DIY hydroponics herb garden

Contents

Window Farming: A Do-It-Yourself Veggie Venture

Homegrown Harvest: Britta Riley and Rebecca Bray tend to Brooklyn’s first window farm. This form of urban agriculture is catching on in cities around the world, as downtown farmers go online to share techniques for growing greens indoors. Julia Makarova hide caption

toggle caption Julia Makarova

If you have a green thumb, a window and a serious Do-It-Yourself ethic, you too, can be a farmer … even in your downtown apartment building. Spring is here, and for urban dwellers with no access to soil, hydroponic gardening is a way to grow fresh veggies indoors.

“Window farming,” as it is called, is catching on in New York City and beyond. Window farmers use recycled 1.5 liter water bottles, clay pellets, plastic tubing and inexpensive fish tank air pumps to create their indoor gardens. There are now 4,000 registered users at windowfarms.org. Farmers are tending to their greens everywhere from the U.S. to Italy, Israel and Hong Kong.

A simple window farm system is a column of upside down water bottles, with plants growing out of holes cut into the sides. An air pump is used to circulate liquid nutrients. WindowFarms hide caption

toggle caption WindowFarms

A simple window farm system is a column of upside down water bottles, with plants growing out of holes cut into the sides. An air pump is used to circulate liquid nutrients.

WindowFarms

“I grew up on a ranch in Texas,” Riley says. “So we always had to hack together what we needed to fix fences and so forth.”

Riley’s project partner is Maya Nayak, 29, a professional gardener. Nayak has been growing herbs in her own window farm in her ground floor apartment. A sign in her window advertises windowfarms.org — and plenty of people have paused to check it out.

“We had to put up a curtain,” she explains, “because people come up and look. And you’re, like, ‘Wow, this is my living room.'”

The people staring in from the street see a window filled with vertical columns of plants. Vegetables and herbs grow with the help of sunlight and a little electricity — but no soil.

The window farms Web site provides instructions on how to put together a system that grows three plants. The materials will cost about $30 — and not all of them are traditional gardening supplies: water bottles, an aquarium air pump, air valve needles (like the kind you use to pump up a basketball), and a hanging system designed for displaying art.

Riley says that putting recycled consumer goods to use is an important part of the DIY ethic.

“We’re kind of showing that we can actually get really, really far using things that we already have available to us as consumers,” she says.

Watch A Video About Window Farming:

The simplest window farm system is a column of upside-down water bottles connected to one another. Plants grow out of holes cut into the sides. An air pump is used to circulate liquid nutrients that trickle down from the top of the column and make their way to the plant roots.

Window farms have been used to grow strawberries, cherry tomatoes and peppers. Riley’s favorite is bok choi.

Urban farmers use the Internet to exchange ideas for improving the window farms technology. It’s a process Riley calls “R&D-I-Y” or Research and Develop It Yourself. One window farmer figured out a way to silence the gurgling sounds these window farm systems make — and he shared his solution with the rest of the indoor gardening community.

“He just drilled a few holes into a vitamin bottle and stuck it over the end and all of a sudden it completely silenced the system,” Riley explains. “And then he posted that for everybody else and all of a sudden we have a new solution that’s cheap and that other people can replicate somewhere else.”

A salad made from greens grown in a window farm in Riley’s Brooklyn, N.Y., loft. WindowFarms hide caption

toggle caption WindowFarms

A salad made from greens grown in a window farm in Riley’s Brooklyn, N.Y., loft.

WindowFarms

In the coming months, Riley and her colleagues will focus on how much energy it takes to run the air pumps and compact fluorescent light bulbs that are turned on when access to sunlight is a problem. Riley says that in addition to the environmental benefits of growing your own food at home, there are aesthetic wins as well.

“It’s just fun to have food growing in your own apartment,” Riley says. “Especially during the winter months you’ve got this lush bunch of green lettuce that’s growing in the window and kind of freshening the air in your apartment and it actually just looks pretty.”

And it’s about to get easier. For people who are excited about window farming but not so gung-ho about starting from scratch, Riley says her group will soon begin selling window farming kits.

How to make a window herb garden

Tools to create your floating herb garden:

– 4 clean, empty, glass jars (Kilner, mason, jam or pickled onions)
– 4 standard hose clamps (50mm–70mm in size)
– 4 packs of herb seeds of your choice
– 2 single use packs of Sugru
– 1 small amount of masking tape
– 1 small portion soil
– 1 screwdriver
– Some love

Before you begin this lovely botanical project, make sure your hands are clean, and your window is gleamingly free from dirt. Now follow these 5 simple steps to nurture nature’s miracles in jars.

Step 1: Press a pinch of Sugru onto the glass window in your chosen position – this is your base layer.

Step 2: Press half a pack of Sugru onto the back of the hose clamp screw mechanism and shape into a pyramid. Avoid applying Sugru to the actual screw.

Step 3: Slowly, but firmly, stick the hose clamp onto the Sugru you fixed onto the glass window (Sugru to Sugru). Shape the edges of the Sugru smooth to secure the hose clamp in place.

Step 4: Use masking tape to hold the hose clamp in place for 24 hours while the Sugru sets. You can also stick a ball of Sugru to the window to support the jar.

Step 5: Once the Sugru has set into rubber, attach the jar to the hose clamp, tighten with a screwdriver and get planting. Add the soil, sow your seeds and follow the growing instructions on the seed packets.

Beauty is in the eye of the jar-holder.

Get excited about bringing a garden indoors! If you need to top up, it’s over here. And if you’re lucky enough to have a real-life garden, head over here for more projects to add a little DIY to your outdoors.

Changed your mind? No need to panic. Sugru is removable. Simply cut it off with a sharp knife and rub the surface clean. Check out our explanatory page for full instructions on how to remove it:

Caring For Hydroponic Herbs – Tips On Growing A Hydroponic Window Farm

Interest in indoor hydroponic gardens is growing fast, and for good reason. A hydroponic window farm is the answer for urban dwellers without outdoor planting space, and a fascinating hobby that provides fresh, chemical-free vegetables or herbs year round. This article focuses on using an urban window garden for growing hydroponic herbs.

Indoor Hydroponic Garden

So what is an indoor hydroponic garden anyway? In simple terms, hydroponics is a method of plant cultivation in which the roots attain their nutrients from water instead of soil. The roots are supported in a medium such as gravel, pebbles or clay. The water, which contains plant nutrients and is properly pH balanced, is circulated around the roots by an electric pump system, or by a wicking system.

Soil is a difficult, unpredictable medium and plant roots expend a considerable amount of energy gathering nutrients. Because the nutrients are so easily accessible in a hydroponic system, the plant is free to concentrate its energy on creating leafy foliage and fruit, flowers or vegetables.

How to Make a Hydroponic Herb Garden

If you want to make a hydroponic herb garden (or even vegetable garden), do your research because you’ll need a basic understanding of plant growth and how hydroponics work in general. Then, you can decide what hydroponic system will work best for you.

Hydroponic window farms can be relatively complex, involving a system of pumps, tubes, a timer and growing containers. The water is pumped from a container at the base of the garden to the top, where it runs slowly down through the system, soaking the roots as it trickles. Supplemental light is often required.

A variety of plans are available on the Internet if you want to build the system from scratch, or you can simplify the process by purchasing a kit. You can also create a smaller, less involved hydroponic window farm if the idea of making an indoor hydroponic garden is more involved than you expected. For example, you can make a pared-down version with recycled plastic soda bottles that are tied together with cords and hung from the windowsill. A small aquarium pump circulates the nutrient-rich water.

If you want to keep things simple while you learn about hydroponics, you can always make a hydroponic herb garden with a small kit. The kits are ready to go and include everything you need for growing and caring for hydroponic herbs.

Nearly any type of herb plant is suitable for this type of gardening system. So if you’re someone that not only enjoys herb gardening but also cooks with them frequently, growing an urban windowsill garden hydroponically is the way to go – you’ll have healthy herbs right at your fingertips all year long.

Hydroponic systems are your perfect solution for small space gardens. Growing plants and crops can be daunting in small spaces or dry and poor soil. Here are some different types of hydroponic systems which work even in a limited space. Gardening in small spaces and inferior soil is possible with hydroponic systems!

Hydroponic Systems And Indoor Gardening Ideas You Can DIY!

1. Homemade Hydroponic System

How to Assemble a Homemade Hydroponic System Photo by DIY Network

Follow these steps to assemble a homemade hydroponics system. Next thing you know, you’re well on your way to growing plants without soil.

2. Zig Zag Hydroponic Systems

PVC Hydroponics Unit Photo by Instructables

Using PVC pipes is convenient for a hydroponic system. You can work it into horizontal, vertical and zigzag designs.

3. A-Frame Hydroponic Systems

An A-Frame hydroponic system will require you enough space for setting up. For beginners, you can better understand how the system works with this design.

4. Water Bottle Garden

Hydroponics Photo by Growing A Greener World

This water bottle garden system lets you grow plants and crops in small spaces. You also get to recycle plastic bottles. Talk about hitting two birds with one stone!

5. Vertical Water Bottle Garden

Hydroponic Soda Bottle System Photo by Instructables

There is a myriad of ways and means to grow plants in empty plastic bottles. This vertical hydroponic design is only one.

Don’t have much #garden space? Go #vertical http://t.co/POsudsY2lq #homestead #pioneer pic.twitter.com/K4Crg7zuas

— Homesteading (@HomesteadingUSA) June 16, 2015

6. DIY Hydroponics For Under $100

This starter kit is your rite of passage tool to hydroponic gardening. It’s easy to assemble and once you get how the system works. You can graduate to an advanced system where you can grow more!

7. Ezgro Original Hydroponic

EzGro Deck Garden Photo by EzGro Garden

This EzGro hydroponic system is somewhat over a homesteader’s budget. But hey, you can’t put a price on fresh and organic fruits and veggies all-year-round!

8. Hydroponic Systems Diagram

Homemade Hydroponic System Photo by mcciec

Hydroponic systems are somewhat complicated. That is if it’s your first introduction. Check out these diagrams and find out how simple it works.

9. Vertical Gutter Garden

DIY Hydroponics Using PVC Gutter Photo by Instructables

You can use rainwater for hydroponics which is better. You can also use gutters to make a hydroponic system possible in your garden.

10. Dutch Bucket Hydroponic System

Dutch Bucket Hydroponic System Photo by Instructables

For a beginner, experiment to see how the system works. This Dutch bucket system is a great way to get you started. Start from growing tomatoes. Soon you’ll find yourself growing varieties of veggies and fresh herbs.

11. Hydroponic Crystal Magic

Water bead Bio-Gel CRYSTALS for Plants Photo by DH Gate

For your indoor plants and flower arrangements, the crystal soil couldn’t be any perfect. It’s hydroponics system with a magical twist. You should give it a try!

12. DIY Hydroponic System

A small container and a couple of pipes are all you’ll need to build a DIY hydroponics system. Follow the instructions to the letter and you can build more next time with your eyes closed.

13. Hydroponics Fish Tank

Finally, a hydroponic farm that runs on goldfish poop Photo by Engadget

Build yourself a whole ecosystem with a fish tank hydroponics. You’ll see the give-and-take relationship in action. In this mini aquaponics, the fish takes nourishment from the plants and vice-versa.

14. Hydroponic Vertical Garden Pipe

Take this easy hydroponic piping idea. Don’t take this simple idea for granted. You can grow some decent crops in them like basil and lettuce.

15. Hydroponic Indoor Cupboards

Grow Salad In Your Kitchen Inside This Sleek Sensor-Driven Cabinet Photo by Fast Company

When we think of indoor gardening, we think of clutter. Well, not this hydroponic in a cupboard idea with indoor grow lights!

16. Hydroponic Rain Tower

Hydroponics and Worms Photo by Bloominthyme

Make use of every bit of your small garden prime real estate. Growing fruits and veggies in vertical tubes look a bit intimidating. Well, it’s not and you’ll love the clean look of it in your landscape.

17. Big Buddha Box Vertical Hydroponic System

Big Buddha Box Vertical Grow Hydroponics Photo by Super Closet

If you love to grow things but doesn’t have the space for it in the big city, you can invest in this vertical hydroponics. A bit of life and green in the big city are truly worth the cost.

18. DIY Condensed Hydroponics System

How to Set Up a Simple DIY Hydroponics System Photo by DIY Natural

If you’re particular about neatness when growing plants, hydroponics is for you. You can find how you can grow plants without the messy soil especially indoors, here.

19. Liter-Of-Cola Hydroponics System

Put empty cola bottles to good use by growing a vertical hydroponics garden in your apartment. The idea is to put them in a vertical position on top of the other for convenient watering.

20. DIY Hydroponics Living Wall

How can I build a hydroponic green wall Photo by Quora

Plants defying gravity at home? Why not? We see this phenomenon in nature and you can recreate a wall-mounted garden at home with hydroponics.

21. Smartphone-Powered Hydroponic System

Homegrown Hydroponic Gardening System Made Simple Photo by Organic Authority

Gardening is kind of old school and unpopular with today’s generation. Not anymore, with a smartphone-controlled hydroponic system. Growing plants is now only an app away!

22. Hydroponic Lamp

Hydroponic Lamp Photo by Design Boom

Minimalistic lifestyle is at the core of hydroponics gardening. This smart hydroponic system presented by Ohneka Farms is a lamp and garden in one.

23. DIY Bucket Hydroponics

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A post shared by Sophia Dwiratna (@dwiratnasophia) on Oct 17, 2018 at 10:40pm PDT

The future of agriculture is right in this powerhouse bucket hydroponics. It’s not much, but wait till you get the hang of it and you will go on to grow more.

24. Small NFT Hydroponic System

Simple DIY Hydroponic Systems To Implement In Your Indoor Garden Photo by Farm Hydroponics

To better save on indoor grow lights, make use of your south-facing window. Take this small NFT hydroponic system if you are a beginner.

25. DIY Windowsill Hydroponics Drip Watering System

Hydroponic Window Farm Photo by Instructables

This is an amazing garden which takes care of itself. It is possible with the drip watering system. This way you can go away for a few days without worrying about how your plants are doing.

26. Hydroponics With LED Light Technology

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A post shared by Hector L Gotay (@hgotayc) on Sep 28, 2018 at 11:09am PDT

This hydroponics with LED light technology is perfect if you wish to grow microgreens fast. With how expensive microgreens are, you’re better off growing them your own.

27. DIY Agriculture Hydroponics

Walk yourself through this step-by-step guide to building your own hydroponics system. All you need is a Home Depot plastic box and a hydroponic systems kit and you’re good to go!

28. Kratky Hydroponic System

Hydroponic Kratky Method Photo by Garden Ambition

The Kratky hydroponics is one of the simplest methods in the hydroponic system. You simply grow plants using a small basket with your choice of medium. You then suspend the basket or medium in water with the nutrients.

29. The Raft Hydroponic System

Raft Hydroponic Systems Photo by Grozine

The Ancient Aztec is said to have been the pioneers of the hydroponics system. This raft method, in particular, was the system they employed.

30. Drip Garden

Hydroponic Drip Garden Photo by Instructables

We are now getting to the more advanced part. If you want to grow more veggies indoors all-year-round, you’ll take great interest in this hydroponics drip system.

31. Fodder Hydroponic Tiered System

Dairy Cow Hydroponics Fodder Farm Equipment Photo by Nature Hydro

Both man and animal food can be produced in a hydroponics system. For large scale animal farming, you can cut cost by growing fodder in hydroponics.

32. IKEA Hydroponics

Indoor gardening Photo by IKEA

Even IKEA has released their own indoor vegetable garden kit in their indoor gardening products, and it’s lovely. Growing indoors has never been this exciting.

33. Cheap And Expandable Hydroponic System

In the “Nutes” Photo by Hydro Rush

For this simple hydroponic system, use clay pellets and 1-gallon root square maker. You can always add a few more pots as you progress in this gardening method.

Check out this video tutorial from Scott’s Place to make a hydroponic for $35:

Hydroponic systems are lifesavers for those who are at odds with conventional gardening. You can now grow plants and crops in small spaces and in places with a bad soil. We hope you find this roundup helpful in learning the basics of hydroponic gardening. We would love to hear your favorite among these awesome hydroponic systems!

Which hydroponic system are you going to try? Share your thoughts about it in the comments section below!

Up Next: 145 Homesteading Skills Every Homesteader Must Be Equipped With

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Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on July 8, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

It’s always been easy to dream of the perfect herb garden. The culinary-minded imagine meandering down the garden path, shears in hand one step away from a world of hard-earned flavor. Those who are in it for the aesthetics, picture patio furniture, ice tea and, the gentle calming of a fragrant breeze. But what of those of us who don’t have the time or worse, lack the space. A hydroponic herb garden might be the answer they’ve been searching for all along.

Hydroponic farming has curved into the zeitgeist of late although the concept has been around for centuries. The idea that plants might grow in water – providing that water is infused with nutrients – dates back to the experimental tinkering of that great English polymath Francis Bacon.

His posthumous, 1627 book, Sylva Sylvarum, set out the basics and experimenting continued apace over the next few centuries. But it was the move towards sustainability that kickstarted the current trend.

After all, there are many benefits to the hydroponic method. When utilized on a larger scale, hydroponic production levels tend to spike. Indeed, if used in tandem with a technique called vertical farming, hydroponics offers a ninefold increase over soil-grown counterparts.

Hydroponics system as part of a vertical farm

Of course, it’s probably best to leave the large scale farming to the professionals. But that does not mean that a delve into the world of at-home, DIY hydroponic herb garden application is out of reach. It isn’t.

The only real question then, is which method to use?

Because there are a multitude of hydroponic growing techniques to choose from and no one method is better than any other. Still, in the interests of keeping things simple, for this hydroponic herb garden guide at least, we’ll stick to one we know well.

It’s called the Kratky Method, and it is delightful in its simplicity.

Developed by Dr. Bernard Kratky at the University of Hawaii, it’s perfect for beginners thanks to its noncirculating nature (meaning it does not require a pump or an external device).

Materials

To get started, you will need the following materials:

  • One 5-Gallon Bucket
  • One Piece of 1.5” to 2” thick sheet styrofoam cut to fit your bucket (Your styrofoam circle should match the circumference of the bucket 6 inches below the lid)
  • A 2.5” hole saw (A serrated knife will work)
  • Two Basil Seedlings (Or any other preferred leafy herb)
  • Hydroponic Fertilizer (any general hydroponic fertilizer will do)

Step 1: Set Up

Remove the seedlings from their starter containers. Shake off excess soil surrounding the roots, but make sure to keep enough attached to the roots to provide buoyancy and reduce wash away within the bucket.

Basil Seedlings ready to be placed in styrofoam raft

Cut your styrofoam into a circle so that it matches the circumference of your bucket 6 inches below your lid. Now, within the circular styrofoam raft, cut holes on opposite sides barely large enough for your seedlings. There should be an even amount of roots above and below. Do not place your raft into the bucket just yet.

Seedling placed inside of raft (container is not required)

Step 2: Fill and Mix

Fill the 5-gallon bucket close to full. Mix in the recommended amount of hydroponic fertilizer based on your instructions (The pH level of your solution should remain between 5.5 and 6.5). Take the styrofoam raft with plants inside and rest it gently on top of the solution in the bucket.

Styrofoam rafts with herbs floating on the hydroponic solution

Note: If you are having trouble transferring the starter herbs and maintaining a solid combination of roots and soil, worry not. There is a quick fix for that: Take a clear party cup and drill lots of small holes in it (the more, the better). Fill the container with a bit of soil and your starter plant. Adjust the aperture in your raft to accommodate for the cup size, and place the cup inside. That should solve the problem!

Step 3: Enjoy Your Hydroponic Herb Garden!

Make sure you place the bucket in a spot likely to receive ample sunlight and that as they say, is pretty much that! All you need do is sit back and watch your herbs grow. For a plant like basil, you will not have to add any more water to the bucket after set-up. Plants that require higher quantities of water, such as tomatoes, however, may need multiple refills.

Harvesting basil is as simple as cutting the stem to just above a pair of leaves, and the good news is that in doing so, you also encourage the growth of additional branches. Alternatively, you can always wait until your plants have reached full maturity and then remove them entirely from the container.

Fully Matured Basil Plants

As the roots increase in size, they will also start to take in more water. Because the styrofoam raft catches around 5 inches below the lid, it should create an air pocket beneath the plant. Do not fret; this is essential for the growth of the herbs. Feel free to check on your herbs but remember to be gentle!

All that is left is to do is to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your (minimal) labor. Be warned; you may notice that these herbs taste and smell slightly different than the ones your friends have grown outdoors. Indeed, they are probably going to feel and smell fantastic. That’s because hydroponic herbs contain more aromatic oils than their -ground counterparts.

A fun and surprisingly cheap project, the Kratky hydroponic herb garden is perfect for gardeners of all experience levels. Try this inside of your home and let us know how it goes in the comments below!

Happy gardening!

I’m willing to bet that you love using fresh herbs in the meals you prepare for yourself and your family. Herbs are a fantastic way to add flavor and zest to any dish imaginable…but there’s a problem. Most of the time, we settle for dried herbs for a couple of reasons:

  • Dried herbs save money. Fresh, organic herbs are expensive!
  • If we buy fresh, we might not use everything before it goes bad

If you do decide to buy your herbs fresh from a grocery or farmer’s market, they are going to cost you. A pre-packaged container of fresh organic basil can cost up to $3.99 at most grocery stores. Other popular organic herbs like chives, thyme, rosemary and oregano all cost around the same amount.

Price isn’t the only concern. One of the strangest things about buying organic herbs is their plastic packaging. Almost all of the companies that sell organic herbs use plastic disposable packaging. I might be on my own here, but part of the reason I buy organic is to tap into a more natural way of growing and consuming food. Plastic doesn’t fit into my picture of organic food very well.

If you decide not to buy organic, you will certainly pay a cheaper price, but you won’t be able to guarantee the quality of the herbs. Because we don’t eat huge quantities of herbs in one sitting, the flavor is extremely important.

We use them to delicately flavor our food, so buying herbs that aren’t grown in the best of conditions will harm the flavor of your dishes.

Cheap, Fresh Herbs Year Round

Wouldn’t you love it if you had a source of fresh herbs throughout the year? You’re in luck – that’s why I’ve created this guide! Here at Epic Gardening I like to focus on growing plants in easy, affordable and unique ways.

I’ve decided to put together a Mini Hydroponic Herb Garden plan for all of you who wish you could have fresh herbs year round but don’t know where to begin when it comes to growing your own. The goal in this guide is to make it as cheap and easy as possible for you to construct your garden using materials you can find at most home improvement and pet stores.

From seed, to sprout, to harvest, I’ll teach you a way to build and maintain a hydroponic herb garden that thrives – for free!

Here’s a sneak peek:

Shopping List

This garden is designed to hold eight plants. If you want to expand it, feel free to do so – there’s plenty of room to grow more herbs. Eight plants allow you to grow a lot of different types of herbs. Basil, sage, oregano, thyme, parsley, chives, tarragon and cilantro are among the most popular herbs, but they aren’t mandatory by any means.

Plant whatever you like in your garden, as long as it isn’t an herb that grows to a massive size. The entire shopping list comes out to around $80 or so depending on where you get your materials.

That might seem like a lot of money to start out your garden but remember – you’ll be harvesting fresh herbs year round. In basil alone you’re saving around $50 just by growing it yourself!

Item

Amount

Link

Plastic Tote

1

See Prices

Spray Paint

1

See Prices

Air Pump

1

See Prices

Air Stone

1

See Prices

Airline Tubing

1

See Prices

Airline Tubing Holders

2

See Prices

pH Testing Kit

1

See Prices

General Hydroponics FloraGro

1

See Prices

2″ Net Pots

8

See Prices

Herb Seeds / Seedlings

8

See Prices

Growing Media

1

See Prices

2″ Hole Saw Bit

1

See Prices

Total Price: ~$76.50

Total Price w/ Optional Items:~$90

Plastic Tote

Location: Amazon / Home Depot

A container of some kind is needed to house the water and nutrient mixture. It’s important that this be opaque, because any light that enters the reservoir has the potential to encourage algae growth. Too much algae can interfere with the herbs’ root systems by blocking the amount of nutrients they can absorb. Too much light can also warm up the reservoir, stunting our plant.

Spraypaint

Location: Amazon / Home Depot

If you can’t find a tote that is completely opaque you may want to pick up a can of spray paint. I chose a grayish color because black tends to absorb sunlight and heat up the reservoir too much. In my prototype garden, even grey absorbed too much heat – I would recommend buying white spray paint to reflect as much light as possible.

Airstone

Location: Amazon / Aquarium Supply Store

We need an airstone to evenly distribute small bubbles of air throughout the reservoir. Because the roots of our plants will be sitting in water instead of soil, we have to make sure that they get enough oxygen or else they will drown and wilt. The air bubbles oxygenate the water and allow us to fully submerge the roots without any consequences. I like the round airstones – they stay secured to the bottom of your reservoir much better than the 12” long models.

Air Pump

Location: Amazon / Aquarium Supply Store

Our air pump will allow us to oxygenate our nutrient mixture. Without fresh air circulating through the nutrient mix, the roots of our herbs will drown. Roots need a constant supply of oxygen in this hydroponic setup, because they will be fully submerged in water. You don’t need a fancy pump – the smallest and cheapest air pump will work. I got the cheapest model I could find at the local Petco.

Airline Tubing

Location: Amazon / Aquarium Supply Store

You need this to connect your pump to our airstone. Most packs have around 8’ of tubing which is more than enough for your garden. Be sure to grab a package of black tubing to avoid any algae buildup in the airline. If you get algae, the airline may clog and starve your plants of the oxygen they need to grow.

Airline Tubing Holders

Location: Amazon / Aquarium Supply Store

These are going to hold your airline tube down, so the airstone will stay on the bottom of your reservoir. I’ve tried building this in the past without using these and it doesn’t work out too well. The airstone tends to flip over and float around the reservoir, causing an uneven flow of air bubbles. Without the bubbles, our plants will drown.

pH Testing Kit

Location: Amazon / Aquarium Supply Store

Our pH testing kit will help us ensure that the pH of the nutrient mixture in our reservoir is at the correct levels. Without a correct pH, our herbs will not be able to absorb nutrients at optimum levels. Most tap water has a pH of 7.0-8.0 and our plants require a pH of 6.0-6.5. This is one of the most crucial items that we need for our garden.

Hydroponic Nutrients

Location: Amazon / Hydroponics Store

Without adequate nutrition, our herbs will starve. We need to mix a nutrient solution into our water in the appropriate amount for them to absorb through their roots. For beginners, General Hydroponic Flora Gro is by far the best nutrient to start with. Because we are growing herbs, we only need the nutrients that stimulate growth. We don’t want to bloom our herbs because it tends to make them bitter. This makes hydroponic herb gardening very cost-effective.

2″ Net Pots

Location: Amazon / Hydroponics Store

These are what we’ll be placing in the holes that we drill. They will hold the plants in place and, in combination with a growing medium, will give the roots something to grab onto as they make their way into the reservoir. You can find these at any hydroponics store or you can shell out five bucks and buy a 10 pack on Amazon.

Hydroponic Growing Media

Location: Amazon, Aquarium Store, Hydroponics Store

The root systems of your herbs will need something to grab onto before they make their way into the nutrient reservoir. The cheapest option is aquarium gravel, found at any pet or aquarium store. If you want to purchase a better growing medium, feel free to take a look at my hydroponic media guide to get a feel for what growing media you want to use.

*Pictured: Hydroton Expanded Clay Pellets

Herb Seeds or Seedlings

The final ingredient is the most crucial – the plants! It’s up to you whether you want to start your herb garden out from seed or buy some seedling starts from your local Home Depot or garden center. I’ve done it both ways. Starting from seed is cheaper over the long term, because the cost of a pack of seeds is close to the cost of one herb seedling. However, some of you might want to give your garden a head start. For you, seedlings are the way to go. There’s something satisfying about building your hydroponic system and then planting it right away.

Buy herb seed packets on Amazon

Optional: 2″ Hole Saw w/ Bit

Location: Amazon or Home Depot

This is optional – you can definitely cut out the 2” diameter holes on the top of the container with an exacto knife or some scissors. I just prefer the hole saw because it makes the whole process a lot easier. With a pilot bit and the 2” drill bit you can bang out eight 2” holes in less than five minutes. Cutting takes a lot longer and potentially looks worse if you don’t know your way around a knife.

Construction

Step 1 – Wash and Tape Reservoir

You need to spray paint your tote if it isn’t already opaque to avoid algae buildup in the reservoir. The tote needs to be perfectly clean before you paint. Make sure to wash and dry it completely to get ensure a smooth, dry surface.

Once your tote is dry, take a net pot and place it parallel to the top of the tote. Make a mark on your tote at the bottom of the net pot – this is where our water line will be.

Take a piece of tape and tape off the area from the mark to the bottom of the tote. After we spray paint the tote we’ll peel this off to reveal a perfect water level gauge.

Trust me – you’re going to want this little feature. Without it you’ll have to keep opening the top to check on your water levels, which gets to be a hassle once your herbs start to thrive.

Step 2 – Spray Paint Tote

Throw down some old newspaper or paper towels and place your tote on top. Make sure the top is fastened tight. Use broad strokes with a can of spray paint to cover the top and all of the sides except for the bottom with a light coat of spray paint.

After ten minutes, give each side a heavier coat. You want to make sure that as little light as possible penetrates the reservoir. Let it dry for 45 minutes.

Step 3 – Drill / Cut The Holes

After the paint dries, take your net pots and align them on the cover of your tote. Make sure that you space them out evenly. I wanted to leave room to add an additional six net pots in my design, so you can definitely space yours out better if you are sticking with eight net pots.

Once you’re done with the layout, start drilling eight 2” circular holes into the cover in an X pattern. Be sure to scrape off all of the extra bits of plastic so you have a nice smooth set of holes with no debris.

Drill a hole slightly larger than your 1/8” airline tubing in the short side of your tote, just below the top edge. This will be the airline feed hole. It’s important that this hole be drilled above your water line, or you’ll have a constant leak and never be able to maintain adequate water levels in your reservoir.

Step 4 – Install Air System and Add Water

Feed your airline through the hole you just drilled. Use a suction cup on the side and bottom of your tote to secure the airline and then connect the airstone to the inside of the tote.

If you bought a 15 quart tote, you’ll need around 2.5 gallons of water to fill the reservoir to the water line. Regardless of how much water your reservoir requires, be sure to write it down. We need this number for later when we add our nutrient solution.

Step 5 – pH and Add Nutrients

Now that we have built our reservoir and filled it with water, we need to pH the water and add nutrients. Most tap water is in the 7.0-8.0 range. The herbs you will be growing need water with a pH in the 6.0-6.5 range, so you will need to use some pH down. The picture above shows the forest green color of average tap water in the 7.0-8.0 range.

pH down is highly corrosive, so be sure not to get it on any part of your body. You don’t need much to adjust the water – try a few drops to start. Mix it into the water thoroughly and then test again. When the color on the strip matches the 6.0-6.5 range like the picture on the right, you’re ready to mix the nutrients.

It can take a while to get the color just right – try not to get frustrated. This is one of the most important steps in making sure that your plants get all of the nutrients that they require for vigorous growth. If you don’t correctly adjust pH, you will prevent your plants’ roots from absorbing certain nutrients. Click here for more information about how pH interacts with nutrient uptake.

Now we need to remember how much water we added to the reservoir. Take a look at the nutrient mixing chart on the back of your bottle of General Hydroponics FloraGro. This will give you the exact amount to mix into your system. If you’re starting from seed or cuttings, use ¼ tsp/gallon and if you’re starting from established plants you’ve bought from a garden store, use 1 tsp/gallon.

In my example system I added 2.5 gallons of water to the reservoir and bought some herb starts from the local Home Depot, so I added 2 ½ tsp of nutrients to my reservoir.

We’re almost done! On to the final step…

Step 6 – Add Growing Media and Plants

Now you need to add a bit of your growing media to the bottom of each net pot. This will provide a little base support for the root structure once we begin to plant our herbs.

If you’re not starting from seed but instead decided to get some herb seedlings, then you’ll need to wash away the dirt from the root systems. You want to start out with as clean a plant as possible to avoid any contamination in your reservoir.

Gently wash the dirt away from the roots, being careful to damage your plant as little as possible. When it is about as clean as shown in the picture to the left, you can go ahead and place it in your net pot.

If there are long roots that you can pull through the gaps in the net pot, go for it! This helps the root system hit the water sooner and flourish in the rich nutrient bath. If not, that’s okay – just cover the rest of the root system up with your growing media and plant the rest of your herbs.

Finished Product

Congratulations, you’re now the proud owner of a really awesome looking hydroponic herb garden! Barely takes any work to maintain and produces year-round!

Which Herbs To Grow?

Here’s a list of all of the herbs that do well in a hydroponic environment. I’ve listed the most popular five at the top. I’d be wary of planting mint or tarragon because they need to come from a cutting, but you can buy seedlings if you want – it’s up to you! I made this chart to give you an idea of when you can expect your herbs to be fully grown.

Typically, hydroponically grown plants mature much faster than their soil counterparts, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the times listed here could be sped up by a few weeks.

Herb

Germination (days)

Seedling (weeks)

Harvest (weeks)

Basil 5-10 days 8 weeks 5 weeks
Chives 15-21 days 12-16 weeks 11 weeks
Oregano 8-14 days 6 weeks 6 weeks
Thyme 8-20 days 6-8 weeks 4-6 weeks
Sage 10-21 days 8 weeks 4-6 weeks
Mint 12-16 days Cutting 4 weeks
Tarragon 10-14 days Cutting 7 weeks
Marjoram 8-14 days 6 weeks 2-4 weeks

In my example garden, I planted Sweet Basil, German Thyme, Greek Oregano, Common Sage and Cilantro, doubling up on a few of the herbs that I use all of the time.

I would recommend all of these herbs if you’re new to hydroponic gardening. They transplant well and thrive in a hydroponic environment. It’s your garden though, so get creative – it’s up to you to plant your garden however you wish!

Taking Care of Your Garden

Lighting

Place your garden in an area that gets as much natural sunlight as possible. Ideally, you want an area that’s getting at least six hours a day. If you can’t find a spot in your home that fits these requirements, you may want to consider lighting it artificially. A compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) will do wonders for these plants. Make sure that your plants get no less than six hours of sun per day, supplementing with lights if you can’t get this much light naturally.

Watering

Taking care of your hydroponic herb garden is simple. All you have to do is make sure that you keep the water at the correct level. To save time, just pH and mix a few gallons of the nutrient solution to keep on hand when the water levels dip.

Harvesting

Harvest your herbs whenever you need them. By only using FloraGro, we are keeping them in a permanent vegetative state. If some of your herbs start to “bolt”, which means put out flowers, then you should pinch off these flowers and let them continue to grow. Once these herbs put out flowers they tend to lose some of their taste, so be sure to pinch off the flowers and harvest continually!

Thanks for checking out my first hydroponics guide. Hopefully you’ll use this and some of your own creativity to build an indoor herb garden that fills your kitchen with fresh herbs throughout the years!

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Very few things can give as much satisfaction as growing your own food, but unfortunately, not everyone has the advantage of owning a garden plot, field or homestead. Appropriate land can be difficult to come by, particularly in urban areas, which is one reason why so many people have turned to hydroponic gardening. With this unique method of growing, no land is necessary, and you can cultivate your own herbs, fruits and vegetables. Some people buy ready-made hydroponic kits and others want to build their own system.

Hydroponic Herb Garden

An indoor hydroponic herb garden is a popular choice for people looking to get started with hydroponics. It takes a small amount of space and it’s a great winter activity enjoyed by the entire family. The herbs are protected from the cold and garden fresh herbs used in recipes make winter dishes tasty and healthy.

Herbs may be one variety of plants that benefits most from hydroponic gardening. Studies have shown hydroponically grown herbs contain 20 to 40% more aromatic oils than their traditionally grown counterparts, which can raise simple, home-grown herbs to gourmet status.

The video below features a woman living in New York city who demonstrates how to grow a herb garden while living in an apartment with a hydroponic system available for purchase on Amazon.com. The kit and supplies seen in the video are below.

General Hydroponics Rainforest 318 System

General Hydroponics Flora Grow, Bloom, Micro Combo Fertilizer Set

General Hydroponics pH Control Kit

A number of herbs do well if grown hydroponically, among them figuring basil, mint, rosemary, lemon verbena, parsely, oregano, thyme, and cilantro. Even stevia rebaudiana and Echinacea do well in a hydroponic garden. Just be sure to use seedlings rather than seeds for stronger, faster-growing plants.

Nutritionally, herbs need more nitrogen than phosphorous, although both are important to their health. They also require an EC of 1.2 to 1.8 and a pH around 5.8 to 6.4. 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (about 21 to 24 degrees Celsius) are ideal, but herbs can rough it occasionally and still do well. In fact, they often produce better results when their growing conditions are not constantly perfect.

Hydroponic herb garden example showing coriander.

When providing light, keep your artificial bulbs about a foot away from the herbs as they grow. The best kind of light to use is a metal halide light. This will give the herbs the complete light spectrum, especially on the blue end.

For extra effectiveness, equip your herb garden with an oscillating fan. This will increase exposure to carbon dioxide and thereby promote photosynthesis. You also want to keep the humidity somewhere between 40 and 60%, using artificial means if necessary.

What is Hydroponic Gardening?

Hydroponic gardens can vary widely, but they share a few traits in common. In a hydroponic garden, for example, you do not use soil at all. Instead, you grow your plants alone or in a substrate such as rockwool, perlite, vermiculite, peat moss, or coconut coir. The substrate is inert, meaning it does not break down easily and affect the nutrients and pH levels.

Hydroponic gardens require nutrients and oxygen, of course, as do traditionally grown foods. However, the difference here is that you apply them by one of various methods directly to the roots or to the substrate, which then carries them to the roots. The roots, therefore, do not have to gather and absorb the nutrients from soil, thereby conserving energy which expends itself in the development of the plants.

All hydroponic gardens also need light, whether it be artificial or natural. Photosynthesis can’t occur without light, so every hydroponic garden must take this into account. Metal halide is the most popular kind of artificial light, but you can also use fluorescent lights, LEDs, and high-pressure sodium bulbs.

You can build your own DIY hydroponics garden in your apartment or other small urban indoor space. Although outdoor hydroponic gardens are also popular. The video below shows a homemade DIY hydroponic gardening system with 130 plants growing including lettuce, cabbage and kale in just ten square feet!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydroponic Gardening

Advantages

Some of the positive attributes of hydroponic gardening are quite distinctive, while others are somewhat more obscure. One of the most obvious advantages is the absence of a need for land or soil. Without this requirement, hydroponic gardens can be built in cities and particularly lend themselves to vertical gardening. Larger operations are called vertical agriculture.

Hydroponic Gardening Requires less Pesticides and Herbicides

Similarly, since many hydroponic gardens are indoors, the need for pesticides and herbicides is minimal. This, of course, makes for a cleaner and healthier product, and, therefore, a much more appealing article for purchase in a market.

Year Round Gardening

Hydroponic gardens, being indoors, are also free from reliance on the seasons. With the right equipment, this kind of garden can function year round. Whether in your home or in a greenhouse, your garden can produce twice the amount of beautiful, lush vegetables and fruits as an ordinary garden, with a hydroponic garden, there is no end to the growing season.

Less Water Required

While the yield is higher, the use of resources is lower. As has already been mentioned, no soil is required, and a hydroponic garden demands only 5% of the water needed by a traditional garden. On top of this, there is no runoff or evaporation, and gardeners can reuse the water a multiplicity of times.

No Weeding or Digging in the Dirt

Hydroponic gardening is also attractive to those who love to grow but hate the labor and the dirt. When you grow without soil, there is comparatively little mess that you have to worry about. No digging is necessary, and weeding is totally unneeded. What is more, because hydroponic gardens usually stand at counter height, stooping and bending are minimal.

Disadvantages

Hydroponic Gardening Costs More

Unfortunately, there are also some undesirable aspects of hydroponic gardening, the biggest of which is the amount of money necessary for beginning. Of course, a small garden in the home is not all that costly, but if you attempt anything larger, you are facing a possible expenditure of millions.

Constantly have to Monitor Water and Nutrient Levels

Likewise, since a hydroponic gardener is responsible for supplying and applying the nutrients to the plants, it is important that he keep a close eye on his nutrients and water. This can mean more work, because such monitoring is fairly constant.

Hydroponic Gardening Requires Electricity

Another problem is that hydroponic gardening is dependent on electricity. Plants get their nutrients by some electric device, usually a pump, and their light, if they are indoors, is from lamps. Therefore, when the power goes out, your entire crop is at dire risk.

Since hydroponic gardens are dependent on electricity, they are necessarily consumers of power. This consumption can tend toward the excessive in large hydroponic gardens, which is definitely a negative attribute to take into consideration.

Different Hydroponic Gardening Systems

There are six different kinds of hydroponic gardening techniques which you can use. Some people argue that they are all equal in efficiency and effectiveness, but others hold that there are superior and inferior types from which to choose. When all is said in done, however, the most important thing is that you choose the type that is suitable to you.

Hydroponic Wick System

Wick is the easiest and least expensive sort of hydroponic gardening and is perfect for a DIY hydroponics beginner. In a wick hydroponic system, there is a wick made of cotton or some similar material which has one end in the growing medium and the other in the nutrient solution. The solution is drawn up the wick and released into the growing medium, where it reaches the roots of the plants.

An alternative to this system is to use a medium which can act as a wick, such as vermiculite or perlite. In this type of system, you want to make sure your medium is touching the nutrient solution so that it can carry the solution to the roots. An important point to note, however, is that you must be careful not to use an overly absorbent medium, as saturation prevents oxygen from getting to the roots.

Deep Water Culture Hydroponics (DWC)

This is another simple kind of system. In a deep water culture system, the plant roots grow in the nutrient solution itself, receiving oxygen by means of an air pump comparable to the ones placed in aquariums. The solution is covered so that light cannot penetrate to it and cause the growth of algae or other undesirable organisms.

This method is excellent for growing lettuce, as lettuces thrive on water.

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Gardening

In nutrient film technique hydroponic systems, plants are placed in rows with their roots extending into a structure resembling a pipe. At the bottom of this structure, the nutrient solution constantly flows, coming into contact with the root ends. NFT hydroponic systems collect and reuse the water to prevent waste. Like the previous two systems, this system requires a pump, but unlike the others, this type of system also needs a timer to regulate the circulation.

If you want to accelerate the growth process, it is easy to achieve this with NFT hydroponic systems. Since most of the roots are in contact with the air, the plants have an easy and constant supply of oxygen. Increased oxygen means increased growth speeds.

Drip Hydroponic Garden System

Drip hydroponic garden systems consist of a pump, a timer, drip lines extending to each plant and a substrate. In this kind of system, the timer triggers the flow of the solution, which the drip lines then feed to the plants. The leftover solution filters down to be collected and reused.

Drip systems are popular systems, but they have a tendency to clog. Particles from the nutrient solution accumulate and close the emission points, especially if you are using an organic solution. If you can overcome this obstacle, however, a drip system is an excellent choice.

Aeroponics

The most complicated of the systems, this Aeroponics uses a mist to apply the nutrient solution to the roots. The roots hang in the air and, either periodically or constantly, are misted with the solution.

Ebb and Flow Hydroponic System

Perfect for plants that thrive on the periodic absence of moisture, the ebb and flow system is strongly dependent on a pump and a timer. From time to time, the nutrient solution floods the tray in which the plants are growing, and as it drains off, the roots absorb what they need.

If you employ this kind of system with the right plants, you will have much success. Some plants require dry times in order to expand their roots, and root growth means absorption of more nutrients and therefore faster growing.

How to Start a Hydroponic Garden

If you wish to start a hydroponic garden, you have two options: to buy or do it yourself (DIY). Usually it is wisest to buy a hydroponic system, as they can be complicated to construct. However, if you are adventurous and handy, the DIY route can be very enjoyable.

It is easy to buy hydroponic garden systems. Besides specialty and big box stores, you can find them online. Amazon carries an extensive selection, for example.

To make a DIY hydroponic gardening system, however, is more involved. You can try one of the many how-to books or tap into the wisdom of any given website. The processes are constantly being updated. Therefore, it is vital that you make sure your information is current. Likewise, you must gather information from a wide range of sources to ascertain that you thoroughly understand the process and the reasoning behind it. One source will not be enough to give you the knowledge you need to build an efficient and effective DIY hydroponics system.

Supplies for Hydroponic Gardening

Hydroponic gardening supplies

vary depending on which type of system you use. However, one thing they have in common is that they all require a carefully balanced nutrient solution, which you can purchase online or in any store which sells hydroponic gardening systems. Most also need a pump and a timer, and several require a growing medium. Light is another necessity, which, as has already been mentioned, can be artificial or natural.

Popular Plants for Hydroponic Growth

While many say you can grow anything hydroponically, it is true that some things do grow better than others, and that some require more effort than they are worth. That being said, there are plenty of easy-to-grow options available that work in a number of hydroponic garden settings.

Difference between Solution Culture and Medium Culture

Before going into details, however, it is important to make a distinction. All the types of hydroponic gardening systems can be grouped under two headings. The solution culture, also called the liquid culture, includes those systems which convey the nutrient solution directly to the roots. Thus, the DWT, NFC and aeroponics systems belong to this group. On the other hand, the medium culture, also known as the aggregate culture, uses some form of material to support the roots. The drip, ebb and flow, and wick systems all fall under this heading.

This distinction is important because different plants grow best in different cultures. For example, in the solution culture, the ideal plants to grow are those that have shallow roots and grow quickly. Lettuce, herbs, spinach and cabbages are popular choices which fall into this category. In the medium culture, however, the systems can accommodate larger roots and plants whose upper portions do not grow well without some kind of support. An example of the former would be beets, while tomatoes, beans and cucumbers represent the latter category. Strawberries and potatoes are also very popular choices and can do quite well in a hydroponic environment.

DIY Hydroponics Examples

The systems can all exist in the home. In one example, the gardener has set up a DWC system to grow peppers. This example is capable of functioning with many systems and is being used to grow a wide variety of plants. The drip technique is admirably and clearly exemplified by this hydroponic system, and this one shows a remarkable homemade version of a hydroponic garden. You can also see an excellent store bought hydroponic system from Ikea.

DIY Hydroponics: How to Grow Hydroponic Tomatoes Lettuce Strawberries

Hydroponic Tomatoes

When growing hydroponic tomatoes, start with seedlings, but be sure that they originated indoors. If they sprouted outdoors, you run the risk of infection from germs and pests, which can destroy your entire crop. Therefore, it is best to start your own seedlings by planting a seed in your growing medium and transferring it to your hydroponic system immediately upon sprouting.

There are two kinds of tomato plants, determinate and indeterminate. Determinate tomato plants vine along the ground, acting more like a bush, while indeterminate tomato plants vine upward. You can grow either hydroponically, but determinate varieties can be easiest. They do, however, need support from a trellis system and can be comparatively difficult to prune.

The amount of light a tomato plant receives is extremely important. The amount varies by type, but they can require anywhere from 8 to 18 hours of light per day. In addition, they need an absence of light when they are mature. 8 hours of darkness are usually ideal.

Night and day temperature requirements are different. During the day, a tomato plant thrives best anywhere between 65 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit (about 18 to 25 degrees Celsius), but at night, the ideal temperatures are 54 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 12 to 18 degrees Celsius). Going too far outside these ranges can result in the destruction of your crop.

As far as nutrients are concerned, tomatoes need phosphorous, nitrogen, and potassium. They also require an electrical conductivity (EC) level of 2.0 to 3.5, and their pH requirements are between 5.8 and 6.3.

Hydroponic Lettuce

Lettuce is one of the easiest plants to grow hydroponically. Its requirements are few, and its growth rate is quick.

Growing hydroponic lettuce begins with the germination of seedlings. You will want to use a plug tray and a growing medium. After moistening the medium, fill the plug trays with it, adding about three seeds per plug and topping things off with a quarter of an inch of the growing medium. Maintain the moisture throughout the germination period, and regulate the temperature so that it is between 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit (about 16 to 20 degrees Celsius).

Once the seedlings are visible, put them 2 inches below a fluorescent light for 14 hours a day, maintaining the distance as they grow. Thin them to one seedling per plug when they are 2 inches tall, and transfer them to your hydroponic system.

Keep lettuce in relatively cool temperatures, somewhere between 45 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (about 7 to 21 degrees Celsius). Make sure you regulate your temperatures such that the air mimics nature by being cooler at night and warmer during the day. If the temperatures are too warm, the lettuce will do something called “bolting,” which means it will begin to flower and turn bitter to the taste.

The light lettuce needs ranges between 10 and 16 hours, and its nutrient requirements are simple. Nitrogen and phosphorous are its main demands, but it also takes in some potassium. The pH level is moderate, being about 5.5 to 6.3, while the EC is 1.0.

Hydroponic Strawberries

Variety matters where strawberries are concerned. Consider one of these: Douglas, Tioga, Tuft, Red Gauntlet, Chandler or Brighton. Likewise, choose your hydroponic system wisely. NFT and Ebb and Flow work best, but if you are experienced, you can play around with the others.

When you begin growing strawberries, start with plugs rather than seeds. Seeds mature for two to three years, so unless you want to wait, they aren’t your best option. Try to take off as much of the dirt as possible from the roots of the plugs and then soak them in cold water for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse to ensure the rest of the dirt is cleaned off. Be sure to keep the roots wet when you are planting as it is extremely easy for them to dry out.

Presoak the growing medium in your solution for 30 minutes, making sure first that it has the appropriate pH balance of between 5.5 and 6.8, and then carefully plant your plugs. Keep the crown of the plant from being buried when planting, as oxygen and light are needed to promote growth, which originates from the crown.

Strawberries are somewhat unique in that they require less salt in the nutrient solution. The electrical conductivity meter, which takes the measurement of the salt, should read between 1.2 and 1.5. However, they do need plenty of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous, as well as magnesium, calcium and sulfur. Besides these nutrients, strawberries need to be kept warm and relatively dry, even by using a dehumidifier if necessary. Aim for a temperature between 65 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 18 and 25 degrees Celsius).

Finally, if you keep your system indoors, you will find it necessary to pollinate your strawberry flowers manually since there will be no bees to do it. You can accomplish this by lightly tapping the flowers.

Hydroponic Potatoes

When growing potatoes, use an aggregate hydroponics system. The heavy tubers need support that the other systems do not supply. A recommended medium to use is perlite, a crushed volcanic rock.

To start your plants, do not try to grow potatoes from the ones you purchase at the grocery store. As a general rule, these won’t sprout because of a special treatment they undergo. Instead, use designated seed potatoes, which you can buy from a plant nursery. Look for pieces with at least two eyes each.

When you plant your seed potatoes, you want to place them in a container of your medium, which you have already saturated with water. Make sure that you cover them with 1 inch of the medium, and as they grow, don’t let them ever be exposed to sun, as this will damage them. To prevent this, supply more of your growing medium, if necessary.

Potatoes need around six hours of light, and they thrive on a pH of 5.8 to 6.2 and an EC of 2.0 to 2.5. Nutritionally, they require equal amounts of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous, but only until plants are 18 inches tall. Then they need an increased amount of potassium in order to thrive. It takes around 70 days for your potatoes to be ready for harvesting.

Hydroponics: A DIY Method for Growing Vegetables

DIY hydroponics is a way even the most crowded city dwellers can benefit from fresh, homegrown vegetables. Although it can take some work and care, a hydroponic garden is an excellent and highly efficient method to try. Whether it’s tomatoes, lettuce, herbs or beyond, you can bring your favorite food from farm to table without leaving your home.

9 best home hydroponics kits

Hydroponics might be better known for large-scale underground urban farming – or, ahem, mass-producing marijuana – but it’s also revolutionising horticulture at home. It’s easy to see why: growing hydroponically allows those without gardens to grow food inside, fuss-free, mess-free and all year round.

Hydroponics, quite simply, is the process of growing plants without soil. In most systems the roots are directly suspended in nutrient-rich and perfectly pH-balanced water.

You can grow a variety of plants in a hydroponic system, such as greens, vining plants, root crops, fruits, herbs and even flowers.

You might be thinking: this seems like a lot of effort… why not just grow plants in soil? Well, hydroponic plants grow around 30 per cent faster, they generally produce a higher yield, you don’t need to worry about over or under-watering your plants (meaning they won’t die if you forget to water them for a month) and you can grow seasonal plants, such as strawberries and tomatoes, all year round.

Hydroponic farming en masse is on the rise in urban areas, but now it’s entering the do-it-at-home market, with brands such as Seed Pantry and Ikea offering plug in and play kits.

We’ve tested nine of the best kits available in the UK. The most time-consuming part of growing hydroponically is the setup, and there are some important things to consider before you get growing.

Each plant is different (and a bit picky) when it comes to its ideal growing conditions, so do your research before you get set up. Some kits will do a lot of the heavy lifting for you, such as automatically watering the plants and keeping the light on a timer. For more manual setups, you may need to purchase a grow lamp and a timer. Most kits provide nutrients and instructions on how often to feed your plants, and some come with a pH reducer as tap water can be a bit high for optimal growing (plants will still grow, just slower, if you want to avoid the scientific part).

A common problem to watch out for is algae. It’s not harmful to the plants, however, and there are different ways to prevent or remove it, such as keeping your nutrients in a cool, dark place like a cupboard, or refreshing the water and wiping down the tanks. Once everything’s plugged in, it’s time to sit back and relax.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Akarina 01 starter pack: £169.99, Akarina

What’s included: 1 x 0.5g pack gourmet looseleaf salad seeds, 100ml bottle liquid nutrients
Grow cycle: approximately 40 days (5 weeks)
With minimal setup, three removable culture trays – which make seeding and watering extremely easy – and an LED light with an integrated timer and dimmer function, the Akarina 01 is the easiest plug in and play hydroponics kit for the beginner indoor gardener.

It is also one of the most aesthetically pleasing kits we tested and works well in any room as a lamp. The starter pack comes with gourmet looseleaf salad, which excels in a hydroponics system and takes around 40 days to grow (or fewer if you prefer babyleaf).

Younger plants only need watering once a week. Towards the end of the grow cycle, or during a heatwave as we tested recently, you will need to up the watering to twice a week – so it requires a bit more attention than some of the other kits we tested.

The light is timed to be on for 16 hours a day, and can get quite warm to the touch, but this can be adjusted, turned off or dimmed if you prefer.
Due to the white exterior, discolouration from algae is more noticeable. Akarina recommends refreshing the water in the culture trays and wiping them down with a cloth if it becomes excessive. Akarina 01 is the flagship model, but there are two others available that are cheaper and just as aesthetically pleasing.
Buy now

Seed Pantry grow pod 2: £65.00, Seed Pantry

What’s included: three seed packs (includes Italian basil, basket of fire chilli, sweet ‘n’ neat cherry tomatoes), advanced grow medium with nutrients
Grow cycle: around 7 weeks for chillis and tomatoes to appear
A bit smaller than some of the others we tested, Seed Pantry’s grow pod 2 is a simple and affordable kit that fits nicely on a desk or windowsill.
The grow pod itself looks pretty hi-tech and the packaging is modern and 100 per cent recycled. We liked the adjustable LED light, which can be switched on and off and features an inbuilt timer, the smart controller, which beeps when it needs watering, and the seed spacer covers, which clip on the top of the grow pods and space out the plants as they grow.
The kit only comes with enough nutrient-infused growing medium for one cycle, so you would have to purchase more (£3.50) for another harvest. Seed Pantry claims to be mess-free but we had some spillages of growing medium and water, so take care when filling the pods and watering.

You have a choice of Italian basil, basket of fire chilli or sweet ’n’ neat cherry tomato. We chose tomatoes and chillies, which took around 10 days to sprout, and around five weeks to grow to a foot high. No fruit has sprouted yet (at time of writing).
Seed Pantry also offers a seed subscription box and a range of different grow kits, including starter kits for children.
Buy now

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Harvest: £59.99, Amazon

What’s included: six pods gourmet herb seed kit (includes Genovese basil, curly parsley, dill, thyme, Thai basil, mint), patented nutrients
Grow cycle: around a month/5 weeks
Miracle-Gro is known for its fertilisers and plant care, so it’s natural that it has branched out into hydroponics (multiple puns intended). It offers several different models but the Harvest, with 6 pods, a red/blue LED system with a timer function and control panel that tells you when to add water and nutrients, is definitely the elite of the bunch, while still affordable.
The Harvest comes with a gourmet herb seeds kit, which includes pre-sewn plugs, featuring Genovese basil, curly parsley, dill, thyme, Thai basil and mint, grow domes for optimal germination and a full season of liquid nutrients. These will need to be purchased again for an additional season.
The kit is extremely easy to assemble and use: we particularly like the adjustable light panel, which can be moved up and down as the plants grow taller, the pre-sewn plugs, which can be placed straight into the unit and are mess-free, and the inbuilt pump, which circulates the water several times a day to prevent sediment buildup for healthier plant roots.
We encountered a problem with some of the plugs: the parsley and thyme failed to sprout at all (on their website Miracle-Gro says it will replace dud pods free of charge), while both species of basil grew much faster and taller than the others, eventually blocking out the light for the dill and mint, stunting their growth. The basils also grew taller than the light panel, and were burnt where leaves touched the light.
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Ikea Krydda/Vaxer grow kit: £63.50, Ikea

What’s included: growing media, nutrients
Grow cycle: 4-5 weeks
The Ikea grow kit has been doing the rounds on Instagram recently and inspiring a new generation of hydroponic gardeners. It comes with plenty of plugs, growing medium and nutrients for multiple cycles, but seeds are extra (£1.50 per pack). Instructions on how to clean the pumice stones for reuse are also provided.
This kit takes a little longer to set up as it arrives flatpacked (it is Ikea after all) and must be assembled, and also requires you to germinate seeds in a nursery box (which is provided) before planting.

It can be a bit fiddly to replant the delicate seedlings, which are grown on plugs made from stonewool (absorbs water and provides a good base for the roots), into the baskets with pumice stones without damaging them. We found we didn’t plant the plugs deep enough and some of the roots were exposed, which meant the plants could not support themselves and fell over.
However, things get easier once the seedlings have been replanted as there is a water level and a funnel to make topping up easy. The red/blue LED light means you can grow all year round, but doesn’t come with an integrated timer.

The plants grow well and quickly, but can become overcrowded, so it is best to use fewer than the eight provided grow pots and spread them out a bit. Ikea also sells a two-tier version.
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Alicja Patanowska Plantation hydroponic plant grower: £19.50, Trouva

What’s included: ceramic planters
Grow cycle: varies – eg full-grown garlic bulbs takes months, plants around 6 weeks
Plantation, created by Polish artist and designer Alicja Patanowska, is slightly different to the other hydroponics kits we tested. It comprises four different ceramic pots that can be placed in or under a variety of standard-sized drinking glasses, and is ideal for growing plants such as garlic, onion, potato, herbs or even an avocado, or the perfect solution for rooting grafts.
This method of growing allows both stem and roots to be seen so the entire process can be observed. One of the pots can also be turned upside down to create a mini greenhouse ideal for germination. Nutrients aren’t provided but they can of course be used.
The pots come with detailed instructions on the types of plants you can grow and the best methods of growing, but you are also free to experiment, and flowers work too, such as hyacinth. You can grow things to eat, but in smaller quantities than the other units. We think an assortment of the pots would look great arranged on a shelf. An added bonus: they’re dishwasher safe.
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Hydromerce grow tub: £14.99, Hydromerce

What’s included: lettuce seeds, nutrients, pH adjuster
Grow cycle: 4-6 weeks
The Hydromerce grow tub contains everything you need to get started with a simple lettuce growing system, takes only a few minutes to set up and is the cheapest on this list.
What the grow tub lacks in looks (it is quite literally… a tub), it more than makes up for in its simplistic design and ease of use. It comes with enough seeds, rockwool plugs and nutrients to run for five cycles, producing a total of 10 lettuces – far more than any of the other kits we tested.
It’s also the only kit to provide a pH reduction solution and testing strips. The pH of tap water tends to be a little high for optimal growing, and this can be detrimental to the plants’ ability to absorb nutrients. Hydromerce recommends testing the pH every week and adjusting as necessary, which is not complicated but does add an extra step compared to other kits.
The grow tub doesn’t come with a lamp, but requires plenty of light and warmth so you will need to purchase one if you don’t have a suitable space. Watch out for algae – Hydromerce recommends using aluminium foil to prevent light hitting the box, which will reduce algae growth. It also advises keeping the nutrients in black bag and in a dark space such as a cupboard as the combination of nutrients and light can cause algae to grow.
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Botanium: £59.00, Botanium

What’s included: growing medium, pipette bottle with liquid nutrients, seeds are extra (basil, chilli pepper, cherry tomato, coriander, £3.30 extra)
Grow cycle: 2-3 weeks for coriander, 4-5 for tomatoes (but no fruit)
Botanium is a “smart” plant pot that automatically waters your plants for you several times a day, meaning no over or under watering, and less fuss and more growth. The water tank lasts several weeks, and features a handy window on one side so you can easily see when it needs topping up. Instead of submerging the plants in water, Botanium uses a porous growing medium that retains a lot of water without draining the roots, while also providing an aerated environment for the roots, meaning faster growth and more control.
The Botanium is suitable for vegetables or flowers, but recommends you plant dwarf varieties that won’t outgrow the container. Seeds (it recommends basil, chilli pepper, cherry tomato and coriander) are extra and cost £3.30 each. The seed packets come with handy instructions for how to plant and maintain, including how much light and nutrients are needed, how long they take to sprout and how tall they will grow.
We grew tomatoes, which take around a week to germinate but 1-2 weeks to sprout. So far (at time of writing), growth has been slow – Botanium recommends carefully removing all but the tallest seedlings to avoid competition and maximise growth, and helping the plant pollinate once flowers have bloomed (after a few months). We also tested coriander, which grew much faster and excelled in a sunny spot on a windowsill.
Botanium doesn’t come with a growing light. In summer, this doesn’t matter too much as there is plenty of light, but if you don’t have a sunny spot in your house or you want to continue growing in winter, you will need to purchase a grow lamp.
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Harvy cultivation box: £51.44, Blomster Landet

What’s included: 6 sewn plugs (includes 3 lettuce, 3 basil), 250ml bottle special nutrients
Grow cycle: 5-6 weeks
The Harvy cultivation box, a collaboration between Nelson Garden and Hemmaodlat, is the largest of the kits we tested, measuring around 80cm long and with space for six plants. It’s perfect for a windowsill as the LED light can be fixed to the glass with suction cups and moved up and down as plants grow.
The kit comes with six sewn plugs made out of peat and coconut fibre and containing lollo rossa lettuce and Emily basil, and a 250ml bottle of liquid nutrients. There are a variety of other sewn plugs available, or empty ones so you can grow your own. When the plants first sprout, they are very delicate. We accidentally broke the stem of one and it stopped growing, so take care.
Once set up, the box does not need refilling with water for around three weeks – much longer than the other kits we tested. However, it is large and heavy, so be sure to fill it when you’ve found a good spot for it. Nelson Garden also claims the box can be used daily for many years, and all elements are recyclable.
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Growgreen hydroponic tube: £44.99, Amazon

What’s included: only equipment
Grow cycle: 2 weeks (but no seeds provided)
The EasyIn-06 system from Hong Kong-based Growgreen is a bench-top, tube-shaped hydroponic system with space for six plants. The kit can be purchased on Amazon, but unfortunately does not come with nutrients, seeds or instructions, though it does provide a demo video on its website to guide you through the setup and growing process.
The kit comes with an external pump (with a USB port), which helps to save water and prevent sediment and algae buildup by circulating water (and nutrients, if using) through the tube. Growgreen recommends leaving the pump on for 12 hours a day.
It doesn’t come with an LED lamp so must be placed in sufficient sunlight. The tube itself is double-layered, providing thermal insulation in heat and cold. The kit comes with 12 sponge plugs, but recommends germinating seeds on a damp piece of kitchen paper in a plastic box before transferring to the tube – which can be quite fiddly.
We decided to grow spinach and watercress and found the EasyIn-06 was the perfect environment – we had fully-grown crops within two weeks, which is faster than some of the other kits we tested.
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The Verdict: Best hydroponic kits

For easy setup and maintenance, a modern style that will suit any room in the house, and fully-grown lettuce in around a month, the Akarina 01 is our best buy. For a more hands on experience, and Instagram fodder, choose the Ikea Krydda/Vaxer. If you want something fuss-free, that you can forget to water for a month, the Botanium is for you.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden Systems & Kits

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Hydroponic gardening systems provide an easy and efficient way to grow herbs and other plants indoors with minimal fuss and mess. Since these hydroponic systems use nutrient-infused water to grow your herbs there’s no dirt and no mess. These kits can be set up anywhere in your home and allow you to grow fresh herbs year round. If you’re looking for an indoor hydroponic herb garden it’s hard to go wrong with any of these kits.

Many of these kits are perfectly sized for a kitchen counter or windowsill, which makes them a great option for casual gardeners looking to save money buying herbs from the grocery store. Indoor hydroponic gardening is also a great option for urban gardeners since it can be done indoors without a yard or garden bed to plant in. Since they are self-contained systems, they can be grown anywhere in the home or even in an office to add a little greenery to your cubicle. The flexibility of these small indoor hydroponic systems and their ease of use makes them perfect for hobbyists and newbie gardeners.

For this article, we rounded up the best indoor hydroponic herb garden systems that are available for complete kits. We evaluated the ease of set up and use, along with the availability of supplies, and overall price to find the best indoor hydroponic grow system for all levels of gardeners. Check out our reviews below.

Best Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden Systems

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Classic Herb Kit

Miracle-Gro’s AeroGarden was the hot product that originally kick-started indoor hydroponic gardening among the masses. Now there are many different models available in multiple color options and with cool features like wifi controls, but we are going to focus on the Classic model. This is a great entry-level model for anyone new to hydroponic gardening interested in growing herbs in their kitchen, and it’s also the most affordable Aerogarden. The unit comes with a base with a control panel, a water reservoir, and space for 6 pods. The pods are cone-shaped holders with a sponge that the seeds sprout and grow inside of. These sponges absorb the water and the nutrients in the reservoir to germinate the seeds until they grow their own roots. The pods are one-time use only, so you will need replacements at the end of each growing season.

The two big selling points for the Aerogarden is that it makes hydroponic growing simple and it has a built-in 20 watt LED lighting system. Attached to the base by a height adjustable arm, these high-performance and full spectrum lights are almost better than relying on sunlight in your windowsill. You can grow year round, anywhere in your home or office, no matter what kind of natural light is available. The lighting system makes this almost foolproof. Once you have the Aerogarden setup, the control panel will remind you to add the nutrients and automatically turn the lights on and off. The Aerogarden is the best indoor hydroponic grow system on the market right now.

This set comes with the Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit which includes six seed pods and enough plant nutrients for 1 season of growth. All supplies and replacement parts are easily available for order online, including generic pods and food available at lower prices. We’ve successfully used the Aerogarden to grow herbs and lettuce greens and recommend it for anyone looking to grow those indoors. They also sell pods for red heirloom cherry tomatoes, which are well reviewed on Amazon. You can also grow flowers in your Aerogarden, but we feel like that’s a waste of space when flowers are so easy to grow elsewhere.

Included Seeds: Genovese basil, curly parsley, dill, thyme, Thai basil, mint

Dimensions: 16″ wide, 11″ deep, 15″-21″ adjustable height (5.5″-12″ high growing area)

Hydrofarm Emily’s Garden Hydroponic System

If finding natural light for your herbs isn’t an issue or you’re looking for a hydroponic planter that’s flexible for indoor or outdoor use, this hydrofarm may be what you’re looking for. It does require a little bit more “know how” and hands on maintenance than the Aerogarden, so it depends on what your needs are. We would not recomend this indoor hydroponic garden for beginners.

Available for over 25 years, the manufacturer also makes commercial hydroponic systems, so they provide a quality at home solution. These Hydrofarm hydroponic systems come with 6 individual planters to grow your herbs (or flowers or strawberries or even veggies) that rest in a 2 gallon reservoir. The pump irrigation system keeps the water aerated and the water level indicator on the side lets you know when you need to refill it. Instead of soil, this hydroponic grow kit uses a geolite growing medium that absorbs moisture and nutrients from the water and delivers it to your plants for even watering with minimal maintenance. The compact size of this system is great for growing in a sunny windowsill or small patio, and this system is great for outdoor urban gardeners as well. The large size of the pots mean you can easily grow herbs and many types of vegetables as well.

This kit comes with the full Hydrofarm setup and pump irrigation system, plus the Geolite Growing Medium and an all-purpose nutrient solution. It’s just up to you to pick out the herbs you want to grow and buy the seeds. If you find that you need extra light, you can use this hydroponic kit with any indoor grow light setup. Since this kit is such a general setup, it’s easy to buy replacement growing medium and plant nutrients online or in local garden stores.

Dimensions: Overall unit: 16″ x 24″ x 6″. Individual planters: 6″ x 6″ x 7″

EcoPro LED Indoor Hydroponics Grower Kit

If you like the idea of the Aerogarden but don’t like the price point and what the ability to grow more pods, check out the EcoPro. Utilizing a similar design, this indoor hydroponic grow system is a fraction of the price. Its goal is to give you an easy, fool-proof way to grow an indoor hydroponic herb garden in your home. It features a base to hold the water and nutrients and 8 slots for baskets grow your chosen plants. There’s also a built-in water pump to keep your water circulating. By placing the growing sponge in the baskets and adding your seeds, you just have to fill it with water, program it and watch it grow. The top LED panel is the programmable light, which allows you to grow your herbs and vegetables in any location, under any light, even in the winter! The height of the light is adjustable so you can increase it as your seedlings grow.

This is great for gardening newbies as it comes with detailed instructions to set up the system (no tools required), “plant” your seeds, and care for your plants by maintaining the water and nutrients. Again, I would recommend this kind of set-up for urban gardeners and apartment dwellers who have limited outdoor space and no yard to grow in. The unit gives you the flexibility to grow most herbs, lettuce greens, and some vegetables while guiding you through the process. This is also a great set-up for a classroom or to teach your own children about the life cycle of plants and the benefits of growing your own food. It’s also another way to give your kids some responsibility and practice on caring for something without giving in to their demands for a puppy or a kitty.

This hydroponics kit comes with EcoPro Grow medium and nutrients to get you started. You will have to buy your own seeds to start growing, but that gives you more flexibility in selecting what herbs (or greens or vegetables or fruit or flowers) you grow. This system is flexible enough to use any type of growing pellets or foam you want to buy as a replacement and plant nutrients are plentiful to buy online or in a local garden show. The baskets and grow domes (for seed germination) appear to be reusable as long as you wash them between uses.

Dimensions: Max height 22″

Click & Grow Indoor Smart Herb Garden

This is probably the second most well-known indoor hydroponic herb garden on our list. Though, I’ll tell you a secret: it’s not actually a hydroponic garden. It actually uses a form of sub-irrigated planting to water and grow the plants. Since the only thing that it required of the user is to add water, we figure most people considering an indoor hydroponic garden would be interested in hearing about this kit.

Click & Grow started as a Kickstarter project to make a smarter and easier way to grow herbs indoors. Over 10,000 people backed it and now it’s available to buy online. Inspired by NASA’s efforts to grow plants in space, they looked for a way to minimize the amount of electricity and water used to grow plants. They used technology and science to make the process as easy as possible for the grower, but at the same time, it takes away a little bit of the flexibility you can get from other hydroponic systems. This is a great option for people who are not good at growing things or for children learning to garden for the first time.

When you receive the kit, you just follow the instructions on the box to set it up and insert the plant cartridges. Then you fill up the reservoir in the base (there is a slot in the side where you pour in the water and a float indicator that shows when it’s full) and then plug it in at the time you want the light to start in the morning. The light stays on for 14 hours and then turns off automatically. The plant capsules include their Smart Soil, which has all the nutrients your plant needs, and the seeds. Once it is set up, you just have to check the water level and refill it as needed. That’s it, the Click & Grow does the rest of the work for you. They advertise that your plants should sprout in 1-2 weeks and then be full size in 1-2 months, with 2-3 months of harvest.

In comparison to the other competitors, this system is much smaller in size. It can easily fit on a kitchen counter even in the most cramped apartments. it’s great for focused growing on just a few different types of herbs. But their proprietary design and refill cartridges give you a little bit less flexibility than some of the other hydroponic grow kits. When you decide which kit to buy, your choice between the Click & Grow and another kit should be based on whether you want the ease of use or if you want more flexibility and the ability to grow more plants with another system.

This kit comes with everything you need to set up and grow your plants, you basically just add water. After it’s first use, you will have to buy their proprietary cartridges to use it again. The linked kit comes with 3 basil cartridges and is meant for growing herbs and smaller plants. Click & Grow also sells replacement cartridges for wild strawberries, lemon balm, parsley, catnip, chili peppers, chives, marjoram, oregano, peppermint, sage, thyme, and a variety of other flowers and plants. They also have what they call an “experimental refill” that you can put your own seeds in.

Dimensions: Length 11.8″, height 11.1″, width 4.7″

Color Options: White with either white, orange, or kiwi-green cover

Plantui Workshop: Growing Your Own Indoor Herb Garden

Over the past weekend, we conducted a mini workshop at Ode to Organics to share with our lovely participants on how to grow and take care of their own indoor herb garden.

Having your own little garden at home is such a wonderful thing, and most people would love one but are intimidated. Intimidated by the worry that they don’t have green thumbs or by the perception of the sheer amount of work required.

We wanted to share how easy it is to setup your own home garden and to maintain it. All it takes is some basic knowledge and a little bit of time and effort.

When deciding what kind of garden to grow, the first thing you need to do is to understand your living space. Regardless of how big or small your living space is, there will be a suitable type of home garden for you.

Of course, we at Plantui are naturally in the Hydroponics camp.

The R&D team behind Plantui are scientists and plant geeks at heart. We believe that we the taste and nutritional value of the plant can be vastly improved by simply tweaking the factors such as light spectrums and by providing the plants with the optimal growing conditions. This, of course, is done achieved by indoor hydroponics.

Sure, there are people who are in the Soil-based gardening camp, which also has its merits. It ultimately boils down to your environment, how much space you have and what type of plants you intend to grow. Hydroponics provides a quicker and better yields than traditional agriculture, soil-based farming is still necessary for root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots.

Our participants shared the various reasons behind their desire for an indoor herb garden, which mostly revolved around the fact that herbs are expensive in Singapore and it is inconvenient to head to the supermarket to buy a big pack of herbs when all you need is a little bit for cooking and garnishing.

The great thing about growing your own herbs is that you have a steady supply of herbs at your disposal. And sometimes you have so much in abundance, you end up racking your brains on how to use them!

So we shared creative ways to use herbs and methods of preserving excess herbs for future cooking endeavours!

First and foremost, don’t be afraid to harvest generously! As soon as the herbs have grown enough leaves to be pinched without affecting their growth, you can begin using them.

Plants generally grow thicker and better with a little bit of pruning!

We ended off the session by making and enjoying some fresh pesto! Made with fragrant Basil Minette leaves from our Plantui Smart Garden.

Here’s our simple go-to recipe for amazing pesto!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup roasted pine nuts (Substitute with walnuts, almonds, pistachio, cashew, macadamia)
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese(Substitute with Parmesan cheese)

1.Combine the basil, garlic, and nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

2.Add remaining oil and pulse until smooth.

3.Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

Everyone went home with full stomachs and new ideas for growing their own garden!

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