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Aerogarden plants are those vegetables raised in the home. This simply implies that the plants in the aerogarden are spared from excessive dirt and dust as may be prevalent in similar gardens that are outside. But even at that, the aerogarden can be clogged with dirt over time and this necessitates cleaning the unit often. The important question here is how often should you clean the aerogarden?
First, whenever you are planting a new circle of seedlings, the aerogarden must be thoroughly cleaned before doing so. The same goes after you harvested the plants in the garden, too. Another strategy is to regularly and routinely wipe down the outside surface of the aerogarden even before harvesting. You can also be like the few indoor gardeners who rinse and refill their units during the planting season.
In this post, I will be providing detailed answers to how often the aerogarden should be washed, advantages, how to clean it and even what happens if you neglect cleaning.
When should you clean the aerogarden?
Ideally, since you want the plants to grow and also to thrive under very conducive and clean conditions that will guarantee fast and healthy growth of the plants, then, you should clean the aerogarden following this guide:
- Every time you want to plant new seeds, just before you toss in the seeds, do a thorough cleaning of the garden equipment.
- You are equally expected to thoroughly clean the indoor garden equipment immediately after every harvest so that it will be ready and clean to accommodate any new supplies as well.
- It is expected that once in a while you should wipe down the outside or external surface of the aerogarden with a damp and well-wrung piece of clean cloth or towel, but make sure that you do not leave any water in the cloth that will find its way into the electric components of the unit which houses the motor for obvious reasons.
- During a planting circle, remove the tray of plants and do a small cleaning of the insides with water and vinegar (1:3 ratio), before adding clean water and placing the tray back. You can do this every week or once in two weeks, depending on the fragility of the plants you are growing.
- Once in a while, pluck off blighted and variegated leaves from the plants so that new ones can sprout in their place for the neatness of the plant.
What happens if you don’t clean your aerogarden?b
If you fail to clean your aerogarden, several things are liable to happen and it includes:
- During a planting circle, the plants will eventually get choked up with a lot of dead leaves and dust. From this, they can catch a disease and their growth can be stunted with a resultant poor harvest.
- An unclean aerogarden will most likely lead to infection and infestation of the plants by microorganisms or worms that affect plants. This infection may start with only one of the plants in the unit, but eventually, other neighbouring plants may be affected as well.
- Long usage of the aerogarden without cleaning the insides can cause it to get slimy and breed certain bacteria that grow in unclean water. From there, your plants get contaminated.
- Keeping an aerogarden without washing it after a harvest will cause the unit to start rusting or even start breeding bacteria that would leave infections that would affect the plants when you pick it up for planting again.
- Using an aerogarden without cleaning it first can contaminate your new seedlings or cause them to have impaired growth as you do not know what must have lived in the unit while it was not in use.
Advantages of cleaning aerogarden often
There are a lot of advantages to cleaning your aerogarden often as against failing to do so. Here are obvious advantages why cleaning your aerogarden regularly is important:
- Your plants enjoy safe, clean and healthy growth, free from any form of contamination.
- There is no room for bacteria, diseases or infection to come in and take over your plants.
- You will spend less time dealing with plants growing abnormally as a result of one infestation or another.
- You are guaranteed a clean harvest every single time.
The different ways to clean an aerogarden
Speaking generally, there are two ways to clean and sanitize the aerogarden unit. First, you can clean its dishwasher-safe parts such as the grow deck and others, in the dishwasher and then use a soft sponge to wipe the other areas. Alternatively, you can clean it manually using warm clean water, vinegar, chlorine bleach, washing soda, or any mild recommended dish soap.
Click this link for full details on how to clean the aerogarden using a dishwasher. Check the following steps to learn how to clean the unit manually using bleach. This method is best if you just want to give the unit a thorough cleaning after a harvest or just before a new planting season:
- Fill the bowl of the unit with water and about half a cup of safe chlorine bleach. I will recommend that you use this Ultra Clorox Germicidal Bleach as it is great for plant bacteria, fungus, grime, mildew, etc
- Allow the water pump or the aerator to circulate the bleach solution in the unit for about 5 minutes or more, depending on the size of the aerogarden and if you feel it is not enough.
- Empty the bleach solution and rinse the equipment very well by filling it with clean water devoid of any bleach and letting the pump run for a few minutes. You can repeat the rinsing process until you are satisfied that there is no more bleach left in the unit.
- Allow the bowl to air dry while you soak the other parts of the aerogarden in a bowl of clean water mixed with half a cup of bleach for 7-10 minutes. Make sure you do not soak the part with electrical wirings like the plug or screen area, light panel, etc.
- Get the parts out and rinse thoroughly in clean water.
- You can use a clean towel to wipe the parts dry or let them air dry.
This is another method to do the cleaning using dish soap and other cleaning agents. This method is best if you want to give it a very thorough cleaning and store it for a while without using it:
- This method would involve dismounting every part that can be detached and giving every single part a thorough cleaning.
- Squirt a little quantity of dish soap into the bowl and add enough water to fill it up. I will recommend this Biokleen clear and unscented dish soap as it is non-toxic, plant-based and would leave no fragrance.
- Run the pump for a few minutes before disconnecting and using a soft sponge to scrub the insides of the bowl thoroughly.
- Remove the pump filter and carefully scrub it using a brush and soapy water to remove any particles in it. Give it a good rinse and place it back in its house.
- Empty the bowl and pour clean water before running the pump again to rinse it. Do this two or more times or till you are satisfied with what you have.
- Soak the other parts in soapy water for 10 minutes, excluding the electrical parts.
- Remove them from the solution and rinse them under running water till it stops feeling soapy. Be careful to not throw away tiny parts in the process.
- Get everything to an airy place ad allow them air dry before reassembling.
Here is a more natural method to sanitize your aerogarden using vinegar and water. This method is best if you just want to give it a quick rinse during a planting circle:
- Pour water and vinegar into the aerogarden bowl using a 1:3 ratio respectively. I recommend this distilled vinegar from Heinz as it is milder but still effective in doing the job. Measure this according to the quantity of liquid your unit can hold in the bowl. For instance, farm models can hold about 30-40 cups of liquid, so you are expected to use 10 cups of water and 30 cups of vinegar. You can do the maths for other models by measuring with only water to see what it can hold.
- Connect the pump and let it run for 5-10 minutes after which you empty the contents and refill with clean water (no vinegar this time) and run for 5 minutes. You can repeat this process one or two more times to get all the vinegar out.
- Once done, disconnect and empty the bowl before allowing it to air dry.
- After removing all electrical parts, submerge all the other parts in clean water mixed with a small quantity of vinegar. Ensure that all parts are well submerged.
- Use a lightly damp towel to wipe the other parts of the unit that can’t be placed in water. Doing this will remove dust and any bacteria hiding there.
- On the other hand, if you have plants in your aerogarden, you can simply use a damp towel to clean the other parts outside the bowl and electrical parts. Be sure to carefully set aside the tray containing the plants before starting the cleaning.
- Allow everything to air dry for some time before reassembling the parts or simply go ahead to reassemble everything if you are currently having plants.
- With this, your aerogarden is properly sanitized for use.
It is necessary to wash the aerogarden every so often, at least after harvesting the last crops, before planting new ones and in between planting. Cleaning the unit whenever you are advised is of immense benefits and the experience you stand to reap is an easy one. Make sure to wash the machine properly each time you do to prevent bacteria from breeding fast and freely. manually. Luckily, you can do this in easy steps using a few things as mentioned in this post.