12 Plug-And-Play Home Hydroponics Systems

Hydroponic garden growing lettuce along a wall

Kanu Hawaii / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

If you've ever been interested in growing some of your own food, but the lack of a garden plot or yard has kept you from pursuing it, you may want to consider starting an indoor or balcony hydroponics garden. Technology has paved the way for quite a few different plug-and-play hydroponics systems, ranging from aeroponics to auquaponics, all designed to efficiently grow food in a small space. Here's a look at 12 of them.

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SuperPonics 8

For about $125, you can pick up a SuperPonics 8 system, a fully-automated growing system that features top feed watering and bottom feed oxygenation for vigorous growth rates. The system measures 11" w x 18" l x 12" h, includes a water pump, two air pumps, a timer, and net growing cups, and comes fully assembled.

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The Urban Farm 3

The Urban Farm vegetable growing system comes in a variety of sizes, from three containers up to twenty containers, but the bare bones Urban Farm 3 is about the right size for getting started in hydroponics. It features a 34 gallon reservoir, a digital watering control system, and three 3 gallon pots, which can be arranged as you desire. Prices start at $400.00.

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Tower Garden

The Tower Garden Growing System stands 5 feet tall, and can accommodate up to 20 plants in its compact footprint. This $500 aeroponics system includes the growing stand, a pump, timer, and net pots, as well as their blend of liquid plant food and a pH test kit. Additional extensions are available to increase the number of plants on each Tower to up to 28.

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AeroGarden Ultra

Herbs growing in an AeroGarden

Ruth Hartnup / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The AeroGarden series of indoor gardens not only handle the nutrient and water needs of your plants, but also include lighting for them. The AeroGarden Ultra, measuring 14" w x 11" l x 33.5" h, costs about $250, and features an adjustable lighting system and an automated "MyGarden" control panel for managing all of its functions, including the lights and the nutrient and pump cycles.

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Home Aquaponics Garden

From the folks at Back to the Roots, known for their grow-your-own mushroom kits, comes this home aquaponics garden. Combining a fish tank with a small home hydroponics system, the garden will accommodate five plants, which are nourished by the waste left by the fish. Available for preorder now, priced at $60.

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Phytopod-3 Hydro

The Phytopod-3 Hydro system, priced at $180, consists of a 5 gallon reservoir as the base, a tower of soil-less growing medium, and a pump and timer for irrigating the plants. Additional modules can be stacked on top of one unit, and because the plants are grown vertically, quite a bit of growing space is available in a relatively small footprint.

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The WaterFarm system, from General Hydroponics, is a single 2 gallon planter filled with clay pebbles, which uses a 4 gallon reservoir and an air pump to circulate the water and nutrients. Measuring at just 12" by 12", it doesn't take a lot of room, and can be easily moved to new locations as desired. Priced at about $50.

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Windowfarms are a modular growing system designed to go, where else, in your windows. The columns mount to the windowsill or hang from plant hooks, and include an automated pump and watering system. Each column measures about four feet high, but only about 6" wide (without the plants), so a series of four could easily fit in front of a standard window. This four-column system is priced at about $400.

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Click & Grow

Click and grow system being unboxed

Seiya Ishibashi / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The Click & Grow system is described as an "electronic smartpot", and the pot itself includes the electronics, sensors, batteries, pump and water reservoir. Into the smartpot go "plant cartridges", which include the seeds, plant nutrients, and software for growing that particular plant. Priced at $80 (which includes starter plant cartridge).

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The Volksgarden

For the ultimate in space-saving indoor hydroponics, the Omega Garden Volksgarden growing unit will fit up to 80 plants, which rotate around the light source. Although this unit isn't quite plug and play (you need to supply a reservoir, timer, rockwool planting blocks, and a light source), it does offer a substantial amount of growing space. Priced at about $2500.

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Emily's Garden System

This small system, measuring 6" h x 16" w x 24", has 6 individual planters above a 2 gallon reservoir. Emily's Garden includes everything seen here, including the air pump and pH test kit, and costs about $100.

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The Streamgarden

The Streamgarden is a small personal hydroponics system perfect for a desk or table. The system consists of two tanks, four plant pots (filled with clay pebbles), and a recirculating nutrient system. According to the makers, you only need to check the water level and refill it approximately once a week, and change out all of the water and nutrient solution every three months. Priced at about $120.