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Most people who are into aerogardening assume that the process can be very messy in the beginning, but as time goes by, they come to know how the cleaning is done to keep it far from being messy. The benefits of regular and proper cleaning of your aerogarden cannot be over-emphasized since this keeps the surrounding clean as well as improves the growth and yield of the plants.
The cleaning of aerogardens should be done before and after planting and also before and after every last harvest when you might have decided to throw out the pods. If you are not sure how to go about the whole cleaning process or your aerogarden device and the plants, no worries. In this post, I’ll be walking you through the nitty-gritty of all you should know about cleaning and maintaining your aerogarden unit; trimming and keeping the plants clean always without any stress.
Why do aerogardens/plants need cleaning, trimming, and maintenance?
There are many reasons why your aerogardens/plants need cleaning and maintenance. To start with, the aerogarden plants are known to be kept inside the house or any confinement and for this reason, they must be allowed to have enough air and even sunlight around them. This is the only way you can facilitate their proper growth and overall development. You can ensure this adequate air and light availability only through regular and proper trimming, cleaning, and maintenance.
Also, the trimming and cleaning of aerogarden plants prevent the growth of bacteria and other pathogens that are indicated in the cause of different plant diseases. You, therefore, should not risk leaving them uncleaned.
As for your aerogarden device, keeping it clean would ensure that your plants grow in a neat environment. Keeping it clean also ensures that the area it is occupying in your home is also kept clean. You do not want to have a corner of your room messy, untidy, and looking rough always.
The advantages/benefits of cleaning/trimming your aerogarden plants:
- By cleaning or trimming your aerogarden or plants regularly, you are not only encouraging them to grow faster but are also able to cut down on the time that will be taken from one harvest to another. In other words, when you clean your aerogarden regularly, you stand the chance of making harvests much earlier than would have been the case otherwise, since they develop much faster this way.
- Regular cleaning is also a means by which you will discourage the growth of microorganisms that can destroy your plants. Hence, you are making it possible to keep planting constantly throughout the year without any loss in the quality and quantity of fresh supplies always.
- Cleaning, trimming, or maintaining a clean plant can guarantee fresh produce all the time. This is sure because your plants are free of any foreign growth on it or even any dirt or grime that may be trying to grow on it.
Should I trim the roots of my aerogarden plants?
Since some plants like tomatoes and some others may grow to such sizes that they are likely to outgrow the containers accommodating them, pruning the roots is usually advised. Also, dead roots, leaves, or other dead parts on the plants can lead to you trimming them.
There is however a risk associated with the trimming especially in cases where the roots of neighbouring plants are entangled or intertwined together. This entanglement poses the risks of ripping out other plants as well which may cause their damage.
Considering the risks associated with the trimming of roots, it is therefore advised to skip the process when the plant roots are tangled. But in situations where the roots are standing separately, feel free to trim with as much care as you can muster.
But this process is not compulsory and so you can go ahead with your plants the way they are without needing to trim anything.
How to trim/prune aerogarden plants in steps
Pruning or trimming your plants simply means cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth. When you finally decide to trim or prune the roots or part of your aerogarden plants, you need to do that with extreme care. To guide you even better, here are 4 simple steps to follow to trim your aerogarden plants:
You need to get all the necessary tools you need to get the trimming done. Tools like a good and sharp set of pruners, gardening scissors, and other things you know would come in handy.
Before you start any trimming, you should first identify dead and dried leaves as well as leaves that have turned yellow which we also call variegated leaves. Start cutting off the dried leaves from the bottom of the plant. Note, however, that you must not prune more than one-third of the total weight of the plant, and be sure to cut off the dead leaves, roots, and other dead parts first.
Next, if the plant is overgrown or you just want to trim it to encourage new growth, go ahead and cut off the dominant buds on select stems. Trim some small branches back by a quarter, others by half, and others all the way back to their base.
Immediately after trimming/pruning, ensure that the plant is supplied with enough water and nutrients to allow it to recuperate well.
Once that is done, allow your plants to grow without any distractions. Don’t forget, skip the trimming, pruning process if the roots or other parts of the plant are entwined with the others. You do not want to affect other plants in the aerogarden while trying to trim one.
How often should I clean my aerogarden?
Generally, it is recommended that aerogardens are cleaned once every week. The top, body, bottom, and surrounding areas can be cleaned to keep the place looking neat always.
For the plant, once a week or biweekly is fair enough. However, you are at liberty to clean the upper part of the aerogarden plant should it become dirty by way of using any soaked or moist tissues to wipe it. Just be sure that care is taken not to damage any plants in the process. Also, the soaked tissue used for this wiping must not have any chemicals on them.
What water types are good for aerogardening?
As a rule, you do not use well water or any softened water in your aerogarden because softened water is known to contain a high amount of sodium which is bad for the plants. Similarly, well water may contain dissolved mineral substances that are likely going to damage your aerogarden pump. For these reasons, you are advised to use ordinary tap water that is supplied in most cities, or you can use filtered or distilled water.
How do I sanitize my aerogarden?
While sanitizing your aerogarden is important, you should never do that when there are seed pods in them. Also, do not sanitize when there are plants in the device, they may be damaged by the chlorine bleach or other chemicals used in the sanitization process.
If you are looking for how to sanitize your aerogarden, there are two methods of sanitizing aerogardens which are through the use of chlorine bleach (I recommend using a mild bleach just like this one from The Laundress for health reasons) or distilled white vinegar. Here’s how you can sanitize using the two methods:
- If you choose to use chlorine bleach, mix one-quarter of a cup of the bleach in an aerogarden bowl containing water that is filled to its brim. After filling the bowl with water and adding the correct amount of bleach, stir well to get a good mixture.
- In the case of distilled vinegar, add five cups of vinegar to a full aerogarden bowl of water and stir to mix well.
- With any of the above mixture on the aerogarden bowl, turn it on for about five minutes. This is enough to get your aerogarden fully sanitized.
- Turn it off after 5 minutes and empty the bowl of the sanitizer before rinsing properly.
- To rinse, pour only water into the bowl and run the aerogarden for another five minutes before you empty the bowl and rinse again for the last time.
- Allow the aerogarden to stay at least two days after sanitizing before using it again so that it can dry properly.
Things needed for cleaning your aerogarden
The things you need for your aerogarden cleaning include tap or distilled water, chlorine bleach, or distilled vinegar, and paper towels.
How to clean your aerogardens in steps
For ease of understanding and correct execution of the cleaning of your aerogarden, we shall discuss the procedure in very simple steps. It is highly advised that you clean your aerogardens after every planting session to avoid the presence of plant pathogens in your bowl which may get to the roots of the plants. Items necessary for aerogarden cleaning are water, chlorine bleach, or distilled vinegar and a paper towel. To clean your aerogarden properly, here are some easy steps to follow to guide you in the process:
Ensure to empty the aerogarden bowl before anything so that it does not have any plant in it or any old seed pods as well as any water remnant.
Depending on whichever you may be using between vinegar and chlorine bleach, mix each with the water in the bowl. For chlorine, use a quarter cup of bleach to a full bowl but for vinegar, use five cups of it to a full bowl of water.
With this solution in the bowl, you can then turn on the machine and allow it to run for at least five minutes. After this, you can then empty the bowl of its contents.
Ensure that the whole solution water is out of the bowl without anything left behind. Proceed to fill the bowl once again, this time around, with only water to ensure the cleaning of any trace of the solution from the bowl.
Just like before, turn on the machine and allow it to run for another five minutes. The clean and clear water used in this step does not only clear any remnant solution from the bowl, but also clean the interior of the aerogarden pump.
Once done, pour out the whole water in the bowl which may still have some traces of solution in it.
Next, depending on the model of your unit, you can go ahead and clean the outer surface of the aerogarden. For this, you can use a toothbrush and a little detergent on it to scrub off any stains that may be on it.
Use the paper towel to dry off any excess water left inside or around the unit.
In this last step, all you have to do is to allow the device to run dry every day for about two days straight. This ensures absolute cleanliness and also gets rid of any leftover smell from the vinegar or bleach.
With these steps properly taken, your aerogarden is surely as clean as it can be and is ready for use once again.
Can I put my aerogarden in a dishwasher?
A lot of people do wonder if the aerogarden device is dishwasher safe. The answer is no, it is not recommended for an aerogarden to be cleaned/washed in a dishwasher. This is because using a dishwasher may damage the aerogarden as some parts may be damaged in the process due to the high temperature of the dishwasher.
Aerogardening is such a simple process of making available those essential plant products that every household requires daily and at prices far below what we would have to spend in buying them from the market. In addition to this, with aerogardening, we are sure of consuming what is hygienically raised that is devoid of any contaminants.
The advantages are so numerous that we cannot afford to miss out on the opportunity, especially because the absence of enough outdoor space is not a barrier. One very appealing aspect is the fact that even when we travel, there are travel modes in some of these aerogardens which will enable them to thrive even in our absence.
Even the fact that you can continue to make harvest after harvest without any seasonal restrictions is another very attractive aspect of the whole adventure. And as long as you take time and care to clean your aerogarden area and plants, you can be sure of very healthy, fresh, and clean plant produce all year long!