WHAT TO GROW
Stick to leafy salad veg and herbs for the best results. Which varieties you choose to grow will depend on the size of your growing system: the lights of the Ikea Indoor Gardening System, for example, are 30cm above the growing tray, so any plants that grow taller than that won’t fit. Plant 1–3 seeds per plug, depending on the plant, and remember that different seeds germinate at different rates. You should see plants with leaves big enough to eat after 5–7 weeks.
Small tomatoes often planted in containers will also suit hydroponic systems. ‘ Balconi Red’, ‘ Bajaja’ and ‘ Sweet ’n’ Neat Cherry Red’ are all nice and compact.
Smaller varieties such as ‘ Krakatoa’ and ‘ Basket of Fire’ will fit hydroponic systems best, but taller plants can be pinched out to encourage width rather than height.
Most varieties will flourish in a hydroponic system. Ones with looser leaves such as Lollo Rossa, Cos (red and green) and Butterhead varieties suit hydroponic cropping better than tightly packed ones like Iceberg.
Pick the leaves of spinach, rocket, pak choi, oriental mustard and garden cress when they are young for best flavour. They are often found together in salad leaves seed mixes.
A handful of fresh herbs in snipping distance is a boon to any cook. Most thrive in hydroponic conditions: try basil, chives, coriander, mint parsley or lemon balm.