of all times, then I has to be from the UV from the full-spectrum lights! I’ve never had it clear up 100 per cent, despite multiple types of treatment, and it has never not been horrible during the winter.

This is huge news if my theory is proven to be true!

UPDATE ON THE LIGHTS, LUPUS AND PSORIASIS:  January 16, 2019, I spent over 30 minutes in my garden room, looking at my plants, enjoying the sights, smells and sound of the water spilling over each pod in the Farm Plus. Shortly after the 30-minute mark, that is when I started to have a reaction to the UV. When under regular sunlight, that reaction typically occurs within 5 – 10 minutes, even with sunscreen on.

So, now it’s all about moderation: No more than 20 minutes in my garden room until I can purchase a big comfy chair that I can place far enough away from the lights where they won’t hurt me, yet still spent time enjoying the sights, smells and sounds of my garden. The lights over the AeroGarden beds are so concentrated on the plant beds, that I’m not getting the full force of the sun on my face, but it’s enough UV to be a bugger all the same when I’m sitting at the dresser that houses my gardens.

Thursday will be the first update about my AeroGarden Farm Plus. I’m very excited to share it with you because, already, a bunch of exciting things have happened!

If you have any questions about today’s AeroGarden maintenance, questions about using the AeroGarden for mental health benefits, or questions about AeroGarden-ing in general, please feel free to ask them in the comments!

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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.

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