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The Hydroponic Garden: An Indoor Garden System

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What is a hydroponic garden? If you’re new to gardening, the Gardym is an easy indoor garden system that will help you get started growing vegetables indoors.

I love gardening, and every year I get a bit sad as I clean up my summer garden and prepare it for winter. Fresh fruits and vegetables are DELICIOUS and I have yearned for a way to grow vegetables, at least lettuce, indoors. Unfortunately, we don’t have any good windows that get sun in the summer and we don’t have a lot of extra space. Setting up my own DIY hydroponics system seemed overwhelming for a beginner.

When a friend recommended that I try the Gardyn, I was intrigued. It’s an hydroponic indoor garden system that comes with everything you need: pods with seeds, a pump that circulates the water through the system, and lighting. I didn’t need to figure ANYTHING out. I could just plug it in and get started. And it has worked GREAT. We’ve regularly been getting fresh salad and I’m even growing some lavender to transplant to my garden this Spring.

I’m going to talk about what the Gardyn hydroponic system does, how to manage it, and what I like about it.


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What is a Hydroponic Garden?

A hydroponic garden is a garden where the plants are grown in water and there is no soil. This reduces the number of pests you can have, it reduces some of the mess, and if setup properly, it can allow you to grow more produce in less space.

With traditional gardening in nature, the soil provides the nutrients used to help plants grow. When we garden in containers, we add special soil meant for containers to help feed our plants. With the hydroponic garden, we are adding nutrients to the water. This helps the plants grow.

There’s a similar method of gardening called aquaponic gardening that uses fish and other critters inside the water to help fertilize the plants. This is really amazing as well, but those systems can take up a lot more room and produce less because fish need a lot of space. For example, I saw a family who turned an old indoor pool into a huge aquaponics system and they raise tilapia in the pool, grow fruits and veggies instead, and have chickens living in the indoor area. It’s amazing, just not practical for everyone. I LOVE the idea of aquaponics, but it’s simply not practical for our home.

For small spaces, hydroponic garden systems allow people in small spaces- even apartments- to grow their own fresh produce.

This one garden system could probably produce enough lettuce for our family, but I think I could easily fit a second system to the right of it if I wanted to double production. Previously a small cabinet took up most of this space.

Gardyn 1.0 with produce growing in it. The garden system takes up about half of the space that a cabinet took up before I replaced it. I think I could fit two systems in this space.

Gardyn 1.0 and 2.0 Indoor Garden Systems

What I love about these systems is that they allow anyone to easily grow their own produce indoors, particularly items like lettuce. The app gives the user lots of notifications about using the system, including tips on how to harvest the plants and when to add the powder.

The system comes with everything you need to get started including:

  • Attached lights
  • Two small cameras that are attached to the lights
  • Hardware to mount the system to the wall to prevent tipping
  • Water pump to circulate water
  • A set of pods to start out with
  • An app to help tell you when to clean or refill your tank.

You can buy a membership where the company sends you cubes each month to plant. These can be somewhat pricey, but DO make it easier. Once you get a better understanding of how hydroponics works, you can reuse empty cubes to plant your own seeds in fresh rockwool.

yCovers, the pink covers that I have on my plants, are added after your seedling grows. They help keep light off the rockwool and prevent algae growth on the medium.

yCovers over rockwool in a Gardyn 1.0 hydroponics system. This prevents algae growth on the rockwool.

Fans are important to help circulate the air which helps strengthen the plants when they grow, to blow away pests, and to help pollinate fruiting plants.

Setting up the Gardyn 1.0

Setup was fairly easy. When you first get started, you put your tubes together, fill the tank, and add your pump and lights. The lights take a few minutes to go on after you plug them in so don’t be surprised if they blink.

You can remove the cardboard cover from each pod that you plan to use, then pop the pods onto their tubes. Ideally, you should save a few pods and cover the tube holes using the included covers. This gives you more space for larger plants like tomatoes which will take up more space.

Your system will not circulate water all day, but it schedules watering sessions a few times a day.

You DO NOT add nutrients right away. Once your seedlings start appearing, you want to add nutrients. At that point, any plant that hasn’t produced a seedling yet should be removed and set aside elsewhere to grow. Once the seedling sprouts, you can put it back in the garden system.

Once you have your Gardyn setup and you’re rotating plants consistently, you’ll want to start your seeds in a separate nursery area (a heat mat helps speed this up too) and wait to put them in your system until they sprout.

I use an old takeout container, but Gardyn sells a very pretty nursery that I’m tempted to buy, even though this works fine. It’s just SO much nicer looking.

If you’re consistently using and swapping out the plants, you can get a great system going where you’re producing a ton of fresh veggies!

Transplanting Pods to an Outdoor Garden

In some cases, you may want to move your pods into the outdoor garden. Plants will need to be hardened off first (you put them outside on warm days and get them used to the different climate). You can remove the plant and rockwool from the pods you can reuse the pod, or just plant the pod in the soil. The pods are biodegradable. Personally, I plan to transplant a bunch of lavender plants into my garden once the weather warms up. I’m hoping to save the pods to reuse, however.

The plants tend to produce some amazing root systems that you’ll see as you pull the pods out. I find this fascinating, particularly where my swiss chard plant produced pink roots.

Gardyn Pod with roots coming out.
This is a lettuce plant that I used up for salads. You can see the fantastic root system it made though!

Reusing Pods

Pods can be reused. Once your plant is used up (usually you can harvest lettuce a few times before it’s spent), you can dispose of the used rockwool in the compost, then clean the pod. You can buy extra rockwool and add your own seeds to it.

Empty Gardyn Pods with old rockwool and roots from the expired plants.

This is a great way to save money once you understand how the system works. It’s also a fun way to experiment with other types of plants in the system.

Just keep in mind that you CAN’T grow some types of plants in this system, aka watermelon isn’t probably going to work well.

Pest Control in an Indoor Garden System

You CAN get pests in an indoor garden system. If you have issues with fruit flies or gnats, you can use a simple fly and bug trap like this to control them. I need one of those for my indoor potted plants (in soil), but my Gardyn hasn’t had any issues with pests yet.

YouTube Review of the Gardyn 1.0

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Gardyn indoor hydroponics system with the first pods partially grown. There's a white clip on fan hanging from the top support bar, and a normal household fan on the floor in front of it.

Web Story: Easy Indoor Gardening with the Gardyn System

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