Things to Consider Before Buying an Indoor Grow System

When looking for the right indoor grow system, there are many factors to consider: the size and space required, the energy required, the degree of self-regulation, and more. Do you want to grow some herbaceous plants, or do you want to grow large fruiting plants like tomatoes?

Also, different plants have different needs. In general, the larger or more complex a plant is, the more light, water, and nutrients it needs. You might be able to grow small herbs that take full advantage of the natural light from your windows—but that might be a different story if you want to grow tomatoes or eggplants.

Be clear about what you need to pick out the right produce, and think carefully about what you want to grow and what you need to do.

1. The size and space of the indoor grow system

Space is naturally an issue when growing indoors. Consider where you will place your gardening unit – will it be freestanding, or on a counter? Is it a "tower" planter?

While most units benefit from built-in or supplemental LED lighting, place your plants near a window that receives plenty of sunlight and can also provide some natural light to your garden. It's also a good idea to place this unit near your kitchen, which may be the ultimate destination for your growing.

2. The vitality of the indoor grow system

You want to make sure that the energy your unit requires doesn't outweigh the sustainability benefits of growing at home. Admittedly, this can be difficult to calculate exactly.

However, for economic and environmental purposes, you'll want to know how much power your unit needs, if any, and roughly how much it will cost (a handy tool from the Department of Energy can help).

If your home relies on solar panels or other green or self-generated energy, that will be another factor in evaluating your indoor grow system footprint.

3. Automation of indoor grow system

Many of the growers here are largely self-regulating; once set up, they automatically water and provide nutrients to the plants, allowing you to worry less about the health of the plants. Therefore, you need to consider your lifestyle and the needs of your growers.

Do you go away for days at a time? Do you have gardening skills and a keen eye for your plants' needs -- or is automation necessary for you?

4. The growth method of indoor grow system

There are many ways to grow indoors, from potting a small plant in a pre-prepared soil mix and placing it on a windowsill, to some of the more complex hydroponic systems investigated here. All have different capabilities and different requirements.

For the uninitiated, hydroponics is a growing method in which plant roots are grown directly in a nutrient liquid root medium, without soil as a medium. The ecological benefits can be uniquely significant for plants grown hydroponically, which overall use less water and require less space than conventionally grown crops.

Clipping some herb sprigs, sticking them in a glass of water, and watching them uproot is as easy as hydroponics—but many of the systems mentioned here are more finely tuned to work for your Plants maintain optimal moisture and nutrient levels.

There are many different methods of hydroponic growing. These technologies include the wick system and the nutrient membrane technology, where the wick system draws water from the nutrient/nutrient tank to the roots through a wick, where only the bottom of the plant roots are submerged in the water/nutrient solution while the top is allowed to aerate.

Aquaculture is an innovative form of hydroponics that incorporates fish into the growing process, using fish waste as fertilizer. Finally, a particularly unique system is called aeroponics, which suspends the roots of the plants in the air and "sprays" them with an optimal balance of water and nutrients at regular intervals.