What's this? An update?
The tomatoes had a good run, lasting far beyond their supply of nutrient tablets, and even had a bit of a comeback later on, using Miracle-Gro fertilizer. They had gotten a bit thin and scraggly though, so it was probably about time to pull them out. I pulled the tomatoes, cleaned the whole unit out, and set it back up with the webcam to watch a new batch of sprouts. I'm just doing a short-term experiment this time around, getting a little bit of time-lapse footage of some young plants. (Hmmmm....I wonder what they're going to be.....)
I've got the pods spaced a lot closer to each other this time, since I'm just interested in sprouts, not growing them out to full size. The AeroGrow unit's lights turn on and off automatically on a timer, and although my camera has a couple of small lights on it, I still wanted a small "fill light" to provide some extra illumination and even out the "lights on" versus "lights off" levels a bit. The solution came in the form of a partially-failed compact fluorescent lamp I had sitting around. Something went wrong in the manufacturing process, and instead of generating the same amount of light as a 60-Watt standard bulb as it was supposed to, it only puts out about 20 or 30 Watts worth - enough for the camera, but not so much that it lights up the entire room. We'll see how well it works as things progress. (It really doesn't even appear as bight as it seems in the photo; the glare you see is just my camera compensating for the low-light conditions.)