The Best Products for Growing Food Indoors with Zero Gardening Experience

Whether it’s the frigid winter, a global pandemic, or a lack of arable outdoor space preventing you from planting an edible garden right now, you can still enjoy fresh herbs, fruits, and veggies any time of year when you set up your very own indoor garden.

Indoor gardens come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from a small desktop system for herbs to large, multi-level stackable planters in which you can grow enough greens to make salads aplenty. Most of the time, once you have your starter seeds and a few concentrated plant nutrients, all you need to grow these foods is to occasionally add some water.

Today we’ll look at five different products for indoor gardening, ranked not by quality or function, but listed simply from smallest to largest in terms of space required (and, as it happens, in terms of the potential amount of food produced).

Planter’s Choice Organic Herb Growing Kit

Planter's Choice Organic Herb Growing Kit

This little herb kit is perfect for any window that gets decent light; the only thing needed beyond light is water. The kit comes with seeds for cilantro, chives, basil, and parsley, and it includes four soil discs that swell to seven times their dry size once watered, filling the included planters. The included booklet takes you through the process step-by-step so it will be basically impossible to mess up the gardening here.

Click & Grow Smart Garden 3

Click & Grow Smart Garden 3

This compact, slender, hydroponic garden comes with basil plant pods and can be used to grow plenty of said herb for all your pesto and caprese needs. However, it can also be used to grow anything from cilantro to strawberries to hot peppers. The system is less than 6 inches wide and barely a foot long, so it’s ideal for the smaller apartment or even for use in a studio, office, or dorm room. Because it’s simple and rather stylish, you won’t mind having to look at it at all times.

AeroGarden Bounty Elite Indoor Hydroponic Garden

AeroGarden Bounty Elite Indoor Hydroponic Garden

Notably larger than the original AeroGardens you might recall from a couple of decades past, this planter system is large enough to grow a lot of food — and fast. If you devote it to one or two types of produce you love — say, cherry tomatoes and arugula — and plant the pods on a slightly staggered basis, you’ll likely never have to buy those particular types of produce again. And because the system is Alexa-enabled, you can keep track of growing conditions and progress with your smartphone or your voice.

Mr. Stacky 5-Tiered Vertical Gardening Planter

Mr. Stacky 5-Tiered Vertical Gardening Planter

While also perfectly well-suited to use outdoors, this large planter is a great choice for indoor gardening provided you can get it decent light and rotate the thing daily. It can be used to grow up to 20 plants — strawberries, potted tomatoes, greens, etc.— in only about 2 square feet of floor space thanks to its clever design. You’ll need to procure soil for this system, but once set up, using it is as easy as watering the top tier only; the water will trickle down evenly to the other plants. OK, and maybe add some compost or fertilizer at some point. (You might want to set it on some sort of tray underneath, just in case.)

Greenjoy Indoor Hydroponic Growing System

Greenjoy Indoor Hydroponic Growing System

One Greenjoy hydroponic garden box can help you raise enough greens, herbs, and select fruits to feed a whole family fresh foods. Stack a few of these boxes on top of the other, and you can produce enough produce to feed a small army. (A very small army, in the scheme of warfare, but still.) You can grow 15 plants simultaneously in this planter, each of which can be started from a single seed. And these are full-sized plants, like heads of lettuce or kale, not little herbs, mind you. It can also be used for flowers if you want an indoor cutting garden, but you can’t eat flowers, so probably skip that.

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