A Beginner's Guide to Hydroponic Gardening

Hi there, Friends! Have you heard of hydroponic gardening? Simply put, this method allows you to grow plants--even fruits and veggies--without soil right from the convenience of your countertop! Today, I'll show you how easy it is to set up and grow an indoor hydroponic garden...

hydroponic gardening for beginners

To clarify, this is not a sponsored post. However, as someone who was slightly intimidated by hydroponics and has been pleasantly surprised, I wanted to share my happy experience with you! Given that we had the hottest summer I can ever remember in Texas and even my usually hardy mint has been a casualty, I was thrilled to find a climate-change-surviving option for fresh herbs, lettuce, and more. (I want to try strawberries, next!) Above, you can see the progression of one of the lettuces I planted from the first day to the 20th. This variety is called Red Sails--see the tiny reddish specks on the leaves? 

hydroponic gardening for beginners

You may remember last month I shared my newly set-up countertop hydroponic that I purchased during the Prime Day sale. I set it up on July 15 so today is exactly one month since my garden has been planted. 

hydroponic gardening for beginners

Above, you can see how I set up the inside of the tank step-by-step. For the exterior, the LED grow light panel slides onto the top of the bamboo stand. Once the seed pods are added to the basket, it rests on the bamboo base. Both the water tank and the light connect to the power switch. You don't need to worry about timing anything. The light and power run automatically 16 hours on and 8 hours off. The pump circulates off and on every 15 minutes. It makes a trickling noise similar to a small fountain which is quite nice! 

hydroponic gardening for beginners

If you browse Amazon, you will find lots of different countertop hydroponics--so much so that it can be a little overwhelming. After reading many reviews, I opted for this model. Although it isn't name brand, it had favorable reviews, and it is compatible with AeroGarden seed pods. I'm really pleased with the overall design. 

hydroponic gardening for beginners

I do have one late bloomer--doesn't every family?! 😉 While the other pods sprouted before the suggested time, the last to sprout was mint. It sprouted several days later than the recommended 6-10 days. Although the sprouts are tiny, the other plants had very small sprouts in the beginning so I feel confident it will catch up before long!

hydroponic gardening for beginners
Grow baby, grow! (Mint) 

Here are a few closer views of the herbs...

Thai basil, dill, and Genovese Basil

...and lettuce after 20 days growth.

hydroponic gardening for beginners
Genovese basil and Black Seeded Simpson heirloom lettuce 

Tips and what I've learned so far: 

*The grow light is very bright so consider that when you are deciding where to place your countertop garden
*Keep the adjustable light 3-5 inches from the tops of plants to encourage growth. 
*Lettuce grows quickly, so place it on the ends to allow it room to grow. 
*To avoid overcrowding, alternate a few unplanted pods, but cover the openings with the stickers that come with the garden. (You can also purchase them, here.
*Refill water as needed. (The pump will break if it runs dry.) 
*Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding feeding and monthly tank cleaning.
*It is not recommended that you grow fruits or large vegetables at the same time as herbs and lettuce. 

Below are links for the hydroponic garden, the herbs and lettuce pods I used, plus a few extras:

I really can't stress enough that the setup is easy and overall, it requires very little care. Even though I have watched the progress daily, it's hard to believe how fast it has grown--here's my first harvest at 3 weeks!

hydroponic gardening for beginners
This post contains pink affiliate links for your shopping convenience. See full disclosure here.

Since then, I've enjoyed homegrown lettuce in a few salads and fresh cut basil in several capreses. Last but not least, I want to give a shout out to my brother Ron for inspiring me.  If it weren't for seeing texted photos of his recent hydroponic success, I might have missed this rewarding new obsession! 

hydroponic gardening for beginners

SEPTEMBER UPDATE:  I'm happy to report that my hydroponic garden is thriving and the mint has completely caught up with the other plants! Check out my homemade refrigerator dill pickles, here!

hydroponic gardening

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Thanx for exposing me to something I am totally unfamilar with! I used to put red sails lettuce seedlings as row markers where I planted other types of lettuce seeds! I have also put it in with my annuals as the red/green leaves were such a different color!

  2. Wow! You had huge growth in only a month. Maybe even I could do this. My son whispers to the flowers and plants that I buy at the store. As we head out to the car he says, without fail, "I'm sorry, but you're going to die. My mom, well, she's gonna kill you. She can't help it. She doesn't mean to be a serial killer!" It's true though. I kill everything! I do have one little bonsai tree that's hanging on. I'm not sure how long the poor thing has left though lol. Thanks for sharing on Crafty Creators!


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