Instead of relying on sunlight and dirt for sustenance, hydroponic gardens provide an environment for plants to thrive: an electric grow light, a mineral-rich food solution, and (in some models) a water pump. That means even the darkest apartments can still produce delicious tomatoes, or herbs for salads. These three glorious gardening systems (and one cool tool) will turn you into a green thumb—even if your apartment gets as much light as the Frigg Fjord Settlements in winter.
If your previous forays into gardening have resulted in plants being returned to the soil rather more quickly than they arose from it, this well-priced LED-powered system may give you a boost of confidence without breaking your budget. It contains space for up to nine plants and is best used for herbs like basil, thyme, or mint. Sow and germinate your seeds, then transplant them into the full system and enjoy fresh new flavors in your meals. This kit comes with supplies including nutrient-rich water to support growth, but the liquid may arrive separately due to shipping rules.
This kit provides you everything you need (except for seeds), including an LED light, nutrients, supplements, and an attractive planter-like system to take baby plants into adulthood. The light comes with a stand to aid you in starting seeds but can also be hung over your garden. Get creative and root anything from flowers to fruits—the system accommodates one large plant or four smaller ones.
This fancy and sleek black hydroponic system supports plants up to two feet tall on a footprint smaller than a sheet of legal size paper. It’s not limited to growing herbs, but it does come with 9 herb pods (including Thai basil, parsley, and dill) and a season’s worth of nutrients for each. A pump works to irrigate your garden properly and the LCD control screen even includes a vacation mode to ensure plants get enough LED light and nutrients while you’re out of town. Sync your garden to the AeroGarden app or Amazon Echo through WiFi, and enjoy remote monitoring and controls.
One disadvantage of an indoor garden (unless you don’t have screens on your windows) is a lack of bees to boost your harvest by distributing pollen. You won’t fool any real bees with this yellow and black stand-in, but you will have a handy vibrating tool to transfer pollen between flowers on bee-u-tiful plants like peppers and tomatoes. It’s powered by two AA batteries and is 10.5 inches long.