The best hydroponic system for those starting out in hydroponics is obviously the one that is affordable and easy to use. Most people would love their own source of fresh lettuce in January, especially if they don't have much garden space outside.
But if you have never grown a hydroponic garden, you should start out with something relatively simple and low-cost. Then, once you get the hang of things and if time permits, you can go onto a more complicated system. Here are some of the simpler hydroponic systems to use:
The wick system is the simplest system, and one you can do yourself.
You'll need a container for your plants, a medium to hold the seeds/plants in place, such as vermiculite, some wick and a reservoir.
Fill the top container with your medium and place your seeds in it.
Then put one end of your wick in the medium and the other end in your reservoir, and fill the reservoir with growing solution.
The problem with this system is your plants don't get the oxygen they would with other systems, and usually the medium remains either too wet if you have small plants or too dry if you have larger plants. Of all hydroponic systems, the wick system is probably the least successful, so you are better off investing a little money for a better system.
The AeroGarden is a great and simple way to grow lettuce and herbs indoors.
is a great hydroponic system for those who want fresh herbs or lettuce year round, and especially in the winter.
The nice thing about this system is it has its own lighting system so you can keep this in a dark corner of your kitchen.
Plus, it has an alert system to let you know when it needs more water or nutrients. This system is virtually fool-proof and great for those who don't have a green thumb or for people living in apartments and who have no garden space.
Its only downside is it is small. You are limited mostly to herbs and lettuce with this system, but if you only want a small indoor garden, this could be just the ticket.
The General Hydroponics Eco Grower Max is an example of an ebb and flow system that can grow larger vegetables.
The next up in the ladder of complicity is the ebb and flow system, which is also known as the flood and drain system.
This is an active recovery system, meaning that about every 20 minutes, a
pump comes on and circulates nutrient solution around your plant's root
Once the nutrient solution reaches a certain level, the overflow tube drains the water back into the reservoir. This doesn't take much work to maintain and is the best hydroponic system for beginners who want to grow a larger selection of vegetables
The Aeroponic System is a bare root system where roots are suspended in midair. Because they receive a nutrient mist and constant oxygen, plants grow at a huge rate and produce a bountiful harvest. But because these systems are more difficult to maintain, they are for the advanced hydroponic gardener.
This helpful guide was written by two people who are now growing all their food using hydroponics.
After much trial and error, two hardy, self-reliant folk, Simon and Stella, are growing most of their food using hydroponics and have written an in-depth guide based on what they have learned.
This helpful guide includes complete plans for five hydroponic mini gardens, detailed instructions for the five most user-friendly, yet prolific full-sized hydroponics systems available, instructions on how to build a Growbox-Bubbler Unit combo, and maintenance schedules, a mixing chart, equipment lists and resources.
Learn How Hydroponics Works