Best Hydroponic Kits for Home Gardeners (2020 Update)
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Best Hydroponic Kits for Home Gardeners

Written by Joseph Biggs and updated on October 7, 2017
Hydroponic kits

A lot of people choose to grow their own fruit and vegetables at home for many reasons. Firstly, it will save you money not having to buy fresh produce from the supermarket. Secondly, it’s the best way to ensure you’re getting organic food, without any harmful chemicals. And thirdly, it’s rewarding ground something from a little seedling and watching it bloom into something juicy and succulent you can really sink your teeth into. 

The problem for many people is, up until quite recently, growing produce at home never seemed viable unless you had a huge lawn where you can have your own greenhouse or vegetable patch. However, with the rise of hydroponics kits, that’s now become a different story as people are bringing their gardening indoors.

Hydroponic gardening involves using nutrient-rich water opposed to soil in which to feed the plants. While this form of gardening has been around for quite some time, it’s only really taken off in the past couple of decades as kits have been introduced to make it much easier for people to set up and maintain from home.  

In this article, we’ll explore some of the main benefits of hydroponic gardening as well as what you should consider when buying a kit. We’ll then share with you some of the most frequently asked questions and answers surrounding hydroponic gardening as well point you in the right direction as to some of the best kits around at the moment.

Benefits of Hydroponic Gardening

If you’re new to the world of hydroponic gardening, you may be wondering why people turn to this method over regular gardening. Well, there are several reasons for that. Here’s a few of them:

  • Grow all year-round. With a hydroponics system in place, no longer is the weather a barrier. You can better control the temperature and humidity, giving your plants exactly what they need 365 days of the year.

  • Better control over water and nutrient content. Although these systems rely heavily on water, they’re actually very efficient as both the water content and nutrients can be reused. The average hydroponics system will use around 10 percent less than a soil-based setup. 

  • Less labor intensive. With a hydroponics system, there’s no weeding or tilling involved as there is when growing in soil. Simply pot your plant with its roots exposed to the water underneath on a regular basis and watch your plants thrive like never before. 

  • Maximize space. With a hydroponics system in place, you can grow a lot more plants in a smaller area than if growing with soil. This is true for both indoor and outdoor hydroponics systems and is simply because the roots can be grown much closer together.

  • Plants grow quicker and produce bigger yields. Double bonus! It’s estimated that plants grow around 30-50% faster when grown hydroponically opposed to in soil. This is largely because those grown in a hydroponics system receive far more oxygen in which to stimulate growth. The plant doesn’t need to stretch to find nutrients as they get delivered on a routine basis directly to the roots.

  • Fewer pests. Attacks from pests are quite common when growing in soil. Using hydroponics, you eliminate that risk considerably by placing the system somewhere these critters can’t reach.

Any Downsides to Using Hydroponics?

As with anything, there are a couple of downsides to using hydroponics, but nowhere near enough to outweigh the benefits. The main hurdle to get over with these systems is the upfront cost. If you’re converting from soil gardening, you will notice the cost of a decent setup is considerably more. That being said, as long as you don’t encounter too many problems your crops will be much larger than before.

Another downside to using hydroponics is that pests and diseases tend to spread quicker due to the fact that nutrients are being shared. You need to keep a very careful eye on your plants to ensure they don’t get overcome with disease.

The last drawback I can see with using hydroponics is that not all plants are suited to this kind of set up. While crops like lettuce, peppers, and spinach grow very well under these systems, most root vegetables such as potatoes, turnips, and carrots typically grow better using soil-based methods.    

What to Consider When Buying a Hydroponic Grow Kit

So, now you a lot more about the benefits and drawbacks of using a hydroponics system, we’re going to run through a few of the things you should consider when buying your own kit:

What crops you intend to grow 

As mentioned above, not all crops are suitable for growing hydroponically. If you’re happy with the items you can grow this way and it will still be economically viable for you, then happy days! But, if there’s only a couple of items on the list that you want to grow and you don’t want much of it, you may want to consider if this is the best method for you.

Space/location

Once you’ve worked out what you want to grow, the next thing you should consider is where you’re going to put your hydroponics system. Whether you decide to have it indoors or outdoors, you need to ensure you have enough space for the type of system you’re considering as some need a lot more room than others.

Some things to bear in mind when choosing a location are water changes and maintenance. You’ll want to be able to access your system easily to do this so make sure you leave enough room for you to work.

Usability

Some hydroponics systems are much easier to use than others. Those systems that are heavily automated are no doubt the easiest to use, but are also the most expensive. You’ll need to find a system that is suitable for both your budget and the amount of time you have available.

Kit components 

Not all hydroponics kits come with everything you need to get you going. And what may seem like a bargain at first could soon start mounting up when you start to add all the other components needed.   

Your budget 

Hydroponic systems vary considerably when it comes to price. While you can get away with spending less than a $100 on one, it may be quite small and you may not be entirely happy with it.

By investing a little more (say between $100 - $400) you can pretty much guarantee yourself a decent system that will give you a good yield. There are some systems out there that cost $400+, but typically these are for the more advanced gardener who grows a lot.