Evaluation: AeroGarden’s Bounty Elite makes rising greens and herbs a cinch


The AeroGarden Bounty Elite is an indoor gardening system from Miracle-Gro. I received it as a present for Christmas, so I may continue to grow contemporary greens and herbs year-round after having fun with the yard backyard we began in the course of the pandemic.

At the moment on sale for 320 bucks, the Bounty Elite is a very straightforward solution to develop greens and herbs inside. The value is excessive, even on sale, however in order for you a easy solution to backyard whatever the climate outdoors, that is one value contemplating. 

Like

  • Adjustable mild stand
  • Reminders so as to add water and plant meals
  • Simple for novices

Do not Like

  • It is costly
  • The app did not work

Attending to know AeroGarden

AeroGarden sells quite a lot of kits that embody every part it’s good to develop herbs, greens, flowers and extra. The Bounty Elite has house for 9 crops and the seed kits AeroGarden sells vary from three- to 12-pod kits, relying on the particular system you have got. 

This technique plugs into a typical wall outlet and has a built-in adjustable stand with LED develop lights, a reservoir for including water and plant meals — and a digital show. This mannequin additionally has a associated AeroGarden Wi-Fi app if you wish to verify in on issues out of your telephone in addition to non-obligatory integration with an Alexa-enabled smart speaker or display. (I had points with the app that prevented me from even attempting the Alexa integration; extra on that later.)

We began out by buying a nine-pod lavender seed package and set every part up through the Bounty Elite show. Scroll by way of the choices to pick out the kind of plant you need to develop, put every plant pod into an included plastic rising container and place them in every of the 9 slots. Cowl the highest of the pod with one of many included stickers for simple labeling (this wasn’t crucial in my case, since we had been rising 9 lavender crops, however we did it anyway). Then, cowl every pod with a plastic cap, additionally included, whereas the seeds germinate. 

Lower than per week after establishing the system, little lavender sprouts began appearing. Alongside the best way, the Bounty Elite show tells you when it’s good to add water and plant meals (included with the seed package). Weeks later, we had giant, aromatic lavender crops that smelled superb. To maintain up with their progress, we merely raised the adjustable mild stand. Develop lights are vibrant they usually’re on for a number of hours a day, so put your system someplace out of the best way the place the brilliant purpley mild will not bug you.

Now for the sensible integrations — the AeroGarden Wi-Fi app and the Alexa integration. In principle, these options may add worth to the system, however my iPhone by no means received previous the primary app display screen. On the “Create An Account” display screen it’s a must to enter a code that goes to your electronic mail tackle (see screenshot beneath). With out it, you’ll be able to’t create an account or advance to the subsequent web page. After ready in a single day, checking my telephone for software program updates, checking my spam folder and requesting a code three complete instances, I by no means received an electronic mail. This prevented me from having the ability to take a look at out the Alexa integration in any respect. Womp. 

The app challenge hasn’t diminished my general enjoyment of the system, since I would not have used the app or the Alexa integration anyway. However in case you’re hoping for streamlined smarts in your indoor gardening system, look elsewhere. 

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The app show would not orient in portrait mode; solely panorama. It seems to be prefer it’s designed for iPads.


Screenshots by Megan Wollerton/CNET

Within the weeds

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Eradicating a tomato plant from the AeroGarden system.


Megan Wollerton/CNET

If you wish to go rogue and develop your personal crops, AeroGarden additionally sells “Develop Something” kits. I attempted this after the lavender so I may begin some seeds inside earlier than my space’s last frost date. This labored equally effectively. The Develop Something kits embody every part you want — besides the seeds — and work the identical approach. This time, although, I added my very own heirloom tomato and cherry tomato seeds I saved from final yr’s backyard, in addition to some beet and pink cabbage seeds from seed packs. 

By the point the climate was heat sufficient to plant issues outdoors, I had established saplings I may transplant to our raised beds, getting a jump-start on the rising season. Now now we have 5 tomato crops, tons of beets and a few pink cabbage crops rising outdoors (after per week of hardening them off in containers — learn more). 

Test the frost dates in your space earlier than you do that and do not forget that they’re only a guideline. You’ll have to cowl your crops if the climate unexpectedly dips beneath freezing after you’ve got planted them outdoors.

Now we’re rising an Italian herb package we bought from AeroGarden within the Bounty Elite, a few of which I will transplant to our raised beds and others that can go into containers. The mint, for instance, will simply overtake our raised beds, so we’ll relegate it to a big container separate from the remainder of the greens and herbs.

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A cherry tomato transplant began within the AeroGarden system.


Megan Wollerton/CNET

Gardening made easy

I am pleased with the Bounty Elite, even with the app points I skilled. It is a easy, small-scale solution to experiment with gardening year-round. You may keep on with the particular kits bought by AeroGarden — or you are able to do your personal factor and develop no matter greens and herbs you need from seeds. Consider, although, that sure vining crops like cucumbers and melons will not do effectively in an indoor system like this until you transplant them outdoors shortly, earlier than they begin taking on your entire room. 

That stated, it was a present; I did not must spring for the preliminary value of the system. The excellent news is that this and different AeroGarden methods are repeatedly on sale in case you’re however discover the value off-putting. 

If you wish to be taught extra about indoor gardening, begin with CNET’s checklist of the best indoor gardening systems. The Bounty Elite made the checklist as “a fantastic backyard for herbs and salad greens,” however there are a lot of different glorious choices. And in order for you a backyard field subscription or a seed supply service (sure, these exist) try this list of options.


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