I’d love to cook with more fresh herbs, greens, and veggies. But I could use a little help in the horticulture department.
Let’s just say that I’m not in the green thumb club. If you’re growing beautiful herbs in quaint pots, or houseplants that cascade down your fireplace mantel to the floor, I’m jealous. I can’t even keep a succulent happy, and those guys are iron-clad.
Maybe you could use some help too: Do you live in a tiny city apartment with tricky sunlight? Or just don’t have enough time to tend to the needs of another living thing in your life?
Farming and gardening are actually super technical processes, even if you’re going about them organically with little more than sun, seed, and soil. Add things like LED lights and hydroponics to the picture, and now you’ve got ways to grow herbs practically anywhere—even tucked into your galley kitchen.
Ready to give your at-home herb and veggie cultivation a major upgrade? Check out these cool solutions:
1. Adopt a pet who will help your garden grow
Back to the Roots’ Water Garden grows wheatgrass, herbs or other microgreens well, and you’ll be ready to add them to your salad or smoothie in just 10 days. This indoor gardening solution does require being open to adopting a new pet, but the fish don’t require much care taking, especially when they’re in a self-cleaning tank. All you’ll need to keep this ecosystem is fish food—the closed loop aquaponic system uses the fish waste to fertilize the herbs and microgreens that are growing on top, and the plants clean the water.
2. Grow marjoram and mint in modular pods
Never mind the weather, this indoor garden is ready to grow everything from bell peppers to snap peas right in your kitchen. There are 40 pesticide-free options to enjoy so you’ll never tire of harvesting or snipping your own produce. Pop a pre-seeded plant capsule into the Click & Grow, fill the unit with water, and plug it in. The capsules use a patented soil that maximizes growth without jeopardizing quality. The Smart Garden 3 will grow a more modest crop, while the Smart Garden 9 holds up to nine pods for a formidable bumper crop.
- Get a Click & Grow Smart Garden 3 for $99.90
- Get a Click & Grow Smart Garden 9 on Amazon for $199.95
3. Start from seeds in stainless steel
The AeroGarden Harvest Elite indoor growing gadget includes a gourmet herb seed pod kit, so you’ll be growing Genovese basil, dill, Thai basil, and more in no time. While you’re waiting for fresh herbs, you can admire its stainless steel finish, which says “pro” just like the rest of your kitchen design. Salad greens, vegetables, and even flowers are easy to cultivate in this smart garden, which uses advanced hydroponics (soil-free) and LED lights to maximize photosynthesis (ah, that takes me back to high school science!). An easy-to-use control panel lets you know when to add the patented nutrients for an optimal harvest.
4. Go big or get stuck with dried herbs
The Urban Cultivator is an elegant, high-end indoor gardening system that lets you grow organic microgreens, herbs, and veggies in a chic wine-fridge-sized appliance. At $2,499, it’s a pretty big commitment, but the speed and volume are unparalleled: Microgreens are ready to eat within just one week of planting. I like that you can install it under your kitchen counters, or use it as a freestanding unit with a butcher-block top. If you're remodeling your kitchen and have room in your budget, this could be a great way to ensure you always have fresh herbs and veggies.
5. Roll your way to a homegrown taco night
Seedsheet lets you roll-out a garden by ultilizing unique, dissolvable seed pods arranged in a weed-blocking sheet. It’s easy to roll out your Seedsheet in one of their kitchen-friendly indoor kits, complete with multi-spectrum LED light on an adjustable stand that rises up as your garden grows. Curated seed kits like “Grow Your Own Caprese” will grow everything you need to make the popular salad (minus the buffalo mozzarella) in one container, or my personal Tuesday-night favorite, the “Taco Kit.”
- Get the Seedsheets Herb Kit on Amazon for $59.99
- Get the Seedsheets Caprese Kit on Amazon for $59.99
- Get the Seedsheets Taco Kit on Amazon for $42.60
- Get the Seedsheets Cocktail Herb Kit on Amazon for $42.60
6. Take a page from the Jetsons' book
You won’t mind the Akarina 01 taking up space on your kitchen counter, especially when its hydroponic technology and LED grow lights yield you a bumper crop of herbs or greens for dinner. No need for soil means easy clean-up, and the LED lights means you don’t need sunlight and it’s energy-efficient to boot. Three segmented growing trays can be easily removed for seeding and/or cleaning after a growing cycle. And its space-age design will fit right in with your kitchen decor, now that you’re a farmer from the future. Want something even more unique? Check out the Akarina 14.
7. Grow without sun, soil, or supervision
The SproutsIO countertop microgarden is a looker, and very space efficient. Plug it in, add water, pop in a (non-GMO) seed refill unit, and you’re on your way to growing your own personal produce… no sunlight or soil required. Hydroponic growing technology often found in large greenhouse farms now sits on your kitchen counter, and an onboard camera lets you to monitor the growth and health of your plant via the SproutsIO app. Due to it’s size, you won’t exactly have a bumper crop of tomatoes or basil at any given time, but the plants grow exceptionally fast, so you’ll be eating your greens in no time.
This planter is not yet available, but you can sign up for their mailing list to get notified when presales start. Check it out here.
8. Make the most of your leftovers and scraps
From Whirlpool’s innovation lab comes Zera, a composting contraption that turns food scraps into fertilizer within 24 hours. Its real superpower, however, is cutting back on your kitchen waste and keeping odors inside while it works its magic.
Just insert the Zera additive pack, then fill it with your coffee grounds, onion skins, and other kitchen scraps throughout the week. When it’s full, tap the button on start the transformation from the Zera app, and you’ll have fertilizer (AKA “black gold”) to spread on your lawn, perennials, or your houseplants.
Zera is not yet available, but when it does, you'll be able to get it from Williams-Sonoma. Sign up here for updates.
Prices are accurate at the time of publication, but may change over time.