Hydroponic Herb Garden

Craft & Design Gardening

Subscribe to the CRAFT Podcast in iTunes, or download the m4v video.

In this week’s CRAFT Video, I show you how to set up a hydroponic herb garden on my rooftop in Brooklyn. Hydroponic gardening uses water more efficiently than traditional soil gardening, and is also a lot less messy for urban apartment dwellers. It’s easier to get set up than you might think! The basic idea is that you have a reservoir of water with all the nutrients the plants could want, being circulated close to the roots of the plants. Because the water is recirculated, the plants have more than one chance to grab the nutrients in the water, so they grow faster. Here are the basic components of a hydroponic garden:

  • A light-tight container (to inhibit algae growth)
  • Nutrient solution
  • A water pump and tubing (available at most pet stores)
  • Small plant-sized containers
  • Expanded clay pebbles or other growing medium

Of course there are highly sophisticated setups available out there, but this is all you’d need to get started. I used the Rainforest 318 system made by General Hydroponics (who makes the easiest-to-find nutrients), but you might start with a smaller kit or try to DIY your own system to meet your needs.


The Windowfarms project is a great place to learn to make your own custom window garden from mostly recycled materials. Photo above by Maya Nayak.


There are also some designs available on Thingiverse, like this “Bloombot” by Will Langford. You can even print your own growing cups from biodegradable plastic using vik’s design.


Kellbot has been working on her own aeroponic garden for some time now, and her aeroponic garden log is quite interesting to read.


Here’s an in-process shot from setting up my herb garden. I have more pictures on Flickr.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

View more articles by Becky Stern