How to replace the nozzle/aerator stem on the AeroGarden Sprout

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Background

Older models of the AeroGarden Sprout have an aeration nozzle with three small holes. These easily get blocked with time resulting in poor aeration. I reported this to AeroGrow and they gave me detailed instructions on how to remove the nozzle and clean it. But they also told me if I continued to have issues with it, they would send me a new nozzle that has one large hole, instead of the three smaller holes. So I cleaned the nozzle and it worked fine for a while, but the issue persisted. I contacted them again, and they sent me the new nozzle and repair tool free of charge.

What’s included

  • New version of the nozzle
  • Tool for removing the old nozzle. It looks like a piece of pvc with notches on one end.
  • Instructions

Steps to fix

  1. Use the supplied tool to twist the existing nozzle out by lining up the notches and turning counter-clockwise.
  2. Screw in the replacement nozzle and use the tool to tighten it back in, turning clockwise.

Conclusion

I’m very happy the customer service from AeroGrow. They’ve always been very responsive to issues and questions. They stand behind their product.

Video of the replacement process:

Indoor Hydroponics Grow Update – 2/18/17

Everything’s doing really well. Many of the AeroGarden and diy dwc plants need to be transplanted to cups. I’ve done seven so far. D3’s Aji Painapple f2 is the fastest grower so far. I’m attempting to clone it by taking cuttings. I put one in a Kratky bottle, and two back in the AeroGarden. I’ll probably do at least a couple more. It looks like this plant is going to be a beast. I’m leaving the parent plant in the AeroGarden, and if the cuttings root I’ll put them outside in a combination of kratky and self watering containers. I’m hope the pods taste as good as the f1. They were awesome.

How to grow lettuce using the Kratky method

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How to grow lettuce (and anything else) using the Kratky method of fill and forget non-circulating hydroponics.

Kratky grown lettuce

Materials needed:

  • Tote – The capacity needs to support a minimum of one gallon per plant. Also take into account you will lose some volume between the lid and net cups, unless have a tote with a raised lid. So, for a 10 gallon tote, six plants is good.
  • Lettuce seeds – You can get these anyway, lowes, walmart, etc… or amazon and ebay. They are very inexpensive, usually 1-3 thousand for two or three dollars.
  • Net cups – I like using the three inch net cups, but you can use whatever you have.
  • Hole saw – If using the three inch cups, a three inch hole saw (and arbor) cuts the perfect size. This is not necessarily true for the two inch cup and two inch hole saw, unless you get two inch cups with wide lids.
  • Grow sponges – This is to hold the seed until it germinates and sprouts. You can use peat based sponges like what AeroGrow and Park Seed sell, or rockwool. Rockwool needs to be pre-treated to lower the pH. I using the 6-0 refill size biodome sponges that Park Seed sells. These cost around 18.00 for 120.
  • Growing medium – This is to anchor the plant, you need something with good aeration. Clay pebbles (hydroton) or coco coir chunks work great.
  • Nutrients – Check with your hydroponics store, or search online. Most will work fine, like Maxibloom, Maxigrow, Dyna Grow, etc… I use a mix of MasterBlend, MgSO4 and Ca(NO3)2. More information on that here.
  • Grow light – T8 shop lights are fine. I personally like the Utilitech brand that Lowes sells, because the housing is so narrow that you can fit three side by side on an 18″ shelf. Try to get the daylight spectrum bulbs. CFL and LED lights work great too.

Steps:

  1. Drill holes in the tote lid using hole saw. For three shallow 10 gallon tote I made six holes.
  2. Place sponge in the net cup and fill around it with grow medium, i.e. Clay pebbles, coco coir, etc…
  3. Place a small pinch of seeds (3-5) in the top of the sponge. It should have a small hole in the top for seeds
  4. Put the tote in place where it will stay and fill with nutrient solution. It should come up to a half inch to an inch from the bottom of the net cup. You can place an empty net cup in there to check the water level.
  5. With the lid secure, place the filled net cups in the lid.
  6. Turn on the grow lights and leave them on 24/7 until the sprouts come up and produce at least one set of true leaves
  7. Once the sprouts are strong enough to stand on their own, start thinning them down, eventually to just one per net pot. If there are several, this should not be done all at once.
  8. When the individual remaining sprouts have matured and have at least a couple sets of true leaves, put the light on timer and run 10-12 hours per day.

* The links to Amazon are affiliate links.

Here’s a video of the process:

2017 Grow – Update 3 – Indoor hydroponics pepper garden

All of my pepper seeds have germinated in hydro (mostly AeroGardens), except for White Bhut W Strain. I’m going to start some more of those soon to see if I can get one to come up. I also will start a few more different types. I built the new version of my low-pressure aeroponics (sprayaponics) system, and moved my Helios Hab to it. It is in my 24″ x 24″ grow tent under the 216 watt (actual 65) UFO LED. I have a fan mounted at the top. The pump and fan are both on a minute cycle timer running 5 minutes on/off. I potted up 5 of the largest plants from the AeroGardens, putting then in 20 oz Styrofoam cups, using Fox Farm Light Warrior. Three of the potted up plants are in the grow tent with the Helios Hab. The ones that were potted up were El Scorponero f2, Puerto Rican Yellow Hab, Reaper x Moruga f3, Brazilian Red Olive and Peach Moruga Scorpion. I shot a lot of video on the build process of the low-pressure aeroponic system and will post it in a couple of weeks. It is an improved design from the one I made last year. It has a double bucket system which allows for a deeper reservoir. The design allows for easy change of nutrients without ever having to disturb the roots. The pump is accessible from outside the growing chamber.

Here’s video from my grow update:

How to make an alternative AeroGarden type system for starting pepper seeds

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I made a very inexpensive system that functions similarly to some AeroGarden models, out of a 5 gallon bucket. It uses 16 of the standard AeroGrow white baskets and sponges. You can save money by using the biodome sponges from Park Seed.

Parts needed:

  • 5 gallon bucket with lid – Get at Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, etc…
  • Air pump, stone and tubing – this is to oxygenate the nutrient solution. A cheap one from Walmart or Amazon will work fine.
  • 1.5 inch hole saw – 1.25 inch works too. It’ll be a little tighter and sit higher up.
  • AeroGarden grow baskets
  • AeroGarden sponges – Or save some money and get the biodome sponges from Park Seed.
  • Nutrient solution – You can use the stuff AeroGrow sells which works fine. In the long run, something like MasterBlend is cheaper. Here’s more information on buying and mixing that.

For germinating, seeds can be placed directly in the sponges and baskets, and set in the lid with nutrient solution touching the lower third/half of the sponges. In my testing, sprouts come up within two weeks. It would probably speed up the process to heat the water some, but I haven’t tried that.

* Links to Amazon are affiliate links.

I made a video showing how I put this together:

Pepper Grow and Indoor Garden Update from 1/22/17

The following video shows an update on my 2017 pepper starts, as well as circulating and non-circulating hydroponic lettuce grows. Also my DWC Jamaican Hot Chocolate and self-watering containers housing the Thai Dragon and Tien Tsin peppers.

This year I’m starting my seeds directly in the AeroGardens or in my DIY AeroGarden that I made.

Easy solution for changing hydroponic nutrients in standalone DWC system

I’ve worked out an easy way to refresh nutrients in stand alone DWC systems. It involves using a container within a container. The internal container has holes drilled in it and houses the plant and aeration stone and tubing. When changing nutrients simply add fresh solution to a new clean container. Then lift the internal container out and transfer it to the new container. The benefits of this are:

  1. Ease of changing nutrients reduces barrier to proper maintenance.
  2. When changing nutrients, roots are not disturbed.

I’ve been changing nutrients for my year+ old Jamaican Hot Chocolate every two weeks, but the rate of consumption has increased and more solution needs to be added in between weeks.

Here’s a video I made showing the process:

TopoGrow Grow Tent 24″ x 24″ x 48″

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Grow tent with led light on

TopoGrow 24″ 24″ Grow Tent

I’m planning to build an improved low pressure aeroponics system, and will run a test of it in this tent using the UFO LED (216/65 watt) grow light. The plant I will use is Helios Hab since it should grow and produce early, and not get too huge.

Here’s a video showing the unboxing and assembly.

Instructions that were included. It shows some assembly for other models as well.

instructions front

instructions back

Gianor 216W UFO LED Grow Light

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I just purchased a Gianor 216W UFO Led Grow Light from Amazon. It has 72 3 watt leds. I’m not sure how that translates, but the actual usage is supposed to be around 65 watts. Shown below are the specs listed on the Amazon site. It has good reviews and I think it’ll be great for what I’ll use it for. The shipped box contained the light, power adapter and hanging kit. I posted an unboxing video on YouTube (below).

Parameters,
Chips Brand: High Efficiency 3W Epistar Leds
Chips Qty: 72pcs 3W Leds ( 42* Red +12*Blue + 6* Whie+3*UV+3*IR+6*Orange)
Led: 72*3W= 216W
Actual Energy Consumption, 65W ±5%
Lumens: 5000~6000Lm
View Angle: 90°/120°
Working Temperature: 90°F -110°F (32.2°C – 43.3°C)
Lifespan: >50,000hours
Worldwide Voltage: AC85~265V
Warranty: 3 Years
Certification: CCC,CE,FCC, RoHS
Color Ratio, Full spectrum 430nm 450nm 460nm 630nm 640nm 660nm, 3500K, UV, IR, White, Orange.
Coverage Area About 3 x 2.5 Square Feet ( The lighting area and the height are changeable according to different plants and environments )

Unboxing video:

Tien Tsin (Chinese Red Pepper)

Tien Tsin (Chinese Red Pepper)
Tien Tsin pepper

Capsicum annuum

Background:
The Tien Tsin is a Capsicum annuum, orginating in China. It produces bright red pods that are 3-4 inches long, and around 1/2 inch in diameter. These peppers are often dried and cooked with Kung Pao Chicken and other Asian recipes. The Scovilles range from 50,000 to 75,000.

Ratings:
Heat: 4
Flavor: 4
Burn Profile: Mouth
Effects: None
Cap Cramps Potential: None

Review:
The pod I tried came from my AeroGarden and tasted a little green and tangy. There wasn’t a lot of flavor, and the heat seemed to be in the upper range of hotter Thai peppers.

Video review: