Buying a bag of fresh herbs is great. Until you have to get rid of half the bag after a few days of being stashed in the fridge. While growing your own plants should eliminate the problem, that’s not exactly the most viable solution when you live in an apartment building without a lot of room to spare. Sure, you can grow herbs in small planters that you keep by the window, but that’s no guarantee they’ll actually get enough sunlight or that you’ll actually remember to water them religiously.
Good thing, there are now plenty of indoor hydroponic kits that allow you to grow small amounts of herbs and veggies with the same set-and-forget convenience we enjoy in much of our modern lives. Not enough natural light gets through to your home? It’s got LED lights in tow to provide the necessary “sunlight.” Can’t stay vigilant about watering plants? Just fill up the tank every couple of weeks and it will ration the water all on its own. Don’t know squat about fertilizers and soil? No problem, as many kits come with fertilized soil and other adequate substitutes that ensure your plants get enough nutrients without having to learn about soil nutrition.
With a thriving indoor garden, you can, literally, pluck out herbs and vegetables straight from the plant right before you use them, ensuring you’ve got the freshest ingredients available at all times. Plus, it’s always nice to have a bunch of plants at home, especially when you live in the city where wide open gardens just isn’t a common sight.
Here are some of our favorite indoor hydroponic garden kits that you can keep on kitchen counters, side tables, and other convenient places around the house.
SunBlaster Micro LED Grow Light Garden
Most indoor garden kits are designed to handle everything, making your job mostly filling the water tank, making sure it’s plugged in to a power outlet, and getting new pods if you want a new plant. While it lets you grow actual food indoors, you don’t actually learn anything about actual gardening. This kit, on the other hand, keeps it lighter on tech, so you can feel like you’re actually taking care of a garden, while minimizing the tedious elements of gardening.
It’s got a 12-inch long full-spectrum LED grow light for simulating sunlight, although you’ll need to manually turn it on and off to properly mimic the day and night cycle. The base actually serves as a water tank, which can hold enough water to keep plants fed for 14 days, while an integrated wicking mat takes care of watering the plants all on its own.
It comes with four plant trays that use actual soil and whatever fertilizers you want to use with them. There are no pods available in this system, so you’ll have to plant actual seeds like someone with a backyard garden will do. According to the outfit, the planter is ideal for all sorts herbs, microgreens, and even flowers, with the light able to adjust up to 18 inches in height to give your plants proper room to grow.
VegeBox Indoor Herb Garden
If you want something more automated at the most affordable price possible, maybe this nine-plant garden kit from VegeBox will be more to your liking. It has a 21-watt full-spectrum lighting system with a built-in timer, so you simply have to turn it on and it will go through the day/night cycle all on its own, while the 1.2-liter water tank allows it to self-water the plants in the pods for up to two weeks. The light is adjustable at various angles up to 90-degrees upright, so you can raise it higher or tilt it lower, depending on the size of your plants.
You’ll need to germinate the seeds in the included seeding box before putting them in the individual planter pods, which can take up to around a week or so, depending on the seeds. Once they do, you simply put it in the plant basket and drop the whole thing in the pod, where the plants can grow their roots directly in the water (which you’ll need to mix with the included nutrient solution).
Do note, you’ll need to buy your own seeds, which will probably add some trial-and-error to the mix, but should be more educational in the long run compared to buying pre-seeded pods. You’ll also need to replenish the nutrient solution, as it only comes with two 60ml containers.
AeroGarden Harvest Elite
This compact indoor garden has a brushed stainless steel planter that can accommodate up to six different plants at a time, allowing you to have a nice variety of herbs and vegetables to grow at home, while taking up very little room. To simplify the planting process, it uses pre-seeded pods filled with all-natural plant nutrition in liquid form, so there’s no soil involved, which means you won’t have to deal with any dirt in your home.
It has built-in automated 20-watt LED lighting on top that you can adjust in height up to 12 inches above the planter, so your plants can grow up to a foot tall, while an LED display at the bottom will remind you whenever it needs new water or fertilizer. Yes, it comes with a synthetic fertilizer that you’ll need to put in at various times, but that and the water are, pretty much, all the work it requires. As far as indoor gardens go, this is as hands-off as it gets. The planter comes apart for easy cleaning, too, so you don’t have to reach into tight places the way you would with other kits.
According to the outfit, their water-based plant pods will help plants grow five times faster compared to those that grow in soil, so you can harvest much faster than other systems. It comes six seed pods, each one containing Genovese basil, curly parsley, dill, thyme, Thai basil, and mint, respectively, with additional pods available separately.
Click & Grow Smart Garden 9
We love the form factor of this nine-plant garden kit, which pairs the planter base with a fixed handle running from end to end that has LED grow lights at the underside of the top section. The whole thing looks like a handy basket. It’s very easy to move around, while looking very attractive anywhere in the house you decide to place it.
The kit can grow up to nine plants at a time, which you start using the outfit’s pre-seeded soil pods. These isn’t just soil, by the way, as it also contains all the nutrients the plant will need to grow, so there’s no need to add any fertilizers. Watering and lighting are all automated, with an integrated water tank that you’ll only need to replenish once a month. It comes with nine plant pods, namely three tomato pods, three basil pods, and three lettuce pods. If you want other plants, they have a selection of over 70+ herbs, greens, fruits, and flowers. You can also buy seedless pods that you can use to plant any seed you want.
Rise Gardens Personal Indoor Garden
We love the wooden frame of this eight-plant hydroponics kit, which makes it feel more like home furnishing compared to other systems. It’s not as hands off as the AeroGarden or the Click & Grow, so it’s more suited for those who actually like to feel they’re doing some amount of gardening work.
You start by actually germinating the pods in a separate container for a week or two. Once they’re ready, you move them to the garden, where it benefits from a self-watering hydroponics system and full-spectrum LED lighting. While the system will water the plants automatically, you will need to manually turn the lights on and off, while the whole thing requires weekly maintenance that involve replenishing the water tank (it uses up a gallon a week), adding fertilizer to the soil, and adding a pH balancer to the tank. Don’t worry, it comes with full instructions for each task on the companion app, so you’ll know exactly how to take care of your plants. It also gives notifications whenever you need to replenish the tank, while offering full remote control for the LED grow light.
The kit comes with eight seed pods, along with six weeks’ worth of fertilizers and pH balancer. The seed pods, by the way, consists of sage, basil, parsley, cilantro, arrowhead lettuce, island cos lettuce, arugula, and mizuna mustard.