Bored of growing in dirt? Tired of pests? You should look into hydroponics system.
My family and I have been practicing hydroponics for years now. It’s incredibly rewarding and easy to use. Plus, it’s cool! With this technique you get rid of the dirt and give the plants simply what they need to grow, the nutrients, without worrying about pests, weeds, contamination, or disease.
It can be a daunting task to know where to start with your system and choosing the best hydroponic garden kit to grow your indoor herb garden, but here’s what you’re looking for and some potential options to start!
Top Picks for Hydroponics Systems in 2018
Don't have time to read the entire review? Then check out this table for a quick review to pick your complete hydroponic grow kit..
basic overview of Hydroponic System
A hydroponic system literally infers working with water which is what you do with hydroponics. You deal with water to grow your crops. This isn’t just any water.
It’s nutrient rich water that feeds the roots of your plants without the need for soil. Soil isn’t necessary.
In-fact, it’s just a medium that holds the nutrients that the plants need, same as the water.
With that in mind, you can use some type of inert media that lacks nutrients so your plants have a place to rest and grab the nutrients from the water.
This typically includes perlite, peat moss, clay pellets, rockwool or vermiculite. Oxygen is very important for your plants to grow and this media helps oxygenate them.
Hydroponics involves a heavily controlled environment. You set the conditions for your plants, and they grow clean, happy, and healthy!
Benefits of Hydroponic herb garden
Creating your hydroponic herb garden has many benefits, some you may not even have thought of. Here are some advantages of using great quality hydroponic systems!
Efficiency - Hydropic herb garden can grow Fast
Everyone wants more put out from what they put in. Same goes with plants. With the best Hydroponics Kits (system), you can actually have your plants mature faster by about 25% and make more than 30% of a yield over soil gardening.
Plus, you save time and effort, getting more output for less input. Your plants will grow healthy, strong, and free from the threat of mold, most pests, and disease.
You don’t even need a huge root system. The less space you give the plants for their roots, the more their upper parts will grow which is great for leafy plants like lettuce or spinach.
Urban Farming - You can grow your hydroponic herb garden indoor
Many people who live in the city don’t grow plants for personal or business use because they don’t have the space. That’s true of soil growing. However, hydroponics is the exception. You don’t need a lot of space. It can be something small to put outside on your deck or in your closet or even up on your apartment roof. You just need water and a pump and something to hold your plants like PVC.
Don’t let your living arrangements hold you back!
Emotional- Grow fresh Herbs All Year Long
You may not have considered this, but hydroponics makes you happy. Sit down next to your setup with a cup of coffee in the morning, listening to the water cycle through.
You can even talk to your plants. They like it. Supposedly, according to my father, they even grow better if you talk to them! Let yourself find happiness with your plants!
Eco-Friendly - Care for mother nature
Are you worried about the state of the environment?
Hydroponics systems eliminate risk of fungus, viruses, insects, and other diseases that will typically threaten your plants grown in the soil. You don’t have to worry about using pesticides, insecticides, etc. That saves the environment.
Types of hydroponic systems for growing herbs indoor
Drip systems are quite unique. It’s super simple to use. All you need is a great timer that manages a submersed pump. As soon as the timer activates, nutrient solution is dripped into the base of each plant by a drip line.
The unused solution drops back into the reservoir for reuse or, depending on your setup, will not be collected and reused.
The benefits of this system are that it uses a lot less water, supports your root vegetables, and is flexible because you can grow multiple plants at once.
Water culture is the simplest of the hydroponics categories. Styrofoam holds the plants which floats over the nutrient solution. An air pumps supplies air to the air stone in the reservoir which bubbles your nutrient solution and gives the roots oxygen.
Use this system if you want to grow lettuce. It adores water and grows fast in it. It doesn’t need a whole fancy setup. It just needs air and water. However, this system will not work well fro long-term plants or large plants.
This is also a fantastic way to grow medicinal plants indoors. It’s economical, simple, and great for water-loving plants!
The wick system is simple, passive, and does not require a timer. It’s a passive system with no moving part. The nutrient solution is drawn down through two wicks to the reservoir with the help of gravity.
The system does use growing media like vermiculite, perlite, coconut fiber, and pro-mix. Sadly, this is not the best setup for large plants that require a lot of volume. This system won’t feed them all the water they can absorb.
Ebb And Flow
The Ebb and Flow system is a bit complicated. It works by flooding your growing tray with growing medium and plants until the nutrient solution can drain out back into the reservoir with a submerged pump that is linked to a timer.
When the timer turns on the pump, the nutrient solution is sent to the growing tray. When the timer shuts off the pump, the solution flows back into the base, and the timer is reset based on the needs of your plants.
You can use a bunch of different types of medias for this. You can fill the growth tray with grow rocks, rockwool, or gravel. You can even do this with individual pots with growing media.
This is great for your plants in terms of making transplant easier. The issue is that with certain growing media, you have a higher chance of pump/time failure.
This would be with perlite, gravel, and grow rocks. The roots dry out quickly when there is a water cycle interruption and these medias don’t hold water very well.
Nutrient Film Technique
This is a fantastic system for beginners. It allows for a steady flow of nutrients so you don’t have to worry about a timer for your submersible pump. The solution flows into your growing tray then falls back into your reservoir where you might have an air stone and nutrient pump. No growing media besides air is used. This saves you money and time.
Unfortunately, these systems are susceptible to failures with the pump and power outages. Plus, the roots are exposed to air, so they can dry out if the nutrient solution isn’t flowing.
The benefits of this system are that no medium is required, nutrients can be recycled, and it’s easy to harvest.
Aeroponics basically refers to a super advanced style of hydroponic systems. AKA NOT FOR BEGINNERS. You essentially have air just above your growing media so that the roots are suspended and misted with nutrient solution every few minutes.
They need to constantly be misted because they are exposed to air which means they can be easily dry out.
Typically, a timer monitors this which is connected to the nutrient pump. It’s a short-cycle timer that runs the pump for a few seconds per minute interval.
The nice things about this system are that it’s fast to grow your plants, uses water and nutrients efficiently, and no medium is required.
best Hydroponics Systems - Reviews
We've gathered a list of 5 of the best indoor hydroponic garden kits available on the market today. Whether you want to grow some simple herbs or are challenging yourself with Vegetable garden , these hydroponics grow kits are perfect for your indoor kitchen garden.
AeroGarden Ultra LED - Best on the market
The company that makes Best Hydroponics Kits, AeroGarden, is owned by Miracle Gro. They make many kitchen-top hydroponic systems like this one which is fully contained.
You don’t need any special hardware like growing medium, light-bulbs, or a nutrient solution. It’s a basic system if you need a simple system, and it’s best for those who want to use “grow pods.” You simply plop in the pod, choose a setting, and forget it until you want to use the plants.
What I like :
What I don't:
This system is best for growing smaller plants without big roots. The LED lights in it are energy efficient and easily replaced, so don’t worry about your electric bill. The reservoir isn’t real big either at 1.2 gallons. Finally, the trellis is height adjustable.
This hydroponics Kit is cheap and easy to use. You can grow quickly in a short amount of time with this system that’s all ready to go. The plant roots essentially are covered in a water reservoir full of nutrients and oxygen.
In the package, you’ll receive four x five gallon FDA approved buckets, four 6” net pot bucket lids, four air stones, four outlet air pumps, air tubing, and a blue water level indicator with a drain.
What I like :
What I don't:
This is another cheap system with an FDA-approved 5 Gallon Bucket and 6 inch Basket Lid. This includes a 44 GPH air pump, air tubing, air stone, growing medium, and rockwool seed starting plugs.It also has a blue water level indicator and bucket drain
What I like :
What I don't:
This neat little setup is pretty cool. It comes as a basin, and the basic cover has holes for your plants with little baskets. Combined, they get rid of light that could enter the basin which lowers the odds of growing green algae in your solution. Also, there’s a chug cylinder on the side of the basic cover which can be used when the passage from the air bubble stone pumps to the basin.
This can be inserted into the hollow cylindrical hole from the buoy, so you know the level of your nutrient solution.
It looks cool and works for a variety of plants. Per container, you can clone 5 cuttings.
What I like :
What I don't:
AeroGarden Sprout LED Herb Seed Pod Kit
With this system, you can grow year-round. You can grow 3 plants at a time. The full spectrum grow light it’s equipped with allows your plants to maximize photosynthesis which will help them grow faster!
These lights are easy to use and they remind you when to add nutrients. It also comes with a seed kit containing genovese basil, curly parsley, and dill, along with 3 ounces of patented nutrients for one full season of growth!
What I like :
What I don't:
If you’re excited as we are about hydroponics, you should really consider purchasing one of these setups to start and put these techniques to the test.
You have so many options in terms of a type of system with an understanding of how they work. Find out what system works best for your needs and let us know how it worked out for you, below!
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Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she attended University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture. She has supplemented her formal education by working on various organic farms, including spending a semester abroad in India.
Growing and/or raising just about anything gets her excited. She is especially passionate about environmental justice and low-tech, sustainable ways to better run small-scale farms and homesteads. Lindsey started Urban Organic Yield to discuss gardening tips and tactics.