Hydroponic gardening is more than just a fad. Believe it or not, it’s perfectly possible to grow plants indoors without needing soil, and for many people, doing without any kind of muddy mess is a major boon. What’s more, some studies show that hydroponic gardening may prove to be healthier for our greens than traditional growing methods! But which hydroponic gardening methods work best in practice – and which system should you invest in between Lettuce Grow vs Gardyn?
In this guide, I’ll take you through what you need to know about both the Gardyn Home Kit and the Lettuce Grow Farmstand – and which options may appeal to you the most as a discerning houseplant aficionado!
Gardyn vs Lettuce Grow: Quick Summary
If you don’t have time to get through this guide right now, don’t worry – here are the key points you’ll need to know before going ahead and buying.
- You can grow up to 30 plants year round on a $32/month plan with Gardyn, which also gives you access to the service’s brilliant AI gardener app. Lettuce Grow also offers a subscription from $52/month for 30 plants outdoors or $92/month indoors due to the requirement of additional glow rings.
- Alternatively you can opt for Lettuce Grow’s Farmstand Nook from $58/month which comes with integrated lights but is limited to just 20 plants.
- Gardyn supports plants with a system that’s 5’4″ tall. Lettuce Grow ranges from 3’6″ to 6’5″ depending on which Farmstand option you opt for.
- You can grow up to 30 plants with Gardyn, and up to 36 with Lettuce Grow.
Why should I try hydroponic gardening?
The short answer is, of course, why not? This style of gardening may sound a little odd to many houseplant enthusiasts, but with a little work, it’s easy enough to make sure your greens get the nutrients they need from water rather than from soil. Both Gardyn and Lettuce Grow offer specialist tanks that you can fit together to grow plants within your home.
Hydroponic systems are thought to help speed up healthy growth by up to three times – but your own experience may vary! Hydroponics are also amazingly popular with people who may not have much in the way of traditional space to be able to grow healthy plants of their own. What’s more, not everyone wants to have to clean up soil every five minutes!
Let’s take a detailed look at the two major hydroponic services available to try in the US right now – Lettuce Grow and Gardyn – and why either might be your best shot at growing healthy crops without soil.
What is Lettuce Grow, and how does it work?
Amazing puns aside, Lettuce Grow is an urban gardening solution that’s famous for its multi-sized farmstand, a hydroponic setup that lets you autonomously water and grow plants in relatively restricted spaces.
This system works by delivering enriched water to your plants – you’re essentially providing fertilized H2O a few drinks at a time. You’re even able to set up grow lights with the standard Lettuce Grow farmstand, meaning if you have dark spaces in your home and a particularly sun-thirsty plant, you’re already fixed.
The farmstand operates through a water pump that’s fairly hands-free. You only need to maintain or check the system a couple of times a week.
Lettuce Grow is an innovative brand that’s inspired by urban vegetable production and some of the growth solutions developed by NASA over the years. In fact, if you’ve seen ‘The Martian’ starring Matt Damon, you may already have an idea of what I’m talking about!
Essentially, Lettuce Grow allows you to set up your own tiny vegetable garden or plant setup in corners of your property that would otherwise struggle to host them.
Aside from the original Farmstand which offers the option of outdoor or indoor growing, there is the Farmstand Nook – a more compact, all in one, dedicated indoor only solution.
What is Gardyn, and how does it work?
Gardyn’s two square feet of hydroponic gardening will be just as appealing as Lettuce Grow to indoor gardeners who don’t necessarily have much space to set up extensive crops. The Gardyn Home Kit is a leading proponent of their hydroponics range, offering water pump technology that, similar to Lettuce Grow, actively delivers nutrients to your plants.
Gardyn tends to follow a more tech-savvy approach to hydroponics than Lettuce Grow, though both have clear benefits and intuitive approaches to indoor gardening. For example, Gardyn provides an app with a built-in assistant that helps you get started step by step. The latest lines of Gardyn hydroponics actively measure the water your plants need from hour to hour, and are even fitted with technology that works out when your greens are under or overwatered.
Gardyn is likely to appeal to gardeners who are after an indoor growing solution inspired by the AI revolution – as you’re effectively handing over gardening duties to a robot! If this sounds exciting, just wait – as you’ll be able to take note of when it’s time to top up and even harvest your veg thanks to built-in sensors and app alerts.
Gardyn has a further edge over Lettuce Grow in that it has grow lights built into its system. With Lettuce Grow, you’ll need to invest in separate rings, which can end up being very expensive. Or opt for the Farmstand Nook and be limited in capacity.
Gardyn also offers additional features via it’s Gardyn Home 3.0 system which includes quicker assembly, enhanced durability and easier cleaning.
How large are the systems?
One of the major selling points of Lettuce Grow is the fact that it doesn’t have a single size setup. Depending on what you’d like to grow, you can choose a small unit that allows for up to 12 plants, or a large 36 plant unit that’s great for a clutch of vegetable, herbs and greens. If you want to get technical, Lettuce Grow runs the gamut between 3 feet 6 inches and 6 feet 5 inch tall.
Gardyn systems are available in a standard 5 feet 4 inches. That’s more than enough to take care of veggies in tighter spaces, but some may prefer the choice available with Lettuce Grow.
You can grow up to maximum of 30 different plants with a Gardyn system, and up to 36 with the largest Lettuce Grow setup.
Do I need to buy plants with my hydroponic system?
You’ll be able to choose from more than 20 different types of indoor plants within the Lettuce Grow range that are compatible with the system. Gardyn meanwhile has over 50 varieties to choose from.
Both systems are also compatible with seeds purchased elsewhere. So you are not restricted to buying directly from either company.
Gardyn Home Kit also comes with 30 free plants included with your purchase.
Of course, all of this wonderful indoor growing greatness arrives at a cost. Both systems offer the option of up front payment or splitting the cost monthly.
Gardyn’s Home Kit 2.0 subscription model is available from $749 or $32/month, while the Home Kit 3.0 is $899 or $38/month. Both have a maximum capacity of 30 plants and also include 30 plants to get you started growing.
Lettuce Grow Farmstand lets you start growing indoors from $649 however that only includes up to 12 plants capacity, with the largest model (36 plants) costing $1,249. However if you opt for the Farmstand Nook, Lettuce Grows dedicated indoor model, you’ll pay $699 or $58/month for the system which has a 20 plant maximum capacity.
Ease of maintenance
Both Gardyn and Lettuce Grow are relatively easy to maintain.
You’ll need to clean out your Gardyn system no more than once per month on average, but a thorough clean is always recommended twice a year. You’ll need to rinse out the whole system with water and dish soap – and may even need hydrogen peroxide for the main reservoir.
Lettuce Grow’s farmstand will only really need you to add water, fertilizer and check pH levels every week. This only takes a few minutes. It’s normally a good idea to ‘reset’ your farmstand every season, too.
Are hydroponics systems eco-friendly?
Generally, yes – hydroponics systems are very eco-friendly, and both Gardyn and Lettuce Grow are built from recycled products.
Hydroponics are great for reducing CO2 in various ways. For example, by growing your own vegetables in your home, you’re reducing the need for transportation of goods to stores. Neither Gardyn nor Lettuce Grow produce CO2 as-is, either – and you won’t need a lot of power to keep them running.
Can I use Lettuce Grow and Gardyn outside?
There’s certainly nothing stopping you using hydroponics outside, but Gardyn is built with indoor gardening in mind, while Lettuce Grow Farmstand is ideal for outdoor maintenance.
In fact, using Lettuce Grow Farmstand outside makes a lot of sense. That’s because the system’s lack of grow lights means you don’t have to invest in additional technology to make the most of the hydroponics. You can simply set up your farmstand in a corner of your garden and provide your plants with sunlight.
Alternatively you can opt for the Lettuce Grow Farmstand Nook, which is their dedicated indoor option. This is a smaller system with no requirement for additional lighting but as mentioned it’s maximum capacity is 20 plants compared to Gardyn’s 30.
What’s better in Gardyn vs Lettuce Grow?
Now we’ve sifted through the various attributes of each system, let’s quickly run through the pros and cons of Gardyn and Lettuce Grow.
Gardyn pros and cons
Gardyn is the best choice out of the two if you’re new to gardening and wouldn’t mind a helping hand getting started with hydroponics. Its app and AI service will help you make the most of your water, and will show you how you can grow plants faster and stronger through this style of system.
Gardyn is also built for indoor use, and arrives with grow lights built-in. Out of the two, Gardyn is clearly the top choice for gardeners who are invested in tech.
Gardyn is also clearly the more cost effective choice of the two for indoor gardening when you consider the capacity of both indoor systems and the fact that any Gardyn Home Kit purchase also includes 30 free plants to get you started.
Lettuce Grow pros and cons
Lettuce Grow is arguably pivoted towards those gardeners with a little more experience, as there’s not much hand-holding. Despite the lack of an app their farmstand range is still intuitive, and provides fantastic results.
Lettuce Grow is more versatile than Gardyn with regard to size and scope. If you only want to grow a few plants compared to a full 30, you don’t have to pay for the full farmstand. This can make it cheaper depending on how many plants you want to grow, though you will have to pay extra for those grow lights.
Alternatively you can opt for the Farmstand Nook for indoor use only but you are then limited to a maximum of 20 plants.
Both Gardyn and Lettuce Grow offer fantastic introductions to hydroponics, but both are quite different from each other. It’s easy to set up with either option, but I’d recommend Gardyn for serious beginners – as well as those who lean towards technology.
Can you get the same results from Gardyn and Lettuce Grow? That all depends on what you want to grow, and the time you’d like to put in. Consider the overall costs, and what you’d like to achieve from soil-free gardening.