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Home gardens are wondrous. They keep you connected to the earth, supply you with fresh vegetables and herbs for your meals, and — best of all — give you peace of mind that what you're eating is fresh and free of chemicals and pesticides. Of course, for most of us, a full outdoor garden is but a pipe dream — which is why we love gardens of the indoor variety. And, depending on your green thumb-ness, there are plenty of options for all levels of gardeners. But no matter which one you choose, when it's time to make dinner, you can have fresh herbs and veggies with just a few snips. Here, nine of the top-rated indoor herb gardens.
The AeroGarden Classic 6 takes its name from the fact that you can grow six herbs at a time. It contains a hydroponic system that suspends the plants in water, so there's no loose soil to spill all over your counter, but that's not the only hi-tech spec. It's also topped with a full-spectrum LED light that can be programmed to turn on and off automatically, so you don't need to place it near a window, and comes with a dropper for nutrients to keep it healthy and growing. It's perfect for those who are new to gardening and looking for a very low-maintenance option.
This sleek planter is designed to hold up to three specially designed pods that are filled with seeds and a special soil formulation pre-packed with nutrients, so there's no need to add anything else throughout the grow cycle. An overhead lamp provides lighting via LED bulbs, and the tank self-waters the pods via capillary action, making the entire grower a fairly hands-off affair. The starter kit comes with a trio of basil pods, which honestly, might be more basil than you need. Thankfully, Click and Grow offers over 50 different seeds, including red peppers, pea pods, mini tomatoes, and a ton of herbs.
Although more low-tech than some of its competitors, it's much more affordable as a result. Planters' Choice gives you four biodegradable growing pots, soil discs, seed packets, bamboo plant markers, and an herb grinder. To successfully grow plants with this kit, you'll need to keep everything watered and have a space in the path of direct sunlight, of course.
This clever herb garden is one part grower, one part fish tank, and one part conversation starter. Visually, it's as interesting as any herb garden is likely to get: It literally is a fish tank that grows microgreens on the lid. But that's not all, it's described as an "aquaponics" system, which means the fish actually fertilize the plants with their nutrient-rich poop, while the plants in turn clean the water. It comes with wheatgrass and radish sprout seeds to start, though it says you can experiment with other kinds of greens after the tank's ecosystem has been established.
Mindful Design strikes a balance between the hi-tech nature of an AeroGarden or Click and Grow and the completely free-form approach of a simple clay pot and handful of seeds. This indoor herb garden is a minimalist design that accommodates up to three small pots, plus a full-spectrum LED light on a timer to simulate sunlight. And because it doesn't require any special pods or planters, you can grow anything you like by buying your own seeds.
This Herb Garden Tub is great if you're looking for something that's attractive but understated — it looks like an elongated planter, and at 14 inches long, it doesn't take up a lot of room, nor does it include grow lights, so there's nothing to plug in. That said, it's still a hybrid grower; it's hydroponic, but the seeds sit in "Fiber Soil," which is described as a soil made from straw-like fibers that provide three times more oxygen than traditional potting soil can deliver. Plus, it features a water level indicator to let you know at a glance when you need to add water. The kit comes with the planter and 6 quarts of soil but doesn't include any seeds to get you started, so you'll need to get those separately.
Some growers promise ease of use — no watering, nutrients, or sunlight needed — while others, like Garden Republic's Indoor Herb Garden, offer something else entirely: a breathtakingly beautiful indoor (or outdoor, for that matter) garden that manages to package the old-time feel of gardening into a single starter kit. The package includes an actual wooden grow box, in which you get to place four burlap grow bags with attractive bamboo plant markers. The burlap bags have their own waterproof linings to keep the box from becoming a wet and soil-y mess, and it also includes shears, potting soil, and four kinds of seeds: cilantro, English thyme, parsley, and basil.
Of course, this is a very DIY approach to herb gardening. There's no lighting or self-watering, so you'll benefit from having a bit of a green thumb if you want to set this wooden grow box near your kitchen window.
If you're looking for an inexpensive entry into a complete hydroponic grower, the Hoctor model offers many of the same features you'll find in more expensive versions but for way less. It consists of a tub, full-spectrum grow lights on an overhead arm, and pods for up to two plants at once. The LED lighting runs on a timer, so you don't need to micromanage the light cycle your herbs receive, and the base includes a low-water indicator so you know when it's time to refill.
This starter garden is exactly what it sounds like: A great choice for anyone who wants to start gardening, rather than just let some sort of robot light and watering system raise herbs on their behalf. It includes five compostable peat pots, wood-burned plant markers (with space to write in the herb name and date planted), soil discs, and seeds (including basil, coriander cilantro, parsley, sage, and thyme). Plus, the best part is the company's story: It's family-owned and operated, located on a 40-acre farm in Oregon where they create all the kits using all organic components, from the soil to the seeds.