What's the best hydroponic starter set to start out with if I'm a TOTAL beginner?
Either a ready-made model or one that I have to construct are both fine.
Preferably under $100 total.
Are you growing outdoors or indoors? The system you choose may be affected by what you want to grow. It is cheaper to build your own system & some are easy to build. The easiest is the pot/wick system, although you might also want to look at some Drip/Dutch pot systems. If you look through some of the posts on forum some of the members have posted pictures of theirs. There are several hydro dealers in Southern CA, depending on your location, so it should not be too hard to get nutrient.
I would suggest holding off on the DIY units, until you get more familiar with how each type works.
If you want some suggestions on great starter units, look for Sunleaves Garden of Ease, Hydrofarm's Emily's Garden and Megagarden. All of these come with rocks, net cups, media, etc... All you need to add is light, seeds/cuttings, and electricity. These are all very affordable too!
Prices and availability may vary in CA. Good luck in your search! -Jason
Heatwaves, below are some links for pictures of systems designed by some forum members.
heatwaves..I have been into hydro for over 20 years..
looked for your email address wasn't there..forget about the commercial stuff..email me..
"sunleaves garden of ease"
These guys have it super cheap:
well i got my starter kit off of ebay... shipped for 30
it's a 6 plant starter with food and whatnot...
(do you guys think i got a good deal?)
link goes to and old auction so shouldn't be advertizing
also it's not my auction
Here is a link that might be useful: ebay deal