If you want to grow vegetables and herbs indoors all year round, you need an appropriate setup. There are all-in-one solutions, so-called indoor gardens, for easy entry. These offer everything you need with lighting, water containers, and seed pods. We give an introduction to the topic in the guide to Smart Indoor Gardens: Growing vegetables & herbs in the house.
After Emsa Smart Garden 3 (test report), Bosch Smart grow 3 (test report) and Prêt à Pousser Lilo (test report) could not convince, it is the turn of the Aerogarden. We tested for almost three weeks whether it delivers a good result.
The Aerogarden Harvest consists of two units: a base plate with an input field and an attachment. The input field warns of low water levels and missing nutrients, for example, by lighting up the LEDs with the English-language text Add Water or Add Nutrition. The Select button enables the lighting duration to be set, the Reset button enables the lighting and irrigation to be restarted – for example, when the harvest requires water or nutrients.
The attachment consists of a water bowl, water pump and full-spectrum LED lighting. When the plants get bigger, the lighting unit can be extended up to 30 centimeters with a telescopic arm. This is much more convenient compared to the models from Bosch and Emsa – plug-in modules are included to increase the lighting. It is also a good five to ten centimeters more than with the Lilo or Smart grow 3 and offers more space for plants to grow. You can learn more here cocafish.
The Aerogarden Harvest is well made. Visually and haptically, however, it looks more like a cheap flower box from the hardware store. Bosch, Emsa, and Prêt à Pousser place significantly more emphasis on design – but that is of course a matter of taste.
The Harvest’s plant pot has space for six plant capsules, while the Bosch, Emsa, and Prêt à Pousser models only have three. In a set of 6, the capsules cost between 7.50 euros for flowers and herbs and 45 euros for tea. Alternatively, there are growing plugs for your plant cultivation from various dealers. Around 100 pieces cost around 30 euros on Amazon.
For our Test, we have ordered a Harvest in a set with plant capsules and a bottle of nutrients. The starter set costs around 25 euros more. Our package includes pots for mint, thyme, Thai basil, Italian basil, curly parsley, and dill.
Unlike the devices from Bosch & Co., the Aerogarden Harvest does not have an app but displays all relevant data directly on the device. Easy to understand instructions are included with the Harvest. You don’t need it for the construction, but it offers additional tips for cultivation. As mentioned, the Harvest consists of two components and, compared to the other models, does not have to be assembled in several steps. That makes the construction easy: you connect the base plate and the planter with a cable and insert the planter. The harvest is then connected to the electricity. The standard program starts automatically and activates the lighting for 18 hours per day. The manufacturer recommends 24-hour lighting for the initial growth of herbs. You activate them by clicking on Select in the input field.
The plant bowl holds around one liter of water. That is enough for a good two weeks to grow and corresponds to the capacity of the Bosch Smart grow 3 and the Emsa Smart Garden 3. The Prêt à Pousser model hold around 500 milliliters less per pot. For the filling, remove the plastic flap on the top of the bowl and fill the water up to the marked point. The Harvest waters the plants for around three seconds every hour. The excess water then drips off again. In the models by Emsa and Prêt à Pousser, the plants float permanently in the water. This can lead to mold growth.
The Harvest offers three lighting modes for rearing – 16, 18, or 24 hours. Our test harvest has been growing plants with 24-hour lighting for around 20 days. The result is sobering at this time. While the Smart Garden 3 (test report) showed small plants within 48 hours or the Lilo (test report) in six days, the Aerogarden only brought one out of six plants to sprout. With a height of around three centimeters, it is not big. According to the manufacturer, the Harvest creates a harvest-ready result within 35 days. We don’t believe in that, the harvest takes significantly more time.
In contrast to the models from Bosch, Emsa, and Prêt à Pousser, Harvest does not have an associated app. Is that a disadvantage? No, because the apps from the other manufacturers are more like a book with tips for home gardeners than a smart extension. The garden is operated using the Lights on / off, Select and Reset buttons. Here you switch the harvest on or off, regulate the lighting duration, and restart the cycle with the reset button. The latter is necessary when new nutrients are replenished. This happens around every two weeks, a bottle is designed for a complete growth cycle. But if you save something, you get a good two cycles. The Aerogarden product displays all information on the control unit. If there is not enough water in the container, an LED flashes. If there is a lack of nutrients, another LED lights up – nothing more is needed.
If you still want the same information on your smartphone, you have to buy the Aerogarden Bounty for around 300 euros. This model reflects the information from the garden on an app for Android and iOS and offers space for nine plants and an LED display instead of an analog control unit.
The concept of the Aerogarden Harvest looks well thought out and mature despite the increased time for plant growth compared to the other gardens tested. The indoor garden provides information about when it needs water or nutrients. It also offers different lighting cycles for the different stages of plant growth. We think the LED lighting is more sophisticated than in the competition. It offers three lighting modes and can be extended to up to 30 centimeters without plug-in modules. Compared to the models from Emsa and Bosch, this is much more convenient.
A shame: As with the Emsa Smart garden 3 (test report), Bosch Smart grow 3 (test report), or Prêt à Pousser Lilo (test report), the Harvest lacks a height sensor. This usually warns when the plants come too close to the LEDs. So far, only the Bosch Smart grow 6, which costs 300 euros, offers such a sensor. If you want to prevent the upper leaves of your plants from burning, you have to look at the pot every day. We recommend this as soon as the plants are around five centimeters tall. Then it’s only about three centimeters to the LED.
If you can live with it, you can get a good indoor garden for around 100 euros that is easy to use and offers an option for growing your plants.