AeroGarden Bounty Review
The indoor AeroGarden has been a game changer for people with busy schedules but would still love to grow their own herbs, vegetables, fruits, and flowers. The AeroGarden uses hydroponics and LED lamps to allow hassle-free, year-round gardening in the comfort of your home. In addition, this indoor garden saves time and effort to grow healthy food at home – no more extensive trips to the grocers for that missing herb in your recipe!
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The AeroGarden Family types
To cater to the many types of gardeners out there, the AeroGarden comes in four “families,” including Sprout, Harvest, Bounty, and Farm. The AeroGarden Bounty family is on the larger side and can be an excellent addition to the home of a family of four that wishes to grow its own food (and flowers).
In this review, I will focus on the AeroGarden Bounty family, discussing everything you need to know, including its different offerings like the AeroGarden Bounty Basic and the more advanced AeroGarden Bounty Elite.
So, let’s get to it!
AeroGarden Bounty Overview
The AeroGarden Bounty is the largest countertop indoor garden family the company offers. With 9 pods, the Bounty Basic, Bounty, Bounty Elite, and Bounty Elite Artisan models are all excellent choices for a family of 4. In addition, AeroGarden Bounty has a maximum light hood height of 24 inches, making it much more versatile than smaller models from the company. Apart from growing fresh herbs, you can also grow taller plants like various kinds of lettuce and tomatoes.
Moreover, except for the Bounty Basic, all Bounty models have a touchscreen control panel and Wi-Fi. They are also Alexa Device compatible. However, many users have faced connectivity issues, often receiving an error notification when connecting the unit with Alexa.
The setup for the Bounty smart garden is effortless, and I managed to do it in minimal time without the need for extensive instructions. The first significant upgrade in the AeroGarden Bounty is the large bowl (the largest of the countertop indoor garden variety) and grow deck. I love that this model enables a trellis attachment to support vertical plant growth.
Apart from the fact that the seed pod kits from AeroGarden come with a germination guarantee, the plants also grow much faster than in a traditional garden (AeroGarden claims a 5x increase in plant growth). While I cannot precisely compare growth time with an outdoor garden to be 5x, it definitely makes them grow at least twice as fast. As a testament to the system’s efficiency, from the gourmet kit the Thai basil and dill needed regular pruning. Some gourmet herbs were not as successful as their counterparts (looking at you, chives!), but they all sprouted in the promised time window of 6 to 21 days.
AeroGarden Bounty Basic
Marketed as the entry point to the AeroGarden Bounty family, the Basic model is excellent for countertop indoor gardening, with the ability to grow 9 plants at once. Many gourmet herbs, like the Genovese basil, grow pretty tall and the 24-inch LED grow light stand height allows them to harvest to their full potential.
The 24-inch max plant growth height also allows you to grow more than just herbs from your countertop; from salad greens to fruits to flowers, there isn’t much you cannot grow in the Bounty Basic.
The Basic model has a matte finish with a high-res black and white LED display. The control panel allows you to set up a new garden with the “Quick Plant” directions and alerts you when you need to refill the water bowl or add plant food. You can also choose Vacation Mode from the display, which shifts the system to using less water, so you can be worry-free when away from home.
This unit comes with a 30-watt grow light, with an adjustable arm that allows you to set the light arm length based on the seed kit. However, like the more advanced models, you cannot dim the lights and are only given the option to turn them on or off. Keep in mind that the LED lights can be pretty bright for many users, despite giving off a natural hue.
Another downside of this particular Bounty model is that there is no Wi-Fi or Alexa compatibility. Thus, you cannot connect it to the AeroGarden app. However, all the prompts to add liquid plant food and refill water are shown on the unit display.
Apart from the grow deck, water bowl, a power adapter, and 30W LED grow lights, you also get a 6-inch high trellis system. You also get a 9-pod seed kit (with the choice to select between gourmet herbs, salad greens, cherry tomatoes, and cascading petunias) and liquid plant food nutrients.
However, an excellent choice for a countertop garden that allows growing vegetables and herbs to their full potential, the Bounty Basic model is only for those who do not mind the absence of Wi-Fi. I think it is worth saving $100 or more that you will pay for the Bounty Elite if you want to spend less and grow a handful of vegetables doing indoor gardening.
AeroGarden Bounty Elite
The AeroGarden Bounty Elite is one of the more advanced Bounty family models, with Wi-fi-enablement and Alexa compatibility. You can keep a check on your growing vegetables from your phone through the AeroGarden app or use Alexa for voice commands. That said, the Alexa compatibility is not great.
The Bounty Elite is similar to the basic model in various ways. For example, they occupy the same space and have Vacation mode and Quick Plant options. In addition, both units alert when to add nutrients or water to keep the plants alive, provide instructions on inserting seed pods, and both come with a trellis attachment for taller plants.
There are also a few new features, but whether or not they justify the over $100 price hike from the Basic model depends on your individual needs. If you plan on leaving your plants unattended for multiple weeks out of the year then it would be worthwhile getting the bounty Elite for the upgraded vacation mode . The AeroGarden Bounty Elite is made of stainless steel with a full-color touchscreen. You can also keep track of your plants through the AeroGarden app by enabling Wi-Fi.
Moreover, one of the most significant updates is the 50W grow lights with the option to dim them. This works well for people who find the non-dimmable lights on the basic model too harsh. Another bonus is the Sunrise/ Sunset feature which mimics the outdoor light hours for a better harvest and overall ambiance in your room.
Other than that, the AeroGarden Bounty Elite comes with the same power adapter, trellis attachment, and 9-seed pods of your choice.
You can select from various seed pod kits depending on whether you want to grow herbs, vegetables, or flowers. And, just like the basic model, you also get plant food with the Bounty Elite.
If smart indoor gardening and more control over your grow lights are what you are looking for, then the AeroGarden Bounty Elite is the best unit for the job from the Bounty family.
Here’s What’s Included in your AeroGarden Bounty
When buying the AeroGarden Bounty, you do not just get the unit but everything you need to start your indoor garden. Moreover, you also get instructions on how to keep the plants thriving for a bountiful harvest every time.
Here’s everything you get with the AeroGarden Bounty and how to use it.
Seed Pods With Growing Medium
With an AeroGarden Bounty, you can select between four 9-pod seed kits. You can pick one of the following seed pods:
- Gourmet Herbs
- Red Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes
- Heirloom Salad
- Cascading Petunias
These pre-seeded grow sponges are made of pure Canadian Sphagnum Peat and have a 100% germination guarantee. If the seed does not germinate in 21 days, AeroGarden promises replacement. All you need to do is place the sponges in plastic holders, which then have to be inserted in the slots for the seed pods.
Suppose you need to grow some other vegetables, fruits, herbs, or flowers than the options given here. In that case, you can separately buy from other pre-seeded seed pods from AeroGarden or invest in their Grow Anything Seed Pot Kit, which allows you to grow any plant by inserting the seed of your choice. However, when doing so, keep in mind the height of the plant. Another great alternative for the DIY gardener is to make your own seed pods, this will save you money over time since the AeroGarden seed pods are not re-usable.
Grow Domes For Seedling
The seed pot kit also includes grow domes, which are plastic caps placed on top of the seed pods after they are inserted in the slots on the grow deck. Their job is to maintain humidity and moisture for optimal seedling growth. Apart from containing moisture, they also prevent temperature fluctuations that can hinder germination.
Once the seedlings reach the grow dome height, you can pop them off to allow the plant to grow to their maximum size.
Lights and Light Stand
You also get an LED grow light system, which comprises 30W, 40W, or 50W grow lights (depending on your Bounty model), and a stand with an adjustable arm. After fixing the light stand to the indoor garden, you can keep on raising the height of the hood as your plants begin to grow. Adjusting the light arm can be done with just a push of the lever on the arm.
The red, white, and blue LED lights provide a full spectrum for the plants to thrive inside your home. While the basic model only allows you to switch the lights on and off, the advanced models from the family also allow dimming the lights. They also come with a Sunrise/Sunset setting to turn the lights on and off gradually.
The system tells you how long to keep the lights on for optimal growth, and you can manually select and schedule what times the lights will remain on during the day.
Water Basin and Water Pump
The AeroGarden Bounty has the biggest water basin of all countertop indoor garden varieties. The basin has a pump fitted inside, whose job is to circulate the nutrients and water through the plant root system. The pump timer periodically ensures optimal nutrient distribution to all the plants.
Moreover, there are constant reminders for water levels and plant food additions. This almost makes the AeroGarden Bounty maintenance proof – almost! However, while you get reminders to add water, the system does not alert you when to clean your water pump which is susceptible to mineral build-up from the plant food and roots getting stuck in the machine. The manual says to clean the pump between growing cycles but does not go in-depth into the actual process of cleaning since the AeroGarden is geared towards beginner gardeners not familiar with hydroponics I thought this was a miss on their part. To help you go through a full deep clean I recommend you read my How to clear your AeroGarden post for a full tutorial.
In addition, you should ideally change the water in the basin once a month, which can be a hassle with the Bounty models, which are pretty big. AeroGarden does give you an easy way to do so with its Rinse and Refill Siphon, but you have to buy it separately.
The AeroGarden Bounty package also includes liquid plant food that you need to add to the water basin to supply the root system with the required nutrients to grow. The plant food bottle has instructions on how much liquid nutrient to add on the first, second, and subsequent feedings as the plants develop. The system also alerts you when the plant food is due, so you do not need to guess when your indoor garden is low on nutrients.
Starter Seed Pack
If you only want to start the plants in your AeroGarden Bounty, you can buy the seed starting pack, which comes with a reusable seed starting tray, 50 sponges, a nutrient bottle, and instructions on how to start and transplant seeds. However, this seed starter kit is not a part of the original AeroGarden Bounty or AeroGarden Bounty Elite models and must be bought separately.
How Does AeroGarden Work?
AeroGarden uses the soilless way of hydroponics to grow plants. But, technically speaking, AeroGarden is based on aeroponics technology, a subset of hydroponics.
In an AeroGarden, only water (mixed with soluble fertilizer) and LED light grow system is required for the plants to thrive indoors, without the mess of soil.
The AeroGarden has a water pump fitted inside the reservoir, which periodically circulates the nutrient-rich water to plant roots. The LED system suspended over the plants with the help of an adjustable stand mimics sunlight to make up an optimal environment for the seeds to turn into seedlings and, ultimately, thriving plants.
The grow lights system also helps maintain the right temperature for plants to grow. Thus, with no soil used, you can have herbs, vegetables, fruits, and flowers growing inside your house all year long.
Once the grow deck is inserted with the seed pods, the system takes care of the nutrient regulation and water levels. The water filling level is marked, and the plant food bottle contains clear instructions on how much must be added to the water sink with periodic alerts for a refill. So, all you really need to do is plug in an AeroGarden and follow the alert instructions.
How To Set Up Your AeroGarden Bounty?
Setting up an AeroGarden is pretty simple. The unit has an instruction manual that teaches you how to connect the three main parts: the garden base, the grow light, and the power adapter. The grow deck is already attached to the water base, making it even easier to click-in to place.
To set up the AeroGarden Bounty you need to:
- Connect the base to the water base and grow light.
- Fill the water reservoir till the suggested 1 gallon mark with distilled water.
- Add plant nutrients to the water, following the directions on the bottle.
- Place the seed pods in the slots on the grow deck and put on the grow domes for germination.
- Connect the power cord to the grow light system and plug into an outlet, turn on the power.
- Start the Quick Plant sequence, which walks you through the remaining steps of setting up your garden based on your growing type.
- Set up your automated light schedule
Now, you are ready to enjoy your very own harvest in just a few weeks. Later, you can attach the trellis system once plants start growing taller to give them additional support to grow vertically.
What Can You Grow In Your AeroGarden Bounty?
You can also get a jump on the growing season by starting seeds in the AeroGarden Bounty and transplanting them in pots around the house or outdoors when the weather is suitable. You can use a seed starting kit or the pre-seeded variety.
Wait a couple of weeks after sowing your seeds to transplant them outside to allow them to grow a mature enough root system. When transplanting the seedlings, harden them for a week by gradually bringing them outside and then back in for a few days while they stabilize to the new temperature and direct sun. The seedlings have a better chance of survival after transplantation if they have been slowly conditioned to the outdoors rather than a sudden shock. A few hours or so in the sun over the course of 2 days should be more than enough to do the trick.
If you are using the seed starting kit, planting the seedlings outside is just as easy as popping them out of the starter tray. However, if you have a grow basket attached, gently wiggle the sponge out of the basket and place them in the pot or garden outside, making sure not to damage the root system.
Allow the roots ample space for organic growth in the soil outside once they have hardened.
Where to Buy AeroGarden Bounty?
You can buy AeroGarden Bounty from the AeroGarden website or through Amazon.
Other AeroGarden Models
AeroGarden comes in many different models, each with a cap on the maximum number of seed pods you can insert. Apart from the 9-seed pod Bounty family, the other models vary essentially based on size. Take a look at which one I think is the best AeroGarden here.
The AeroGarden Farm is the most extensive indoor garden system from AeroGarden, with options to grow 24 different plants simultaneously. With Farm models (that come in 12 and 24 seed pods), the best placement option is the floor, where you genuinely allow the larger plants to flourish. The possibilities are endless with the Farm 24XL grow height cap at a whopping 36-inches and 60W grow light. This is the perfect model to allow for the side-by-side growth of smaller herbs and taller veggies, all in one go.
AeroGarden Harvest Elite
The Harvest Elite is a 6-pod option that also comes in a 360 model (round in shape) that takes up less space on the counter. With a 20W grow light and 12-inch max height, the Harvest is an excellent countertop garden to grow herbs and salad greens all year.
The Sprout is the smallest garden family from AeroGarden that only allows 3 seed pods to be planted at once. AeroGarden Sprout has a 10W grow light with a grow light of 10-inches. If you do not have a family to cook for, this can be a good option for homegrown herbs and vegetables.
AeroGarden Bounty Vs. Gardyn
Gardyn works quite similarly to an AeroGarden Bounty, but you can grow 30 plants at once in it. However, it requires 2 ft. of space, whereas the AeroGarden Bounty can easily fit on a countertop, albeit planting less than one-third of what Gardyn can do.
That said, Gardyn is (rightfully) expensive in comparison. The system has a 6-gallon water tub at the bottom and has a smart assistant Kelby that alerts the user with water and nutrient reminders. If you have the budget and the space, then Gardyn allows you to grow many more plants at once than the AeroGarden Bounty. However, when you get Gardyn refills cubes, you have to sprout them outside before popping them in place, which is an extra step not required in Bounty.
AeroGarden Bounty Vs. iHarvest
The iHarvest allows you to grow 30 plants at once compared to the 9-seed pod capacity of AeroGarden. It is a sleek model but requires fitting several parts together for the working frame to take shape. Moreover, the iHarvest is pretty expensive, often comparable with the AeroGarden Farm model rather than the Bounty.
The iHarvest also requires you to manually check your Water pH and nutrients level until they are stable and then weekly, make the changes as necessary. In the Bounty, you get clear instructions and automated alerts on when to do the same. Unfortunately, there’s also no app with the iHarvest making it not as beginner-friendly.
AeroGarden Bounty Vs. Tower Garden
Compared to AeroGarden Bounty, Tower Garden allows you to grow up to 20 plants at once, and you can purchase models without the LED light kit if you wish to place the garden outside in the sun. The unit comes with wheels, so moving it is also not difficult. However, unlike the AeroGarden Bounty, it requires much more manual labor, like setting timers for the light and pump, checking water pH using various solutions, and sprouting seeds outside before clicking them in place in the garden.
AeroGarden Bounty Vs. Click & Grow
The 9-pod Click & Grow alternative has much lesser control options even with the app than the AeroGarden Bounty. That said, it is user-friendly, with no need to add nutrients and only to refill the tank once a month. While it does have as many planting options as the Bounty, it is still a good choice if you do not intend to have a full accent garden and are happy with herbs to snip on your countertop.
My Final Thoughts
The AeroGarden Bounty is a versatile countertop garden compared to other AeroGarden offerings. Its 24-inch grow height allows herbs, vegetables, fruits, and flowers to thrive inside the comfort of your home. Apart from the basic model, all other bounty offerings are Wi-Fi enabled and can be controlled from your phone.
Overall it’s an excellent addition to any household for a regular supply of fresh produce at an affordable cost.