Why Indoor Gardening?
Aromatherapy. Zen. Relaxation. Harmony.
Well, not really. That’s not the reason to take up indoor gardening.
Personally, I love seeing greenery in the house, I love fresh fragrant herbs and I feel great after eating a healthy salad.
But I can’t sell that.
If you’re pragmatic like me, there’s one surefire way to grab your attention.
You need to see the numbers.
So I did the math: Salads are expensive. Groceries are expensive.
I’m not even talking about gourmet NYC salad bars that charge my wife $14 for her “light” lunch.
Even at budget restaurants like McDonald’s, you’re spending $5 a pop.
After a year of eating one single healthy salad per day, you’ve spent nearly $2,000 at the cheapest estimate!
So why indoor gardening?
Because your salad is costing you 10x more money per year than it should be.
It’s true that there are mood-boosting psychological benefits of having some vegetation inside your home environment. But again, not my expertise.
Let’s stick with all the money you could be saving. But first, check out some key differences between traditional and hydroponic indoor gardening systems.
Why Hydroponic Gardening?
No Mess. No Maintenance. Just Fresh Off the Vine Harvest.
Growing crops indoors is rewarding, but there are some challenges when growing vegetables using pots and soil. Hydroponic gardens, and particularly DAK’s urbanherb Hydroponic Kit, really simplifies the entire process from seed to sprout to harvest.
And a side note about hydroponics. It’s not a passing fad.
It’s a serious technological and agricultural breakthrough with far reaching implications for sustainable farming not only here on Earth, but even in Space.
NASA has been researching hydroponics for decades and it’s sure to be a vital component in future human space exploration. Here’s what they have to say about it on the official NASA website:
Aeroponic growing systems provide clean, efficient, and rapid food production. Crops can be planted and harvested in the system year round without interruption, and without contamination from soil, pesticides, and residue. Since the growing environment is clean and sterile, it greatly reduces the chances of spreading plant disease and infection commonly found in soil and other growing media.
Hydroponic growth is the future. Down here on Earth hydroponic farming methods are being implemented in water-poor countries because of how much water it conserves.
Without any soil getting in between the water and plant roots, the roots absorb water 10x more efficiently than with traditional farming. So a single drop of water in a hydroponic system is the same as ten drops into the soil. That’s huge.
Ok, back to exploring the main benefits of hydroponic vs traditional gardening.
Hydroponic Gardening vs. Traditional Gardening
Cleaner. Faster. Fungus resistant.
Both before and after your harvest, hydroponic gardening is way cleaner than .
Planting your vegetables and herbs is virtually mess-free. No digging, no mess.
But here’s where it really matters.
Have you ever needed to soak basil in water to get all that sand out of the leaves?
It didn’t even seem that dirty to the naked eye, but boy is it filthy!
Not with hydroponically grown basil. The growth is so squeaky clean you can graze on it.
So as soon as my pizza comes out of the oven, I snip a big lush basil leaf and place it right on the steaming fresh pie.
That’s what I call aromatherapy!
Hydroponic gardening is also better at pest control, without using chemical pesticides.
True, even a traditional indoor garden is safe from rodents, rabbits and deer.
(So I hope.)
But what about bugs?
The bugs you find in leafy greens like lettuce and kale aren’t buzzing about before finding a nice lettuce head to call home. They lurk in the soil and find their way deep in to the leaves. Even indoor soil-based plants are prone to infestation. Bugs will lay eggs in the soil that don’t hatch until after you’ve invited them inside.
A quick Google search returns all remedies for indoor plant infestations, and that’s really not a problem you want to have.
With hydroponic based growth, there’s no soil to begin with. You’re totally bug free from seed to table, without needing to use any harmful chemicals.
Engineered to Maximize Crop Output
DAK’s urbanherb is designed better than the rest by splitting up the planting surface area in a 75%-25% grid.
Even though you have 24 planting holes, 12 of them are spread out across 75% of the surface area, while the remaining 12 are condensed into the remaining 25% corner of the grid.
There are two ways you can use this layout for an effective growing strategy:
1- Your 12 primary plants have space to grow wide, leafy and full. The back 12 spaces are used to cultivate new seedlings. As soon as you’ve exhausted the lifecycle of one of your bigger plants, you already have another crop ready to take its place. That’s less time you’ll spend waiting for a yield, and more time enjoying the fruits (vegetables) of your labor.
2- Use the widely spaced planting holes for leafy vegetables like lettuce, kale, or on-the-vine veggies like cucumbers, and the more condensed spaces for herbs that do just fine in the smaller space, like basil, rosemary peppermint and thyme.
3 Main Steps to Getting a Great Hydroponic Harvest
Sure, there’s years of research behind hydroponic gardening, but the good news is that you really don’t need to know any of it to start growing your own herbs, fruits and vegetables.
1- You place your seeds into a growing medium (let’s call it a seedling sponge) that’s sitting in water.
2- In 10-14 days you’ll have little plant shoots with a small root extending beneath the sponge. That’s how you’ll know it’s time to place them into the urbanherb container.
3- Mix the liquid nutrients with the water and fill the reservoir up.
The built in pump oxygenates your water, and you can leave your plants alone for up to a month during these early growth stages. No need to water the plants, they’ll simply drink from the reservoir and absorb all the required nutrients directly from the water. And when the reservoir is low on water, the LED indication light will let you know when it’s time to refill.
The LED lights are auto set on a 14 hour light cycle for optimal plant growth. You can manually turn the light on and off if you’re an experienced gardener, but we’ve found that 14 hours of light is perfect for most herbs and veggies that want nothing more than to soak up the sun.
That’s all there is to it.
Harvest 2 Salads per Day
OK, in this setup I use three urbanherb kits, not just one, but it’s really cool once you’ve got it up and running.
Here’s how you do it:
urbanherb kit 1: Lettuce. The entire box.
urbanherb kit 2: Cucumbers.
urbanherb kit 3: Half cherry tomatoes, half peppers.
Within two to three months, you’ll have enough produce to make yourself two plates of salad per day.