The roots of the plants are suspended in an oxygen-infused nutrition spray, and aeroponics is one of the more popular systems for indoor growing.
The AeroFlo2 Model 60 is said to be an excellent choice for growing small crops such as lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, basil, and other herbs. Varieties of flowers and tomatoes which do not grow taller than three feet will also do well.
The good thing about this type of system is that it’s one of the fastest ways to grow plants and get high yields, plus you avoid soil-related diseases since the growth environment is completely controlled.
As with any system where you control the growing environment you have to be careful with using excessive chemicals or nutrients though because that can easily harm the plants. Another drawback is that you’ll very likely get a difference in taste and appearance of the plants and vegetables that are produced this way when compared to the traditional soil method. Some like it, some don’t.
Now, here’s what’s included with the Aeroflow2 Model 60:
- 40 gallon Panda reservoir
- Six 6 ft. grow chambers
- TNC pump
- Injection manifold
- Support structure
- 3 inch Grow Cups
- CocoTek Liners
- Clay Pebbles
- 3-part Flora Kit
Performance – 8
The Aeroflo2 model 60 is considered among the best performing aeroponic systems. Proof: Now that cannabis is legal in many states (and I’m sure before that) this model is one of the more popular systems used by commercial cannabis growers for indoor operations.
It has room for 60 plants at once, and one can also add the extension system and extend up to 120 plant sites. Configurations are made such that the two chambers are placed side by side or can grow over a large area at one go.
Some main features:
- Assembling support structure – to ensure that the growing chambers are well placed on the support system and proper drain fittings are covered in appropriate placing.
- Growing chamber – the 6’ growing chamber allows space for the seeds to be planted appropriately and enhance their growth. This helps to develop stronger roots of the plants and provide enough nutrients.
- Reservoir – the reservoir (40 gal) ensures sufficient input of water and nutrients which gives a head start to the plant and “super charge” the growth.
- Garden Hose – which is attached for the purpose of smooth draining of the reservoir and water.
A significant weakness of this type of system is that if there’s a prolonged power outage the plants will die relatively quickly because the flow of nutrients is cut off because there’s no long term storage of nutrients in the growing medium as with soil. So if you plan on running a commercial operation with the AeroFlo2 Model 60 make sure your budget allows for a backup generator and fuel.
Construction Quality – 8
The AeroFlo2 model 60 is made from durable plastic that will last you a long time. The plastic is lightweight, easy to clean and thus easy to maintain. Plus due to the quality of the plastic it won’t harm the plants, unlike iron or any other corrosive product that might be used.
Ease of Use – 7
This product is surprisingly easy to use and set up once you get a hang of the basic nutrient requirements of your plants, and the best part is that plants can be grown almost anywhere using an AeroFlo system.
Greenhouses, patios, and even indoors under lights, all make great locations to start your farming program.
An AeroFlo2 can be installed where there is warmth, light and fresh air so remember to choose a clean and level place to set up your system.
The ease of use is relative to other comparable growing systems that I’ve tried, but frankly it’s also easy relative to growing the “normal” way outside in the soil. With indoor grow lights and an aeroponics system you never have to worry about bad or cold weather, so many unpredictable factors are taken out of the growing equation.
Maintenance – 7
Like any other technical “gadget” of this nature it is always advised to give it some caring love every now and then to make sure it lasts. Maintaining the system will ensure that it last for a long time and give the same output as it was when it was new.
Cleaning and keeping check on its technical use is mandatory as it will ensure timely change of any type of technical fixations if required, but good news is that it’s fairly easy to clean and maintain.
The following checks are recommended:
- Keeping the reservoirs clean
- Draining the used water and replacing it with fresh water
- Always use regular hydroponic nutrients as they are easy to manage by the system
- Cleaning the growth chambers regularly before planting new seeds
This will ensure that the system is clean and up and running like always. The cost of keeping the system functional solely depends on the intended use of the grower and on if it’s properly maintained.
Brand Reputation – 8
The AeroFlo2 model 60 is manufactured by General Hydroponics, a leading innovator in the field of hydroponics and aquaponics that is known to provide the best products and tools for hydroponic systems across Europe and North America.
They have been in the business for nearly 35 years since Lawrence Brooke founded the company and they are well known for their hydroponic and aeroponic systems.
The warehouse and production factory at General Hydroponics is 45,000 square feet of state of the art industrial space with a roof top covered in a multi-million dollar solar array. The massive greenhouses are filled with plants for testing systems and nutrients- basil, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, sunflowers and more.
Guarantee – 7
There’s a 1 year guarantee, and they have a customer service available and one can contact them for any kind of queries via the P.O. Box address mentioned on their website, email and also through twitter.
For something in this price range I would have expected a longer guarantee period.
Sustainability – 7
Aeroponics and hydroponics have a lot going for it in terms of growing fresh food in urban areas in a sustainable way.
However, the system is far from perfect and in terms of providing you with calories don’t expect to be able to survive on the stuff you can grow from an AeroFlo2 Model 60.
Choosing between growing in soil and growing in this high tech fashion I’d pick soil though. The living soil has proven itself as a growing medium for millions of years, and I think it will take a little while longer before we humans can come up with something better.
Self-Reliance – 7
With a system like this an amateur can start his or her own outdoor or indoor farming operation once they have read the included user’s guide. It is a proven technology that can do wonders for those who don’t have access to soil to grow in, and one can without any hassle grow their own vegetables and herbs.
This kind of system also adds another dimension to growing plants in the winter when sun light is scarce, because with the addition of grow lights you can grow crops indoors year round.
The growing system is automated so once the plants are put in and everything is set you start the machine and it will automatically do its thing.
As mentioned, don’t expect to survive on the 60 plants you can grow. Rather than focusing on calorie production I’d focus on high value cash crops and this could create a decent income stream if you live in an urban environment where fresh food is expensive.
Value – 7
The Aeroflo2 model 60 has an MSRP upwards of $1,200, but you can get it for cheaper than that. Planet Natural has it on offer for $885 and you can find various sellers on Amazon. Depending on the reviews and its usage and the technology that comes with it the model is moderately priced as it is known to give a better and faster performance compared to aerophonic units. And the product is known for long term use and is durable at the same time.
The value is more or less in the range of $900 to $1050 and is competitively priced as compared to the similar products of different brands.
One thought is that if you just want to grow some fresh herbs indoors for your own consumption then a smaller system is likely more than enough for you. For example the popular AeroGarden range that you can get for around $100-150.
The price is high but the yield is higher. So you will get back what you put into it, plus more.
Excitement – 8
With the emergence of hydroponics, traditional farming seems to be generations behind. The combination of science and nature has helped to produce better yields and more automation.
The AeroFlo2 Model 60 is far from a perfect system, but the future of aeroponics and hydroponics sure is exciting.
Dimensions: 80″ x 72″
Capacity: 60 plant sites (can be extended up to 120)
Manufacturer: General Hydroponics
Manufacturer’s Part Number: 8002
Model Number: 60