How often do you throw out limp lettuce from the fridge, usually when you need it, right? Same goes for wilted peppers and bruised tomatoes.
One way to have fresh veg is to grow your own. There are a couple of ways to do that, either outside in the backyard or indoors.
Outside growing is seasonal and, anyway, this option is not open to you if you live in an apartment.
Regardless of where you live you can always create your counter-top kitchen garden with any one of the indoor garden hydroponic systems we feature in this post. And forget the seasons - you can grow your stuff all year round in one of these neat space-saving machines.
And things sprout quickly in these devices - it's claimed plants will grow up to five times faster than those grown in soil. And it's all done naturally - no chemicals or GMO needed!
Could be quite satisfying to cultivate some of your own food by making something of a hobby out of it. The kids might be keen too to get those green fingers to work! The miracle of photosynthesis taking place right there in your kitchen!
We found five of the most well-liked models to present to you.
You can fit them into any spare small space around your cabinet tops near a power source. Keep in mind that the lights will be only quite a while if you're using it during the day. So you may want to position it where it won't be a distraction.
They're stylish and won't look out of place in any kitchen - in fact, they're something of a feature in themselves as they add a splash of cover in the work area.
No problem to set up, easy to control and they don't take up much of your time in maintenance.
For those keen gardeners who might, as the years roll on, find the work outdoors more and more difficult, this little internal green patch might be some consolation when the time comes and they can't manage toil outside.
We've chosen units priced to suit different pockets. Apart from the initial outlay, they are energy efficient and costs only pennies to run each day.
Keep in mind that, for the outlay, you'll be harvesting fresh produce year in year out. Think of the money you'll save at the grocery store for green stuff.
All the models are big scorers in the ratings - we've picked only 4 plus grades awarded by many satisfied users.
Every machine displayed in this post has a solid one-year warranty that includes the lighting. From time to time some of the devices are offered with free shipping. Click on any image or link to check them out.
In comes in two models and five colors. With such a selection, there shouldn't be a problem for anyone who wants to harmonize it with their home decor.
We've featured the Elite version in stainless steel finish in this post. Prices will vary according to type and color.
Doesn't need much room -, it's only 11" wide x 8" deep x 15" tall. It has a 12" height clearance for growth. Shouldn't be much trouble to find a suitable area even in a small kitchen.
The LED lamp hood is a full spectrum 20W light arrangement that efficiently synthesizes the nutrients from the water tank.
The light function sets when you first plug the machine into the 110V mains and that becomes the "on" time every day from then on.
Sensors turn the device on and off automatically. They decide the light exposure time required as from the built-in timer that controls precisely how much light your plants need. When they have had the right amount the light will switch off.
There is a low-water warning so that you can refill when needed and a sensor advises when feeding is needed by showing the number of days until the next feed.
There are really clear instructions on how to set it up and get the best out of the grower.
It has proved to be popular given the 1000 plus ratings which average a score of 4.3 stars. One reviewer was so pleased with his crops
That's a good enough reason to feel confident about buying this model - that and a 1-year guarantee and not forgetting the Herb seed kit that comes free with it!
Looking through the reviews it seems to be especially good at growing herbs. Makes sense given its petite size - although one customer was growing cucumbers and tomatoes in his!
There's a choice of three colors - black, red or white - we highlight the latter in this article. So you can color-code your device to your decor if that's important to you.
It's tidy size at 11" x 4.5" x 10" means you can fit it into some very small space. And, as it weighs only around 12 lbs max when filled with water, it could be safely placed on most well-supported wall shelves.
It's a 10W lighting set-up that gives the high-yielding result. These LED lights lie in a multi-color arrangement to optimize plant development.
It operates with a simple control panel and sensors manage the light timings for optimum cultivation results. There is an override button for the light. It has a low-nutrient alert and it has a viewing panel so let you keep an eye on the water level.
No problem to set up and you can be into your indoor gardening in next to no time!
It has been scored highly for performance with most of the numerous reviewers. One user offered a tip on the mix of plants - that bigger-leafed or taller plants may shade smaller ones and stunt their growth as a result.
While some people found it a bit noisy, others didn't mention that as a problem - we guess it depends on how sensitive you are to sounds. Someone suggested the noise level rises as the water level drops.
It carries the usual Aerogarden warranty which is some comfort when buying for the first time.
We've show cased the sage model out of a choice of three colors - the others are black and white. This helps to show how this device can be a color-coordinated feature as well as a practical aid in your kitchen.
It's neat looking and takes up little space - it measures around 10.5" x 6" x 11". Slim, but it's still a six-pod counter-top grower giving you all-year-round supply of fresh fruit and veg of your choice.
The slim light fitting generates 20W of power-efficient LED lights to create the artificial sunlight crucial to healthy and fast growth. And there are no clouds to obscure the light, unless your kitchen is constantly steamy!
It has a 15-hour optimum light cycle setting for maximum growing performance. There is a auto on/off function for the lights so you don't need to worry about when to switch off and on again.
With fully automated controls, it warns you about low water levels in the reservoir and tells you when to add the nutrients - it blinks red at you until you obey - clever little device!
The usual Aerogarden freebie of herbs is included and it comes with enough plant nutrients for a whole season.
With the easy set-up completed and the pods in place you're ready to start your career in home cultivation.
The reviews on this unit speak for themselves. Of over 1500 comments, the majority were really affirmative as it scored a whacking 4.4 out of 5.
The Aerogarden year's guarantee applies to this model.
It’s a very basic set up as you would expect for a system that costs less the half of most hydroponic units.
There’s a whole family of petite models from this manufacturer – all at prices that shouldn’t deter those starting out.
The pots are not supplied – only the tray and lighting arrangement. This is convenient if you want to use your own small decorative planters to match your kitchen décor. The model comes only in white finish.
Altogether this is a perfect set up for keeping a handy supply of herbs or salad as you prepare your recipes.
There is an “advanced model” available at a premium if you’re looking for something more technical.
It doesn’t take up a lot of space measuring around 18 inches by 8 inches.
You determine the growing height up to just over 17 inches tall at full stretch. So there’s plenty of room for the bushier plants.
It uses the proven 20W full-spectrum lighting treatment for maximum plant development as you would expect from any model from this company. It feeds from a power range of 100 to 240 volts to give a safe 24V usage.
There isn’t a dimmer switch and the light spectrum can’t be changed. One reviewer reported that it has a “pleasing white light” and that it looks great on the kitchen counter.
The timing cycle is automatic with 16 hours of light which gives plenty of time for the plants to photosynthesize.
The system has a switches off for a period of 8 hours. No need to worry about turning the lights on or off!
Simple installation – it takes only three steps. No tools are needed to put it together.
It has a good buyer rating from a lot of satisfied users.
Not surprising given its cost and that it has a two-year warranty.
It's not bulky though and takes up a modest footprint which means that it will sit neatly on your worktop space. This unit is finished in a satin black color
You can grow 9 plants each up to 24" tall at any one time. Plants grow quickly and you can expect to pick them in around a month or so.
The light fitting outputs 30W LED full-spectrum energy efficiency to encourage speedy cultivation of your flora. This fast growth sequence means that you can look forward to regular crops over the year from your initial planting.
The well laid out high res. control panel is operated by touch and includes access to handy gardening tips. You can also access through the panel a quick guide to setting up your first garden.
The on/off lighting sequence is controlled automatically and the panel indicates when more water and feeding are needed.
There is a useful "vacation" feature which allows you to set the cycle to repeat while you're away for a few days.
The water basin is large reducing the amount of times it needs replenished and it's simple to refill through the port easily accessed on the top.
It has a impressive score of 4.5 stars given by several hundred customers, most of which were very happy with their purchase.
It has the expected guarantee of one year and the deal includes the free 9-pod seed kit as well as the liquid plant food for your beginner's garden.
This free cultivation kit is covered by a 100% germination guarantee which is reassuring for first-time gardeners.