Sick of spending money on expensive fresh herbs that never seem to get used!

Imagine having a non-stop supply of fresh herbs available at your disposal for creating delectable meals. Spices are nature’s miracles. They provide flavor, vibrant color and nutrients to any recipe. Sadly, many of us settle for dried herbs because fresh choices simply aren’t readily available. 

Buying fresh herbs from a farmer’s market or grocery store is costly. Pre-packaged containers have often already started to wilt before purchase. Dried herbs have a long shelf life but lack the robust zest and nutrients of freshly clipped herbs. 

Luckily, even if you don’t have a green thumb or a large yard, you can still cultivate your private herb garden indoors, whether you live in an apartment or home.

A hydroponic herb garden requires very little space and gives you access to all your favorite fresh herbs without costing a fortune. 

The Five Best Herbs to Grow Hydroponically

Let’s look at five easy-to-grow hydroponic herbs that are favored by all cooks:

Parsley

A Mediterranean native plant, parsley is used worldwide as a garnish, but it’s also a tasty herb to add to various recipes. 

You’ll find several types of parsley. Some are bitter to the taste, and others are frilly for greater visual appeal. There are even large-leaf parsley varieties that you can enjoy in a salad. Large leaf Italian parsley varieties grow wonderfully hydroponically.

Parsley seeds are affordable and usually germinate within three to four weeks.  You can start harvesting about five weeks after germination. 

The herb is rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, and folate. Many believe it reduces the risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. 

Hydroponic Parsley

Basil

What kitchen herb cabinet does not contain basil? It is one of the most used staples and is superb when fresh. 

Basil is rich in vitamin K, manganese, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, omega three fatty acids, and calcium. The herb is also brimming with antioxidants.

Hydroponically grown basil does require high light levels to truly thrive. You can rely on a south-facing window, in the summer, but as the days grow shorter, you’ll probably need to rely on supplemental lighting. Use an LED grow light during the winter months to ensure that you meet the plant’s lighting needs.

Thyme

Thyme has potent antibacterial, insecticidal, and antifungal properties. It is rich in vitamin C and vitamin A.  Many people add thyme to their recipes whenever they feel like they are catching a cold or other viral infection. The small plant is also a valued source of fiber, iron, copper, and manganese. 

Throughout history, people have favored thyme to treat a wide assortment of health problems such as: 

  • Bronchitis
  • Colds
  • Cough
  • Dermatitis
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Sore throat
  • Gingivitis
  • Oral thrush
  • Cold sores
  • Ear infections
  • Urination disorders 

The herb is also frequently used to stimulate appetite. 

Thyme grows well hydroponically. You might want to invest in standard fluorescent lamps or use a high output T fluorescent or high-intensity discharge  (metal halide or high-pressure sodium)  grow light to meet the lighting needs of the plant. However, if you have windows, the plants will flourish with the sunlight flooding into the room, but the grow lights work well in the winter months when the sun is in short supply. 

Chives

Chives are wonderfully rich in vitamin C, which can kickstart your immune system, especially during the winter months when viruses flourish. The plants are loaded with potassium, iron, beta carotene, vitamin A, potassium, vitamin K, and riboflavin. Many believe that a diet rich in chives naturally lowers high blood pressure. Chives are also favored as a sleep-aid.

A hardy herb, chives grow well hydroponically. You can quickly harvest them every two or three weeks, and if you stagger grow the chives, you’ll have a non-stop supply.  You can even gather them using a simple kitchen knife to quickly toss in a garden salad or the cookpot.

Mint

Imagine adding fresh mint to your tea every evening – what a treat!  Mint’s scent has a soothing scent and is favored for aromatherapy. 

Historically, mint has been used as a treatment for various stomach ailments and to bring comfort. It even helps boost the immune system and lower your stress level. 

Mint is an impressive source of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that is crucial for eye health and helps maintain night vision.  It is also rich in antioxidants to help boost cell rejuvenation and renewal.

For best year-round results, grow mint hydroponically under a fluorescent light. You can clip the leaves as you need them to add to your tea, use them as dessert garnishments or add to specific recipes. 

DIY Hydroponics

Benefits of a Hydroponic Herb Garden?

Hydroponics is a cultivation method that does not rely on soil. Instead, water delivers nutrients directly to the roots of the plant. In place of soil, you use pebbles, gravel, coco coir, or other substrates for plant support. With some hydroponic systems, no support is required, the plant’s roots simply dangle in the water and nutrients.

Soil is not only messy, but a plant wastes a great deal of energy pushing its root system through the soil. A hydroponic grow system puts the nutrients directly at your plant’s roots disposal so the plants can concentrate energy on developing foliage and flowers.  It also reduces the risks of soil-based diseases and pest infestations impacting your home-grown crop. 

A nutrient solution is mixed with water and delivered directly to the plant’s root system with hydroponics. The only thing that you’ll have to monitor is the pH level to ensure that the hydroponic electron pump or wicking system is functioning correctly to deliver the water and nutrients to the plant’s roots, so they don’t dry out. 

How to Set Up a Hydroponic Herb Garden

You’ll encounter a variety of different hydroponic systems. Your choice will depend on the space that you have and your price range. The three main hydroponic systems are the nutrient film technique, the Kratky method, and the ebb and flow system.

  • Krafty Method: The Kratky method is the most straightforward system and works well for herb gardens. It requires no electricity and is entirely passive. 
  • Eff and Flow System: The ebb and flow system relies on a pump to push the water across the plant’s roots and gravity to return the solution to the reservoir. 
  • Nutrient Film Technique: The nutrient film technique is similar to the ebb and flow method because it relies on pump and gravity to function, but the nutrients and water continuously flow across the plant’s roots.

If you are new to Hydroponics you might want to read our article on Hydroponics for Beginners.

Space Requirements

You can purchase hydroponic garden sets that fit in a windowsill or on your kitchen counter.  With the easy-to-use systems, you control every aspect of the plant’s growth with hydroponics. 

You can easily make sure that your garden does not take up too much space with regular clipping. Growing herbs hydroponically ensures that you’ll have ample fresh spices for all your cooking needs, and you can even share with your friends or family. 

Indoor Herb Gardening

With an indoor hydroponic herb garden, you can grow herbs year-round in minimal space without worrying about cold weather damaging your delicate plants. 

Whenever a recipe calls for basil, thyme, mint, parsley, or chives, you’ll have the fresh herbs at your disposal.  The feeling of satisfaction when you clip the herbs you have lovingly cultivated is indescribable.

Retailers sell a wide array of small indoor beginner hydroponic herb gardens that are perfect for use in the kitchen or anywhere in the home. 

Benefits of a Hydroponic Herb Garden 

Below are a few benefits of a hydroponic herb garden: 

Plants Grow Faster

The growth rate of hydroponically grown herbs is 30 to 50 percent faster than plants grown in soil. With rapid growth, you’ll have quicker harvests, so you can start enjoying your fresh herbs sooner than standard gardening methods.

Grow Year-Round

Imagine having access to all your favorite herbs for your culinary creations year-round! Yes, that dream can truly become a reality with hydroponic gardening. Clip a little or a lot to add to your recipes, and rest assured that the plants will rejuvenate, and you’ll have a non-stop supply of fresh herbs with minimal gardening work. 

Feeling of Accomplishment

It feels great to grow herbs used for cooking in the comfort of your home. You can take great pride in your gardening skills and truly feel like you have created something worthwhile. Gardening indoors year-round also ease the winter doldrums, so you feel happier.  

Fresh and Organic

When you buy herbs at a grocery store or marketplace, you never know if they have genuinely been cultivated organically. When you grow your own herbs, you can rest assured that you followed complete organic practices. 

Saves Water

Hydroponic gardening in your home uses 10 percent less water than other gardening systems. The water is recirculated across the plant’s root systems, and the plants only absorb what they need to thrive. You’ll lose some water through evaporation, but very little. In many parts of the world, water conservation is essential, especially if you want to live a more eco-friendly and sustainable existence.

Even though you won’t be producing and cultivating food on a large scale and only growing a few herbs hydroponically to use in your favorite dishes, you can still feel good about your gardening practices using less water. 

Eliminate Diseases and Pests

When you grow herbs hydroponically in your home, you don’t have to worry about coping with soil-borne pests or diseases. Herbs remain free of Pythium, Rhizoctonia, and Fusarium. You’ll grow only healthy herbs hydroponically. 

Tastes Better

Yes, hydroponically grown herbs taste better because they are fresh. The herbs are not dried out or wilted like the ones you often buy at a grocery store. 

Hydroponic Herbs add flavor

Less Waste

When you shop for fresh herbs at a farmer’s market, you probably buy large bundles of the spices because the market might only occur once a week, and you want to have the herbs on hand when you need them. However, the fresh herbs don’t last. They will soon wilt, and you’ll end up throwing them away before you ever have a chance to use them all.

With hydroponically grown herbs, you only clip as much as you need, so you reduce waste considerably.  

No Weeds

When gardening hydroponically, you never have to worry about unwanted weeds. 

Stress Relief

Probably the biggest reason to grow herbs hydroponically is that you’ll enjoy the leisure activity of gardening in the comfort of your home. Your indoor herb garden will provide you joy and a feeling of fulfillment. Most people find gardening stress-relieving, and when you combine it with a hobby like cooking, it just gets better! 

Conclusion 

Having a hydroponic herb garden is a huge perk. You can use the fresh herbs in your culinary creations while enjoying the entire cultivation experience.