No longer the preserve of commercial growers, hydroponics - a soil-less method of growing leafy veg - is made for urban edible-gardeners.
Growing veg can be tricky if you don't have a garden to cultivate or a sunny balcony to fill with tubs. Redemption for would-be urban gardeners, however, could lie with hydroponics, a controlled method of growing plants in water rather than soil
But 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.
Turn to page 106 of February's The Simple Things for more of our feature on Hydroponics, including what you need to start out.