You have to give total respect to the DIY types who can look at a picture of an indoor garden, then design and build their own. But if your know-how is limited or your time is tight, a kit can be the fastest and easiest way to get growing. You can start with a system that's small enough to fit in your kitchen or go as big as a walk-in closet. Many kits come with lighting and even ventilation, so you really can just pop open the box and set up. Check out the variety of options available.
You can pick a steady harvest of salad greens and herbs year-round from a compact container – less than a foot long and a foot tall – with a nutrient reservoir and pump built-in. A small adjustable-height LED light is attached. The lights and pump are turned on and off by a timer, so you need only make sure to refill the reservoir and eat the crop.
For a few larger plants, a series of bucket-size containers linked by tubing is easy to manage and takes up a minimum of floor space. Each bucket has its own small nutrient reservoir, while a pump circulates the fertilizer solution from a large container. In this set up, clay pebbles or perlite work well as the media. You could use a light soil mix, if you prefer. Expanding this system is easy – add more buckets and another (or a bigger) pump. Timers are not typically included in these kits.
Kits for a fully enclosed growing space start as small as 2-feet-wide by 2-feet-long by 4-feet-tall. That makes them small enough to set up in an out-of-the-way corner or inside a closet. An easy-to-assemble metal frame is enveloped in a reflective liner that blocks outside illumination so you have total control of the light cycle. Hangers for light fixtures and ports for ventilation inside complete the chamber. Lights, fans and air filters are often included.