I have heard so many great things about the AeroGarden. You can grow food all year round in your house 🙂 That said, it is small so it would work great for lettuce and herbs, but not much else. It is dirt free! Here is a description of it:
The AeroGarden 3 uses NASA-tested aeroponic technology to grow plants in water, nutrients, and air. Aeroponics is a dirt-free growing method in which plant roots are suspended in air within a highly oxygenated growing chamber with 100% humidity. The roots are bathed in ideal levels of nutrients, oxygen, and water, allowing the plants to grow significantly faster, become healthier, and have a higher nutrient content that plants grown in soil. With 3 pods in which to grow food, the Advanced Growing System with computerized Adaptive Growth Intelligence uses high-efficiency lighting and a quiet, low-maintenance chamber that provides more oxygen to the roots. All you have to do is add water, drop in the pre-seeded grow plugs, turn on the AeroGarden 3, and watch the plants grow in the 3 pods. The grow lights turn on and off automatically, and the computer reminds you via LCD display when to add water and nutrients. You can achieve up to 30% more plant growth. All plants are organically based and 100% natural.
Right now the AeroGarden 3 with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit is on sale at amazon for $79.95 (from $129.95). There are a few other options, but that one is the cheapest. If you would like to grow your own lettuce and herbs year round then this might be a great tool!