Reviews Lawn, Garden & Pool

Hydroponic Indoor Gardening in 2 Square Feet: The Gardyn System

This indoor hydroponic gardening system lets you nurture 30 plants in just 2 square feet of space so that you can enjoy fresh, homegrown produce with ease.
Jenn Ryan Avatar
The Gardyn Home Kit 3.0 growing lots of leafy greens during testing.

Photo: Jenn Ryan for Bob Vila

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Imagine being able to pick produce from a lush garden with 30 food-producing plants whenever you want. Now picture the same thing, but compress that garden down into 2 square feet and place it right inside your kitchen. The Gardyn Home Kit 3.0 makes this possible in a vertical hydroponic garden system that grows 30 large plants, all without soil or garden space.

Gardyn is an indoor hydroponic gardening company that makes vertical garden systems designed to fit into small spaces. The company’s stated mission is “to reimagine the future of food with organic produce that is accessible to everyone.”

After testing the Gardyn Home Kit 3.0 system in my home for the last 6 months, I can fully recommend this product. During testing, it was simple to use, beautiful to look at, and fun and easy to maintain—all while producing plenty of high-quality, organic produce. 

Gardyn Home Kit 3.0: At a Glance

Rating: 4/5

The Gardyn Home Kit 3.0  growing lots of leafy greens during testing.
Photo: Jenn Ryan for Bob Vila

SPECS

  • Size: 64 inches high by 24 inches wide by 12 inches deep
  • Lights: Two 60-watt LEDs
  • Sensor types: Water level, humidity, interior temperature

PROS

  • All of the seeds Gardyn offers are non-GMO
  • Vertically grows up to 30 full-size plants at once
  • The entire system takes up only 2 square feet of space

CONS

  • System requires app access; timers are controlled via app
  • Company may only replace seedlings that fail to grow if you have a membership
  • Large plants can block smaller plants from receiving light

Get the Gardyn Home Kit 3.0 indoor garden at:

Gardyn Review
Photo: Jenn Ryan for Bob Vila

What is the Gardyn Home Kit 3.0?

The Gardyn Home Kit 3.0 is an indoor hydroponic large garden system that grows 30 full-size plants. Unlike many other large hydroponic indoor garden kits, the Gardyn takes up a mere 2 square feet and is just over 5 feet tall, which is shorter than most large indoor hydroponic systems.

Another way this system stands apart from the competition is that 100 percent of the plants Gardyn offers are non-GMO (which means they were not genetically modified) and are suitable for organic growing. The substrate matter in the pods is made from a natural mineral wool.

The system works by pumping and circulating water from a reservoir at the bottom of the unit through tubes connected to pods (called yCubes), from which the plants grow. LED lights attached to the system are set on a timer via the app. The company recommends users set the lights to be on for 12 to 16 hours per day for optimal growth.

The system works with an app and has cameras on it for live viewing of the Gardyn, as well as time-lapse models to view plant growth progress. Users can also purchase yCubes through the app.

The Gardyn Home Kit 3.0 full of gorgeous and healthy plants during testing.
Photo: Jenn Ryan for Bob Vila

How easy is the Gardyn to put together?

The Gardyn is relatively simple to set up and arrives partially assembled. No tools are required. Assembly steps include attaching the tubes that connect the pods to the base and connecting the lights to the base. Everything comes in one box made from recycled materials.

The Gardyn system includes an assembly booklet, which I used for setup, but there are also helpful video tutorials on the Gardyn app that are easy to locate and view to ensure proper assembly.

The design of the Gardyn makes it easy to place virtually anywhere, as it only takes up 2 square feet and is just over 5 feet tall, so high ceilings are not required. The Gardyn does need to be plugged in, though, and it requires app access to function.

Is the Gardyn app easy to use?

The Gardyn app is easy to set up and use. It also offers helpful features, such as notifications about when the tank needs to be topped off. It also uses artificial intelligence to identify plants that may need thinning, pruning, or harvesting, sending notifications about these as well.

Like other apps, the Gardyn app’s notifications can be turned off, but it’s important to remember when you need to top off the water so that the system doesn’t go dry. To properly maintain the system, Gardyn recommends topping off the tank weekly with fresh water and plant food.

The app also enables users to order plants directly with just a few clicks. I have a membership, which allows me to receive 10 plant credits per month. To order, I simply select the plants I want, and Gardyn ships them to me for free (free shipping is part of the Gardyn membership).

Does the Gardyn system require a membership?

The Gardyn 3.0 does not require a membership to use, and the system comes with 30 seed pods. Users do not need a membership to access the app or order plants as needed for the system. In fact, gardeners can even buy replacement substrate and grow their own seeds in the pods. The main benefit of the membership is convenience: You get 10 plant credits a month with free shipping.

The Gardyn Home Kit 3.0 full of gorgeous and healthy plants during testing.
Photo: Jenn Ryan for Bob Vila

How well does the Gardyn grow organic produce?

Once the seedlings sprout, the Gardyn 3.0 does a good job of growing the produce. However, not all of the seeds will sprout every time—and some may sprout but not grow well, whether because they don’t grow to full size, die before they reach full size, or don’t produce to their full potential. But in my 6-month test, negative outcomes proved to be the exception and not the norm.

It’s important to know how to sprout seeds and thin plants before adding them to the Gardyn. If there are already mature plants and plant food in the system, the plant food can hinder sprouting.

I reused an old plastic salad container that I placed on the bottom of the Gardyn, in front of the lights, to sprout seeds in the cubes before placing them in the system. Gardyn offers its own product for this, called a Sprout Nursery, inside of which users can place multiple yCubes, allowing them to be held in place in front of the LED lights for sprouting. 

Once the seedlings are sprouted, thinned, and ready to be added to the system, the plants tend to grow fast with the recommended light schedule of 16 hours per day. Full harvest is ready in about 6 weeks. The best part is that plants can be continually harvested. For example, I’ve been picking lettuce from several plants on the system for months; as long as a third of the plant is left, it will grow back after harvesting.

The Gardyn 3.0 did have some weak points. For example, some plants can grow so big that they block smaller plants from receiving light. This can be a real issue when starting new plants in a system that already has full-size plants that are still being harvested. However, I’ve found this to be a common issue with home hydroponic garden systems, and it can be minimized by harvesting plants regularly.

Another con is that plants can get large enough to touch the light bars on the system, as the space between the growing tubes and the light bars is minimal. This causes plant leaves to singe on the lights, making them unusable. But again, this is a common issue I’ve found with indoor hydroponic systems, and it’s one that can be minimized with regular harvesting.

Gardyn Reviews
Photo: Jenn Ryan for Bob Vila

What is the Gardyn made of?

The water tank is made of food-grade FDA-compliant ABS plastic, not PVC. The top lid of the Gardyn Home Kit 3.0’s water tank is made of Hevia wood. The yCubes hold a material called rockwool as the growing medium; it is a type of mineral wool that is often used as a plant-growth substrate.

Each yCube has a four-dot code on the side. This helps the AI in the app identify the plants and, in turn, tell you which plants may need thinning or pruning.

Is the Gardyn Home Kit 3.0 worth the money?

I found the Gardyn Home Kit 3.0 to be well worth the cost. Unlike smaller hydroponic systems, it is capable of growing full-size produce. It also requires virtually no maintenance besides sprouting the seeds in the yCubes and adding plant food and water once a week. Gardyn also recommends cleaning the tank once per month, which I admit I have not yet done and have not noticed any adverse effects outside of some greening in the tank.

The system has allowed me to cut my grocery bill significantly because I’m no longer spending money on fresh produce that goes bad in just a few days (or, even worse, is already less than fresh when I buy it). Instead, I can pick fresh leafy greens off the Gardyn as I need them, and the plants replenish themselves.

After thinning plants, I also transplant the sprouts that I didn’t use in the Gardyn system to another container, where many of them grow into full-size plants I have used for my raised beds and traditional outdoor gardens. The ability for the user to transplant the sprouts the system doesn’t use creates even more value for this system.

Another thing I loved about the Gardyn is that there’s only one power cord for both the lights and water pump, which can easily be hidden behind the system for a neat appearance. This is something I didn’t find with all the other hydroponic systems I tested.

Several leafy greens just starting to grow from the Gardyn Home Kit 3.0 during testing.
Photo: Jenn Ryan for Bob Vila

Should you buy the Gardyn indoor hydroponic system?

If you’ve struggled to maintain a large outdoor garden due to poor soil, time constraints, or unpredictable weather, the Gardyn Home Kit 3.0 is an excellent way to grow full-size organic produce indoors with minimal work. Anyone who is looking to reduce food waste and plastic consumption from clamshell lettuce containers and plastic produce bags can appreciate the Gardyn indoor hydroponic system.

The system cannot entirely satisfy the produce consumption in my household (which includes two adults, five rabbits, and one bearded dragon, all of whom eat lots of fresh greens), but it greatly supplements it. It has also been really nice not having to dash to the store when I need fresh parsley or when I run out of lettuce.

Avoiding pesticides is important to my family and me, so I also loved that all the seeds Gardyn provides are non-GMO and suited for organic growing, which is something I could not find with other large indoor hydroponic garden systems. While some of the seeds are certified organic, Gardyn ensures that 100 percent of the seeds they provide qualify for organic growing, which means they are always non-GMO and always untreated (meaning they are not treated with chemicals).

The Gardyn has made gardening super simple, effective, and less wasteful. Plus, I really love seeing the beautiful plants every day and harvesting fresh produce without leaving the house. For anyone wanting to eat healthier at home without committing to the work and time a large outdoor garden requires, this system is absolutely worth considering.

Where to Buy the Gardyn Home Kit 3.0

Get the Gardyn Home Kit 3.0 indoor garden at:

Meet the Tester

Jenn Ryan is a writer and sustainability enthusiast who has been writing for BobVila.com since 2020 and has been an organic gardener since 2015. Jenn writes about eco-friendly and sustainable solutions and products for BobVila.com as well as numerous other publications, including Popular Mechanics. She takes a detailed approach to reviewing products and considers the value they add for the money as well as the materials used for sustainability and overall eco-friendliness.

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Jenn Ryan

Contributing Writer

Since 2015, Jenn Ryan has been a freelance writer with a focus on natural health, eco-friendly products, and wellness. She’s been writing for BobVila.com since 2020 and covers natural alternatives to conventional products, solar solutions, and environmental topics.

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