what veg is the fastest to grow?
Lettuce grows to first harvest in an Aerogarden in 3-4 weeks, more like 6-8 weeks outdoors in soil.
Toy choi (dwarf pak choi) and mustard greens grow to harvest size in 30 days, soil or hydroponic.
In soil, small radishes take 3-4 weeks.
P.S. The quickest fruiting veggie I know of is zucchini, with cucumber a close second. (About 7 and 9 weeks.) They're big plants, though. You'll have noticed all the ingenuity around here going into mastering the hydroponic cucumber.
Hands down lettuce is the easiest and quickest thing to grow in an aerogarden. Basil is the next easiest. I'll defer other herbs to the rest of the crew here. I'm trying tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers for the first time, so I can't comment yet....
lettuce hmmmm i guess all greens taste the same?
Well, no, all greens don't taste the same. There's lettuce-family and brassica-family and others as "greens". Spinach family just doesn't grow in an Aerogarden, and is much harder to grow outdoors, as well. Lettuces taste a lot alike, but differ quite a bit in texture/crunchiness. The brassicas include mustards, cabbages, broccoli... much stronger flavored and a lot of variety. There's also the beet family of greens, like swiss chard...
Gisette, I'd love to hear more about your successes (and less-than-successful experiences) with the various greens that you've listed.
OK, Tealover. But I think I've said most of it above.
Fastest / best things to grow in an Aerogarden, harvest leaves at 3-4 weeks. Romaines are more heat-tolerant and winter-dry-air-tolerant, last longer & have better texture than looseleaf. Heading lettuce isn't as appropriate - haven't grown much. Lettuce gardens tend to have a useful life of only 2-3 months. Of that, only a couple weeks are big salad weeks. But you'll have a few leaves for sandwiches or snacks whenever you want them.
brassicas (mustard, komatsuna, mizuna, tatsoi, dwarf pak choi, kale, etc.)
Grow in an Aerogarden, but for me, grow no faster than they would in potting mix. Nice mixed in with lettuces, but the lettuces will outcompete them, so best to plant in separate pods. My favorites are komatsuna (tastes slightly like horse radish), dwarf pak choi, and tendergreen mustard. The latter two reach harvest size in 4 weeks. Brassicas are very finicky about water in the Aerogarden - prefer rainwater or distilled. Not really so good for cut&come again - they don't grow very fast.
Will grow in an Aerogarden, but not well. Much better grown in lime-enriched potting mix - they love soil near 7.0 pH. Not sure if they'd grow OK in an Aerogarden with the pH adjusted upwards - haven't tried it.
Does not grow in an Aerogarden. Period.
Corn salad (mache)
I've only tried this once, and haven't seen others do it. For me the seed rotted in the pod, no sprouts.
I've seen others grow it in an Aerogarden. Mine didn't do so well. Still don't really know what it's supposed to taste like.
OK, it's not a green. But - bush green beans grow really, really easily in potting mix with a little bean innoculant added. Have grown green beans on a west-facing windowsill in late winter, and they yielded much better than anything I've seen in Aerogarden yields. But - my one attempt to grow beans in the Aerogarden got a grotesque gelid waterborne illness long before flowering.
Bull's Blood Beet, Radishes, etc.
Beet greens and radish greens are greens, yes, but anything with a plump root doesn't belong in an Aerogarden. Bull's Blood Beet probably would grow, though (same family as Swiss chard). Just need to yank it while its plump root (underground stem) is not plump. I've recently grown radishes in potting mix under a 6500K CFL bulb - harvest in 3 weeks (radishes, not just the greens).
Oh - if growing for kids, I highly recommend bush green beans in potting mix with soil innoculant, as "easiest thing to grow". With good light, they'll harvest in only 5-6 weeks, they seem to grow before your very eyes, and kids like to eat them. Always a key consideration.
P.S. Tealover - have you ever actually grown tea? Like the AG tea kit? I would so love to see a picture of that, if you could post it / post a link to where you've got pictures. I'm hoping for a soil tea garden this year. So far I have pineapple sage, mint, and just-sprouting lemon balm. And a borage sprout in an Aerogarden. Will grow lemon basil later.
Wow, Gisette. That's the best summary of greens that I've ever seen. Thanks!
Do you have a link to the seeds for the bush beans? Are they really messy plants, like the AG beans appear to be?
I haven't tried AG's tea kit for a few reasons:
- The health benefits of tea (like antioxidants) seem to be documented best for real green tea or white tea leaves. I haven't seen any reports of health benefits of other leaves used for tea.
- I do add the AG mint from the basic herb kit to my unflavored teas sometimes, and it's a refreshing change of pace.
- I love Earl Grey tea, but I've heard that AG's bergamot isn't the same flavor that tea producers add to Earl Grey.
Lemon basil sounds intriguing. Is it for tea?
I'll look forward to hearing more about your teas!
Any time, TeaLover.
Green beans. Here's Jessi's log of Aerogarden green beans - fairly typical report from what I've seen. She got farther than I did with my AG mini, which was a traumatically disgusting incident. And this is a log of my windowsill potted green beans (including link to the seed). And bean inoculant. The latter adds symbiotic bacteria to the soil, which are probably missing from potting mix or a garden that's never had legumes before. That business about legumes fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil, thus renewing its fertility? All true, but it needs its partner bacteria to do it. This time of year, you can also find packets of Burpee bean inoculant on seed racks at big stores.
Green beans drop flowers. They're pretty flowers, tho. Not terribly messy, but kinda.
Beth turned me on to the lemon basil. I suppose it's mostly for use as basil in recipes, but its lemon flavor is really strong! So makes a nice herb tea, too, or sprig in iced tea or ice water. I like green and white and orange and black teas, too, but probably drink iced herb teas most. (Yeah, I drink a lot of tea!) Or rather, half herb and half cheap decaf orange & black pekoe (standard brown tea). I've heard health benefits of other herbs, though not as thoroughly researched, as you say. Borage tea (made from the flowers!) is supposed to be a good cheer-me-up, diuretic, and anti-inflammatory. I'm curious about calendula (pot marigold), too. Supposed to have lots of health benefits, and like borage, it's a flowering herb, so pretty in the front garden.
Pineapple sage is nice as a sprig in iced tea, as you say with mint. Definite pineapple flavor, and pretty plants. Grows in an Aerogarden, but it's a perennial. I'm rooting some cuttings now, from a plant I rooted as a cutting for my mother to grow in her Aerogarden over the winter - third generation cuttings! Don't know yet whether any of my outdoor plants will come back.