Wednesday, June 27, 2007

NASA Gardening in my Kitchen

I'm all for children getting an appreciation for gardening and nature, but hang this really nature or is it "The Jetson's Gardening Kit". I first saw an ad for the "Aerogarden" on the back of a gardening magazine I picked up at the local grocery store. I wasn't too interested, considering that the entire catalog was irrelevant to northern gardening sensibilities.
Now I see a website ( recommending these $150 US units to teach your child about indoor gardening:

"It is basically a self-contained unit with a computer that is automatic - it lets you know when the plants need water or nutrients - and the plants grow in the water, not dirt. When you lift the flap in the front, the roots are clearly visible. Plus there are no bugs! That’s the part I like. And of course, no dirt (that was worth mentioning twice). There’s even an automatic light so you never have to worry if the plants are getting enough sunlight. You really just have to stay on top of when the water level gets low (ours gets pretty thirsty), but there’s a red light that comes on to notify you. No more finger in the ol’ pot trick.

The system has an area on top that allows you to put seed pods in. The seed kits are sold separately and they run about 20 dollars a pop. Each seed kit contains 7 pods and they are sold in different categories or bundles such as italian herbs, petunias, strawberries, etc... "

I suppose this would be good if you were well-off and had to live in an urban apartment with no patio and strict rules banning dirt...or in a SPACESHUTTLE (as advertised on the Aerogarden website) but otherwise:

(1) Recent medical research finds that kids have TOO LITTLE dirt in their lives, leading to things like asthma and allergies.
(2) Why go outside when you can play videogames and work your indoor patch of earth? Oops, I mean, your "artificially regulated pool of nutrients."
(3) Introduce your child to the people with the "giant aerogarden", otherwise known as the neighbourhood marijuana farm. I'm sure they have lots to share about "high yield growing methods".
(4) While I do have grow-lights in my own basement, I wonder about the "green sense" in using electricity to turn on a red warning light telling to water your plants. I see they're expanding into Aerogarden "wall gardens" too. Wow, more eco-friendliness. No, there is no mention of being "carbon-neutral" on their site.
(5) Pushing buttons on your aerogarden and prevention of childhood, no relationship here.
I especially like this quote from the website:

"Tested by NASA for growing high-yield,
pesticide-free crops for space travel."

Have we not all heard about the scourge of space aphids? Shuttle slugs? Astro-beetles? Fear not, the website explains why they need to avoid pesticides:

"Pesticides and other chemicals are considered too toxic
to introduce into the confined
environments of space living."

Wow, so the astronauts just have to suck it up and cohabit with the weightless tomato horn worms! Somebody really thought this one through.


Owin & Irena said...

very funny posting. I think i'll pass on the aerogarden. My four-year-old would miss the mud pies.

Gardenista said...

I know. I may be a stick in the mud (no pun intended), but what's wrong with old seeds and dirt in a pot!

Kandace Groenewegen said...

There is a reason we are friends. Haa!