AeroGarden Review: Make Indoor Herbs A No-Brainer

aerogrow aerogarden 6 black w gourmet herb seed kit 200411746016 AeroGarden Review: Make Indoor Herbs A No Brainer

By far one of my favorite gifts under the tree, the AeroGrow AeroGarden with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit was a welcome surprise for a green thumb like me, who misses gardening during the winter months. A solution for year-round indoor herb and flower growing, this all containing unit consists of growth lights, seed pods, and fertilizers that work together in a soil-less counter-top garden. The premise of the system is built on aeroponic technology, which allows for a more bountiful crop when plants are grown in a highly oxygenated and nutrient rich pool of water. AeroGarden has perfected this technology for the average consumer by creating a product that more or less runs itself when set up correctly, and is family and novice gardener friendly.

The kit can be assembled in five minutes or less, with or without the detailed directions, and is up and running as soon as you plug it into the wall.  The hood lamp is adjustable, and can grow in height along with your plants, and the center piece of the garden kit holds within it the water basin, and air bubbler. The base of the unit contains a pre-programmed computer that will monitor the water level, growth light timing, and fertilization for you, once the variety of seed being planted is selected from the menu (ie: herb, veggie, flower, etc.) Once the initial set-up is completed, lights on the base of the unit will alert you to a need for fertilization or water, taking all of the guess work out of indoor gardening. This also assists the novice gardener by preventing two of the main causes of house plant death, over-watering, and fertilization problems.  The Nutrient tablets that come with the kit are well labeled and rationed for you, needing only to be added when the garden system alerts you to a need for either. Seed pods consist of small, pre-planted baskets, with a peat moss lining, that snap into the open holes over the water basin.  All the pods are well labeled with the plant’s name and future height (short, medium, tall), along with a hint as to when the first sprouts should appear.

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Tips to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden, Yard or Patio

img 0067 300x225 Tips to Attract Butterflies to Your Garden, Yard or PatioWhile butterflies may not be the most important or efficient pollinators (in terms of how much work they can accomplish in a garden), they can easilly be one of the most visually beautiful and enjoyable creatures in your garden. If you like seeing a multitude of these beauties in your garden, there are a few simple tricks you can do to secure a long term stay of summer butterflies around your yard. I’ve picked up a lot of little tricks while creating several “Backyard Habitats,” and this is the first tip I want to share with you!

Once mating season begins for the male butterflies, their life is one completely centered around finding mates, and perching to rest before looking for more mates! Male butterflies can scent an eligible female from a distance of up to one mile, and will expend most of their energy searching for and securing mates. While females generally mate once, males mate many times. In areas where males are few, they may exhaust themselves satisfying the local female population who become more aggressive in their need to reproduce, once they sense the lack of healthy partners. One of the keys to attracting pollinators (and butterflies in general) is plant selection. You want to build inviting areas for nectar drinking, perching, and hopefully egg laying. To create an area that attracts those busy male butterflies, provide an area that will meet the needs of the females, while creating a place that the male can relax and restock on the nutrients he is losing in the mating process.

The two most important steps to take for attracting male butterflies to your pollinator garden are this:

  1. Provide a separate water source that is protected from birds. Either a short bird bath, a ceramic dish, or a pot’s catch basin will suffice. A quiet water source for these busy creatures will become a basking location, and a place for a quick drink in between all the nectar sipping. Nectar does not meet most of the nutritional needs of butterflies, so males generally congregate around the edges of ponds and streams to drink and absorb the important minerals contained in the sand and soil, that they need to keep up their energy. You can provide this nutritional necessity for them in your yard, to complete your butterfly haven, and to secure long term visitation of the male.
  2. Provide a sandy spot, or an artificial stream bed in your yard for the males to absorb the minerals and nutrients lost in their exertions. Sand can be transported from a local stream to your yard, or it can be purchased cheaply at your local garden center. What I have done in the past is to buy a bag of sand, and to fill a large aluminum cookie tin with it. I place the cookie tin in the ground, with the lip of the tin, and the sand roughly at mulch, or dirt level. Male butterflies have never failed to approach these areas to rest, and revive after a hard days work. I have found also that an excellent side benefit to having an artificial stream bed, is an increased ability to photograph butterflies here, since they are finally holding still!


For a little lite reading on butterfliles, and their nutritional information, here’s a great resource I’ve found!

Your thoughts: Do you have any tried-and-true secrets to attract butterflies to your yard or patio? Do you have any favorite photographs of butterflies that you have taken in your garden or yard? If so, please send them my way! You can email me at greengardenista@gmail.com. I will post any pictures that I receive on a special “Garden Wildlife” feature coming soon to Green Gardenista!