The next step in our hydroponic experiment is to build the actual grow bed for the lettuce. We will be using the Kratky Method.
This is, as we understand it, the most simple way to grow hydroponically. There are other methods that do show better results, but this is a great way to try hydroponics for the first time.
Dr. Bernard Kratky’s method of hydroponics is non-circulating. Said more simply, the water does not move. Neither do you have to pump air in to the water.
This works by suspending the plant over the water, rather that submerging the entire root system into the water. The plant develops roots for both water and air, providing for its needs.
Grow Bed Setup
In order to suspend the plant above the water, you place the plant in a hydroponic net pot and then suspend the pot over the water. While many different containers can be used and constructed, we are using a simple plastic storage bin from the department store.
Ours is a 10 gallon storage bin. The lid has enough room for us to place 6 net pots in it. However, we currently only have 10 pots. So, to distribute these across 2 containers we will only grow 5 in each.
The storage container needs to be strong and opaque. This blocks the light from the water. If light is able to reach the water algae will grow.
We are using 2″ net pots. After carefully measuring out the locations for the holes in the lid I used a 2″ hole saw to make the holes that will receive the net pots.
For now we will only drill out 5 of the holes, since we need to purchase more net pots. The other location has been marked for future use.
We will show you in the next update how to mix the fertilizer formula and exactly how much to use. Since we need to keep some roots exposed to the air, we have to be particular about this.
The lettuce is growing well, but some sprouts are getting leggy. I believe this is due to the small light source we are using. It saved us money to re-purpose a fish tank light, but the light is not powerful enough to provide enough light to keep the seedlings short.
We think they will be ready by next weekend to replant, so stay tuned and check back soon for the next update on our hydroponic growing experiment.
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You can watch our Kratky Hydroponic Setup video by clicking the link, or by watching below: