You care about what’s on and in the food you eat, right? It matters what you feed your family, which is one of the best reasons ever for home gardening. Using hydroponics gardening methods is a great way to grow vegetables in small spaces. It eliminates the use of messy dirt and potting soil, and the need for weeding or mulching. Hydroponics systems are adaptable to many configurations to fit available space. To choose a hydroponics growing kit that works best for you, consider available space and the amount and type of food you’d like to grow, whether an active or passive hydroponics system works best for you, and the time and effort you want to put into the project.

Available Space

This automated, self-contained LED light-equipped hydroponics system is perfectly sized for countertop or windowsill use. AeroGarden

Hydroponic growing systems work particularly well where garden space is limited. Some systems are configured vertically to further minimize the footprint on the ground. Others are completely self-contained and fit perfectly indoors on a window shelf. How large a garden you desire and the space available will help determine what kind of hydroponics growing system best fits your needs.

Active vs. Passive Systems

This hydroponic system comes as a kit, featuring a water pump and space-saving vertical configuration. DreamJoy

Active hydroponics systems rely on small electric pumps to circulate, and in some cases, oxygenate nutrient-laden water to the plant roots. Passive systems do not require electricity and work through managing the amount of water and air-exposed roots to enable oxygenation as well as nutrient absorption.

Available Time and Effort

This bucket-based system is simple to use and inexpensive to operate. Root Spa

If there’s one thing that’s true about hydroponics, it’s that there are as many different systems as there are hydroponics practitioners. The fact that the hydroponics community is full of Rube Goldbergs who are developing different systems shouldn’t keep you from using your own. Choose a starter kit designed for beginners and ease of use.