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Archive for August, 2008

Aerogarden.org.uk – Hard tap water problems

August 19th, 2008

The water used in aeroponic gardening needs to fall within a certain range of pH and dissolved-mineral content. Most tap water supplies are treated so that they fall within this range and work well with the AeroGarden.

However, most spring, softened or very “hard” waters have high dissolved-mineral contents that can cause problems when used in an AeroGarden. High dissolved mineral content or strong pH can interfere with the proper uptake of the AeroGarden nutrient/pH-buffer tablets by the plants, which can prevent or delay germination of seeds, severely stunt growth, and cause “chlorosis”, or yellowing of the leaves.  This will be a problem for aerogardeners using tap water from a “hard” tap water area. You can find a map giving a rough guide to locations of hard tap water areas in the UK here… http://www.dwi.gov.uk/pubs/hardness/index.htm#4

So-called “hard” water has a high dissolved calcium and magnesium content, and is the tap water that we get here in London.The high mineral content of the water can cause an excess build up of mineral deposits or limescale that could damage your pump, as well as the other problems listed above. 
Most home water filters, do not remove dissolved minerals. They are designed to remove contaminants such as organic solvents and chlorine taste, but dissolved minerals generally occur as tiny ions which are too small to be filtered out.

Distillers remove minerals, by heating, vaporizing and re-condensing water and leaving the mineral deposits behind. Pure distilled water works well in the AeroGarden, provided it is within normal pH range.

The easiest alternative is probably to use inexpensive bottled “drinking”, “bottled” or “distilled” (not “spring” ) water instead, which has a low mineral content is available at most supermarkets. One of our customers, Alex has used Ashbeck Mountain Spring Water, available from Tesco, and reports excellent results with faster growing, healthier plants. Cleaning the aerogarden out between garden plantings can help reduce the build up of mineral deposits and the damage it can cuase – mainly to the aerogarden pump. Click here for instructions on how to do a “rinse and refill”.

Aerogarden Tricks & tips, Aerogarden Troubleshooting , ,

Aerogarden.org.uk – Sweaty nutrient tablets and aerogarden pest control…

August 19th, 2008

I’m sure we’re all enjoying this Great British Summer of rain and cloud, but for your aerogarden nutrients, if not to us, the weather can be hot enough to make them sweat. Don’t be alarmed if your pack of nutrients arrives a bit soggy. The nutrients will not be made any less effective. If the tablets have competely dissolved, the solution in the bag can still be used, mixed in with a little warm water, and added to the aerogarden as usual at a rate of about 1 teaspon = 1 tablet.

(These nutrients from our warehouse show how the tablets can sweat or partially dissolve)

 

We’ve also some interesting emails documenting the exploits of some of your fellow aerogardeners. Nikki Anderson from London, came to us with puzzlement as to who had been nibbling at her parsley, before discovering…

“The parsley thief is definitely a mouse – I found some droppings behind the Aerogarden this morning. He’s been nibbling away at the basil too!!! We’ve had pest control people in the building, they put down traps with poison in the flat but haven’t caught a thing. So now I’m bringing in the big guns – REAL mousetraps laid with a dollop of peanut butter, not these namby pamby plastic boxes. The fact that the mice have gone for our Aerogarden is a declaration of WAR and they’re going to lose!!! ;-)

So beware of losing out on your harvest to the attack of the mice. And beware to all mice who dare to cross an aerogardener by the looks of Nikki’s email.

Aerogarden Customer Focus, Aerogarden Products, Aerogarden Troubleshooting, Misc. ,