This past month I cooked every single meal that I ate: no eating out, no delivery, and no packaged food. Something I noticed on my 90-percent-veg grocery bill each week was how much I was spending on things such as chives, microgreens, shisho, and other specialty greens (which make all the difference as a “topper” to soups, onigiri, and salads). I also noticed how quickly these edibles decompose after they’ve been cut; I could never seem to eat the whole bag of micro broccoli in time.
I’m now planning for a cutting countertop garden made up of more than the typical culinary herbs, with specific vegetables tailored to my interest. Here are 10 vegetable-growing kits that yield everything from rare mushrooms to wasabi greens to fennel and more.
Above: The Chef’n Microgreens Garden comes with soil, seeds, and a tray that is slender enough to fit on windowsills and countertops; $25.49 on Amazon. Above: From Japanese brand Cultivate & Eat, a Mini Vegetable Growing Kit includes a plastic-lined paper bag modeled after a traditional rice bag, potting mix, and seeds. Shown here is the Shiso kit; also available are Wasabina greens and Hawk Claw peppers, each £7.99 each from Paper Tiger in the UK. Above: AeroGarden carries a variety of high-tech soil-less container gardens with grow lights that promise to grow plants five times faster than traditional soil-based gardens. The countertop-friendly Harvest Elite Slim (pictured) is $143.96; it can grow up to six plants. AeroGarden offers dozen of seed kits; I’m partial to the Mixed Kale Seed Pod Kit for $12.76. Above: San Francisco-based wild mushroom cultivators Far West Fungi offer mini mushroom farm kits such as the Yellow Oyster Mushroom Mini Farm seen here for $25 for three to four harvests. Also available are the Lion’s Mane Mini Farm, Shitake Mini Farm, Pink Oyster Mini Farm, and Tree Oyster Mini Farm. Above: For a high-tech option (see our post on High Tech Herb Growing Kits for more), the Seed Pantry Grow Kit features plenty of veg options in addition to typical herbs and flowering plants; vegetables including mixed spicy greens, shallots, beets, wasabi, peas, and fennel come in pods that can be customized to the system. See Seed Pantry in the UK for pricing and options. Above: The super-simple and low-tech Johnson’s Microgreens Growing Tray comes with coriander, arugula, and basil seeds to grow microgreens; £6 each from Kew Gardens in London. Above: Click & Grow is a system that comes with pre-seeded cartridges that grow via “smart soil” (a nano-tech growth medium that accelerates plant growth) and an LED grow light. The system can be customized with vegetables such as the Garden Yellow Sweet Pepper Plant Pods seen here. Visit Click & Grow for more information. See the Click & Grow herb garden option in our post 10 Easy Pieces: High Tech Herb Growing Kits. Above: For the countertop seed sprouter, the Alicja Patanowska-designed Porcelain Hydroponic Plant Grower is a porcelain funnel that sits on the rim of a drinking glass for an instant hydroponic growing condition; $31.99 each from Dowse in the UK available through Trouva. For more on the design, see our post Root System: Ceramic Plant Funnels from Alicja Patanowska. Above: The Classic Veritable Garden is powered by an LED light and self-irrigates for up to three weeks. The kit comes with seeds to grow chives, cherry tomatoes, curly parsley, and basil; $200 through Goop. For more like this, see our post 10 Easy Pieces: High Tech Herb Growing Kits. Above: The Custom Seedsheet Garden comes with the soft container, seeds (embedded in something the company calls the “seedsheet”), and soil. You choose from two container sizes (small or large) and 85 different vegetables, fruits, and flowers; starting from $24.99.
For more grow kits see our posts: