This Modular Hydroponics System Will Give You Fresh Vegetables Year-Round

Rise Gardens makes growing food easy with its simple setup and handy app.

Rise Gardens unit

Hank Adams (Rise Gardens)

If you want to enjoy fresh home-grown produce while also adding some greenery to your home, then consider the hydroponics system made by Rise Gardens. This clever system grows more than 60 types of vegetable and herb, including beets, eggplant, peas, green beans, celery, cucumbers, different variations of peppers and tomatoes, as well as rooted plants and microgreens. These can be grown anywhere in a home, thanks to built-in LED lights.

This is the only modular system on the market, which means you can buy whatever size you want and keep adding to it, if you need more room to grow food. It can be built up to three tiers high, and those tiers can be set at different heights to accommodate plants of different sizes. A smaller countertop-sized Personal Garden is available for those who don't want to take up floor space with the Family Gardens.

Each of the levels holds a lot of plants. A company representative told Treehugger, "The single unit can hold up to 36 plants, and the largest unit can hold up to 108 (compared to competitors that can only hold a maximum of 30 plants). The Personal Garden can even hold up to 12 plants on its own."

Hydroponics may be a fancy-sounding word, but Rise Gardens has made the process incredibly simple. It takes only 45 minutes to assemble your garden (which is made of coated wood, not plastic, and makes for a much nicer aesthetic in the home), then you use the WiFi-enabled function to connect to an app on your smartphone that will tell you exactly what your plants need. (This step is optional.) Plant the seed pods provided by Rise Gardens by putting them into holes in the tray, then add water and plug in the system. Eventually you'll add liquid nutrients, as well.

Rise Gardens

Hank Adams (Rise Gardens)

Rise Gardens assures that the plants will flourish in water. Through hydroponics, plants can grow larger than in soil because "they don’t have to work as hard to obtain nutrients. The plant doesn’t require an extensive root system, allowing more growth above ground." They also grow 25-30% faster, thanks to that direct contact with nutrients, and they require less water due to reduced evaporation and runoff.

While Rise Gardens does admit that soil-grown produce is more nutritious ("There is no way to compete with the power of sunlight and good soil, it's just the best"), keep in mind that the produce you buy at a store is usually picked unripe and transported from far away, which causes it to lose nutrients anyway. It could also be sprayed with pesticides, so you are still ahead by growing your own hydroponically. Plus, it's beautiful and convenient to have these vegetables flourishing in your own home.

Rise Gardens app

Hank Adams (Rise Gardens)

The app is an interesting added feature, telling you exactly what your plants need at any given moment – whether they're low on water, how far along their growth is, if you should tweak their nutrient plan, etc. It also lets you set a schedule for the lights.

Rise Gardens is worth checking out for anyone interested in gardening. It's too late now for Christmas ordering, but units will deliver in early January – a little something to brighten a long, dark winter and add a satisfying crunch to your salad plate.