You can put together a nice setup for a few hundred dollars. If you're thinking of getting LEDs though, do a lot of research. There are a lot of junk units out there that are massively overpriced and don't perform. My family runs a garden center, and as of yet the only ones we've tested that are worth their salt are Haight LEDs (they also use Cree LED components). There's a lot
more to growing a healthy plant than hitting the chlorophyll at the 680nm sweet spot with a red LED since the chlorophyll itself is surrounded by antenna structures that respond to a variety of wavelengths and are responsible for auxiliary chemical reactions. There's also a lot of variation across species and lifecycle stage in how well they respond to LEDs, and what spectrums are required. If you want a broad-use light, you need one that hits 670-680nm, ~420nm, and then some cool white mixed in.
We've spent thousands of dollars buying and testing different LEDs in the last year. Out of all the brands we've experimented with, these are the only ones we've decided to carry:haight
(Also a US company)
As for a cheap hydroponic system, I'll say this one time: build your own.
If you buy a setup, 9 out of 10 times you're going to get ripped. The most cost efficient systems are little more than two 5 gallon pails stacked on top of each other, a fish-tank pump, a drip stake and some rock-wool or other substrate. You could spend over $1000 USD on a pre-fab system, but you're far better off spending a few days on you-tube looking at other people's designs and then heading to your local hardware store.
As a caveat, hydroponic production outdoors with the sun as your light is pretty much unbeatable for food production. Just don't grow stuff that you have to drought to make the sugar set and you'll be golden.
Terran wrote:Does amyone know a approx cost of setting up a small scale hydroponic setup? I've heard its quite expensive, but just want to try some indoor growing. And no I'm not growing anything that would pay for itself, just lettice and veggies.