Once you’ve decided on the type grow room you’ll use, the next big decision is which growing system you’ll use. There are lots of choices: hydroponic, aeroponic, active, passive, recirculating, run to waste…If you ask five gardeners which growing system is best, you’re likely to get seven to ten answers. When choosing a growing system, go with what works for you and not what is “supposed” to be the best according to some “expert.” If you’re just starting to garden indoors, read this chapter carefully then review the growing systems comparison chart at the end before plunking down your hard-earned cash for a growing system.
Every growing system has its pros and cons that present tradeoffs all gardeners must resolve for themselves. Some systems are easy to set up and take down but hard to clean or use lots of nutrients. Some systems require electrical power. Some systems use media that can be cleaned and reused instead of thrown out at the end of a run, which may be important for apartment dwellers with limited trash-disposal capacity.
Talk to other gardeners about their experiences with different growing systems, if you can. Whatever system you choose, stick with it for several harvests until you fully understand how it works and how to “dial it in” for your particular growing style. In your quest to become Mother Nature, lots of things get thrown at you in the beginning. Take your time and learn. If you make changes too fast, you might miss what you should be learning about gardening instead of just learning how to manage a gardening system.