I’m a big fan of growing food in an AeroGarden. But I’m not a big fan of AeroGarden prices. I feel that the actual AeroGarden gardens are worth the price, because they have better features, and overall work better than the off brands.
One big way that I’m able to save money when it comes to growing food in an AeroGarden is to find alternatives for things such as the growing medium. In this article, I’ll give you three AeroGarden grow sponge alternatives that I personally recommend.
AeroGarden Grow Sponge Alternatives
This article includes affiliate links.
Pro Tip: Since availability of any of the AeroGarden sponge alternatives listed below may or may not be available at the time you need them, here are all of the AeroGarden compatible sponges available on Amazon.
Without further ado, here are the three AeroGarden grow sponge alternatives that I personally recommend.
Bio Sponges from Park Seed company are the first AeroGarden sponge alternative that I tried.
Bio sponges were not created to work with an AeroGarden. They are sponges that are made to work with the Bio Dome Seed Starter Kit. If you’re interested in starting seeds indoors, the Bio Dome Seed Starter Kit comes in handy.
However, in my case, the thing I’m interested in using the Bio Dome sponges in my AeroGarden.
I’m mentioning this because since the Bio Dome sponges are made for a different purpose, they come in multiple sizes. So, if buying the Bio Dome sponges to use in an AeroGarden, be sure to buy the 60 cell size.
The 60-cell size bio dome sponges are a perfect fit for using in an AeroGarden, and have worked well for me. In fact, they’ve worked a bit better for me than the authentic AeroGarden sponges.
The only thing I didn’t like when I received them was that some of them were cut a bit crooked. This impacted just a few of them, and the imperfections weren’t enough to impact the usage of them. So, despite this little quirk, I still recommend them as a viable AeroGarden grow sponge alternative.
Note: Park Seed Bio Dome Sponges are manufactured in England.
The next AeroGarden compatible sponge alternative I recommend is this one, from Urban Leaf (Amazon).
There are a couple of reasons why I recommend these sponges, as an alternative to AeroGarden sponges.
The first reason is that they’re less expensive than the genuine AeroGarden sponges.
The second reason is that they are made from organic coco coir, rather than from peat moss. The fact that they’re made from organic coco coir instead of peat moss means that they’re much more environmentally friendly than most of the other AeroGarden sponge options.
Note: The AeroGarden compatible sponges from Urban Leaf (available on Amazon) are made in the USA. In my book this is a great reason to purchase these sponges instead of some of the other alternatives.
The Growth Sponge from Vic VSEE are the ultimate when it comes to AeroGarden knock off sponges. I say “ultimate” not because they are necessarily the best, but because from what I can see, they don’t even have a real name.
I first heard about these sponges from the YouTube channel, AeroGarden experiments. In the comments, someone stated that he had tried these sponges multiple times, and while seeds germinated, the roots weren’t able to grow through the sponges.
By the time I saw these comments, I had already purchased a pack of 100 of these sponges. My heart kind of sank, but since I had already purchased them, I decided to give them a try.
I share all about my experiment of using this particular AeroGarden grow sponge alternative in this article: Do AeroGarden Knock Off Sponges Work? So, if you want an in-depth view of my experience with these sponges, be sure to check out that article.
But the short version is that they worked fine for me. I soaked the sponges for a full five minutes before using them, which may have helped.
Note: Growth Sponge from Vic VSEE are made in China. I didn’t realize this until after I purchased them. I personally try to avoid buying products made in China, so don’t plan to buy these again. But if you don’t have a problem with that, then these AeroGarden alternative sponges may be a good option for you.
How to Make Your Own AeroGarden Pods
I personally haven’t made my own AeroGarden pods, and prefer to simply save money on buying them. But if you want to do AeroGarden cheap, then deciding to make your own AeroGarden pods may be a good way to go.
To make your own AeroGarden pods, cut foam or sponges to fit the grow basket. You’ll then need to drill a hole into the middle of the top part of the sponge to place the seed, as well as poke some holes throughout the body of the sponge. The holes that you poke throughout the sponge allow the roots to go through, which is important.
You can also make your own AeroGarden pods using rock wool. Rock wool is made for hydroponics, so it’s a better option for DIY AeroGarden sponges than foam is. However, Rock wool is typically sold in cubes, so you’ll need to do some cutting to make them work on an AeroGarden grow basket. I recommend using two rock wool cubes per grow basket. Cut one of the cubes in half and stuff them into the lower part of the grow basket. Then place the other whole cube on top. You may need to do some trimming to get everything to fit.
Although this article is all about alternative AeroGarden Sponges, there are also good reasons for buying genuine AeroGarden sponges.
The first reason is that they can be better quality than some of the AeroGarden sponge alternatives. In addition to that, AeroGarden sponges are manufactured in the USA. So, if you prefer to support U.S. businesses, then buying genuine AeroGarden sponges is a good way to go.
If you enjoyed this articles, you may also enjoy these other AeroGarden articles.
- Do AeroGarden Knock-Off Sponges Work?
- AeroGarden Microgreens Growing Medium Alternatives
- AeroGarden Vs. Growing Vegetables in Containers
- 5 Easy Ways to Save Money on an AeroGarden
- Using Handy Pantry Microgreens Growing Mats in an AeroGarden
Here are some of my favorite AeroGarden resources
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful as you strive to grow some of your own food in an AeroGarden!
Here are some AeroGarden tools that I use that I’m hoping you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a commission. Please know that these are the tools that I actually use and recommend and believe in 100%!
AeroGardens that I Personally Have (and why I like each type)
The AeroGarden Sprout is the smallest AeroGarden available. As such, it is best for small plants such as most herbs, lettuce, and greens such as baby bok choy. If you’re on a limited budget, or if you just want to give AeroGarden a try, this is a good garden to start with.
The AeroGarden Harvest is the most popular AeroGarden model, for good reason. It’s quite a bit larger than the Sprout, but is still pretty low cost. Especially with proper pruning, you can even grow things such as cherry tomatoes and peppers. If you prefer more bells and whistles, check out the AeroGarden Harvest Elite.
The AeroGarden Harvest XL is a step above the AeroGarden Harvest. I love this because it provides a bit more space in between plants than the Harvest, and also gives you 6 more inches of growing height. This helps a lot with plants that tend to grow tall. If I was going to only purchase one type of AeroGarden, it would be either the Harvest or Harvest XL.
The AeroGarden Bounty is ideal if you want to grow larger plants such as ground cherries. It’s also great for many other plants that may grow larger such as peppers and tomatoes. If you prefer an option with more bells and whistles, then the AeroGarden Bounty Elite is the way to go.
Here are the AeroGarden accessories that I personally use and enjoy.
AeroGarden nutrients are the best food for AeroGardens. You can save money if you buy the 1 liter size. I recommend saving the smaller AeroGarden nutrient bottles and refilling them from the larger bottle of nutrients.
MaxiGro and MaxiBloom are good AeroGarden nutrient alternatives. They aren’t as convenient as the AeroGarden nutrients, but if you’re on a budget, these are the nutrients I recommend. Use MaxiGro for greens and MaxiBloom for fruiting plants such as tomatoes and peppers.
AeroGarden Sponges are a more cost-effective option than the pre-seeded AeroGarden pods.
AeroGarden compatible sponges from Urban Leaf are a great option if you prefer growing medium made from coco coir instead of peat moss.