Ah, finally I get to write about my favorite gardening tools on the market – indoor herb kits.
Now before all you purists begin to send me hate-mail, please know that I still, to this very day, till my own land, plant my own seeds and grow my own herbs and vegetables outdoors; I haven’t embraced the future completely!
But let’s be honest: It’s generally more pleasant to grow fresh herbs without the sunburn or the bug bites. Having an indoor growing rig along with a companion outdoor garden maybe the dynamic duo that you’re missing in your life!
Alright, so herb gardening kits are exactly what they sound like: Kits that are pre-packaged with everything you need to get growing herbs right away. There are three different categories…
1.) Windowsill Herb Gardening Kits:
Take a wild guess where they go. These kits almost always come with germination bags, fiber soil (a specialty soil that maximizes oxygen absorption by up to three times), and some sort of durable potting; generally ceramic or plastic, but sometimes coconut coir (more on this later).
2.) Planter-Based Herb Gardening Kits (traditional kits)
Traditional kits come with either ceramic planters or pre-made mason jar set-ups which come with holes at the bottom for drainage or reusable material for self-watering. Almost all of these kits come with seeds and plant food.
3.) Hydroponic Herb Gardening Kits
If you’re a gardener who loves dynamic gadgets, then you’ll LOVE these units. They’re relatively new and come loaded with features like watering and nutrient reminders, plus automatic full spectrum LED lighting.
Hydroponics is the science of growing plants without soil. These kits use pods that are either pre-seeded with herbs like rosemary, cilantro, oregano, and thyme or left empty for growing literally anything you want; herb enthusiasts seem to love the empty pods for growing rare or exotic herbs.
Most high-level industry standard hydroponic rigs that you would see in a commercial garden are extremely expensive and hard to set up.
They require sensors (sometimes multiple sensors), pumps, and more wires than a sane person should have to worry about. Smaller kits are the ideal entry into growing any vegetable or herb.
What to Look for in a Traditional Herb Gardening Kit?
Say it with me: Spacing, spacing, spacing! Seriously, spacing.
If you’re only wanting to grow a few herbs for the dinner table, you don’t need a multi-planter rig that takes up loads of space!
Before purchasing, make sure to pre-plan your planting ambitions – you may end up realizing that you need a full indoor herb garden to grow the number of herbs that you want.
We have a guide for that right here!
Keep in mind: Most traditional rigs weigh around 4 pounds; Amazon gives you the full product dimensions and information below the product description like most other retailers.
It’s also important to make sure your traditional kit has proper drainage, as some planters don’t come with holes at the bottom.
1.) So as cool as hydroponic kits are, you have to remember that they use electricity. In fact, some of the larger units use A LOT of electricity. Be mindful of the number of watts that a kit uses.
Powerful players, like the AeroGarden Bounty, will use up to 45 watts (not bad for such a sizable system), while smaller more portable units, like the Finether Smart Herb Kit, use around 5 watts because of the onboard LED lighting systems.
3.) The more elite hydroponic kits come with touch-screen control panels that alert you when it’s time to add water or nutrients, along with activating the onboard LED lighting for you; this is called automated grow, and it’s awesome!
Unfortunately, most hydroponic kits do not come with automated grow, instead, they generally have a very simple water >> lighting >> menu button system.
For those who are willing to spend a little extra cash, always go for automated grow, it’ll save you a lot of time and potential frustration (especially if you’re the type of person who constantly forgets to water your plants, like myself).
This was by no means an easy list to compile. Each year companies like AeroGrow, Click and Grow, and iRSE Garden come out with incredible kits that make the previous models look archaic.
Coming in at number one…
The Aerogarden Bounty is seriously the gold standard kit for indoor gardening. There is simply no other product that provides the same level of ease, plant-growth speed, and additional growing features for such a low price-point.
Not to mention, the Bounty’s LED lighting system only consumes 25 W, so you don’t need to worry about any sudden spikes in your electricity bill.
This really is the perfect kit for both the herb enthusiast who geeks out over hydroponic growing and the technologically unsavvy beginner who just wants to grow herbs within a reasonable time frame.
For roughly $100 less, AeroGrow offers the best hydroponics kit for the price point:
Automatic grow is not usually offered within this price range, but AeroGrow makes good with an easy to understand LCD control panel which reminds you when to water and add food.
Oh, and yes, the AeroGarden Harvest has automated lights. This is by far the most powerful system that you can buy for under $120.
The Best Indoor Herb Kits for Beginners
Alright, newbies gather around: For less than $80 you can get started growing all the herbs you want in this 2 pod, inexpensive and efficient iRSE model with LED grow light. It’s perfect for apartments and small spaces and also designed for those who frequently travel.
The AIBIS is a little less expensive than the iRSE system, but still packs a powerful punch. At first, I was fairly skeptical about smaller grow kits like this. I just assumed that they were un-practical and too small for growing. My mind was changed after seeing a friend and fellow gardener’s basil yields sprout within roughly thirty days.
Beginners will also find the automatic watering and lighting modes useful.
NOTE: Unlike the iRSE system, this kit does not come with seed pods.
The Click and Grow Smart Garden 9 is one of the most portable 9 pod kits that you can buy at this price range. It has an innovative and very compact full spectrum LED light setup that works well with the product’s sleek design.
The Aerogarden 7 is similiar to the bounty, but without the advanced LCD screen and automatic grow options. It grows up to 7 plants at one time and for the price point, could make for an optimal entry into hydroponic growing.
The Best Windowsill Herb Garden Kits
If you’re not looking to invest in a hydroponics kit, then you’re next best bet is the windowsill or traditional herb garden set-up.
This kit does not use traditional soil; instead, you get 10 coconut coir growing disks.
Coconut coir or coconut fiber is a soilless growing alternative to traditional dirt soil.
1.) It holds onto nutrients better than dirt soil and is lighter, allowing for more oxygen to reach the plant’s roots.
2.) Only needs occasional nutrient watering.
3.) Promotes quick and healthy plant growth.
You’ll also receive 10 coconut coir planting pots which are remarkably sturdy and light-weight. I much prefer and highly recommend coconut coir over ceramic pots.
Although this is certainly not the most technologically advanced product on our list, the homemade feel of this kit will really win you over.
The hand-crafted pine planting box feels extremely sturdy and frankly, I love supporting small businesses.
It comes with 5 different herb seeds and a bag of wonder-soil that just needs to be watered daily.
And those are our top picks. Have you tried any of these kits? Do you love them, do you hate them? Let us know!
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Thanks for reading.