Welcome to The Esquire Endorsement. Heavily researched. Thoroughly vetted. These picks are the best way to spend your hard-earned cash.
I brought life into the world this month. Six sprouts of it. One is a leafy basil shoot, the big kid in the class, the early bloomer. The late bloomer, a few tendrils of parsley, is tiny in comparison. I won’t harvest him soon. But I’m eyeing that basil for this weekend, googling recipes for walnut pesto while I do it. I am a plant mother now, not of stubby succulents or hard-to-kill ZZs, but of plants that feed people. I will be annoyingly arrogant about this.
I will also, it should be noted, continue to be ridiculously proud of myself for being the reason these six plants exist. It’s ridiculous, because I did next to nothing to make it happen. I set up a machine (it took about two minutes), poured in some plant food (only four capfuls over the last two and a half weeks), and watched. Anyone could do it. You could do it.
It sets up like a charm.
I’ll take a second from patting myself on the back to talk about the machine, an AeroGarden Harvest 360. AeroGarden makes an entire line of indoor gardens, but this model happens to land on the smaller end, which makes it ideal for my cramped apartment kitchen counters; it takes up about as much space as a full-size blender. It also comes with a starter pack of six herb pods. To set the machine up, you fill the well with water, pop the six seed pods into the six different holes, and add a bit of plant food (that comes with the seed pods). That’s all there is to do. I almost felt cheated that I didn’t get some soil under my fingernails, a sunburn across my nose, and a lower back ache from crouching to the ground, but then I remembered that I have exactly zero patience and also, no outdoor garden, and found contentment.
So far, so good on the seedling front.
AeroGarden employs a hydroponic system, which basically means it’s a glorified garden sprinkler. The seed pods have soil that reaches down into the water well, and periodically, on a timer that you do not have to set, the Harvest 360 runs a trickle of water across the base of the plants, pulled from that well. And every day for 15 hours, the bright LED grow lights shine down on the seeds, urging them to sprout upwards. That light is on a timer, too. And, I’ll admit, when I first plugged it in, I thought, Oh wow, I have invited the sun into my kitchen. Now, I hate when the LEDs are in the off cycle of their timer, making my kitchen feel dim. Perhaps the AeroGarden is urging me to grow into a taller, greener person. Something to investigate. Anyway, my seeds took about a week to get acclimated, but then they started to sprout, one by one. Now, I can track their growth daily. They’re gorgeous. I want to eat them.
You’ll feel like a gardener and chef at once.
I have quickly learned that keeping a garden is a lifestyle, even if keeping an indoor hydroponic garden on an automatic timer is as mindless as brushing your teeth. I’m planning ahead to the dishes I’ll enhance with literally-harvested-one-second-ago dill, basil, and thyme. I have a set of six tomato pods to put into the AeroGarden next, so that I can eat tomatoes all winter long (and not pay an arm and a leg for the out-of-season variety at the grocery store). World-class chefs tap local hydroponic gardens to source their freshest herbs and most vibrant vegetables. What is happening in my kitchen is basically the same thing, I like to think. Though succulents never really did it for me and ZZ plants don’t have a special place in my heart, I’ve still managed to take part in the gardening renaissance. And to feed myself.
Photography and prop styling by Allie Holloway
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io