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Urban Farmer: * Kratky Unleashed * GH Winter Garden * Share your photo!
March 01, 2015


The Urban Farmer, Issue #080 * Kratky Unleashed * GH Winter Garden * Share your photo!

March, 2015:


"A garden must combine the poetic and the mysterious with a feeling of serenity and joy."

~Luis Barragan


Kratky's non-circulating hydroponics

~ By DianneMW

A friend of mine, Ingrid, started growing her own lettuce mix at home using a non-circulating hydroponics system.  I was very interested in what she was doing because it requires no electricity and only a one time nutrient feed.  She sent me brief, but great, instructions and I did a little research on the Kratky method of hydroponics and decided to share what I've done.

These instructions are brought to you after six months of successful growing.  Ingrid had been growing for a year by the time I gave it a try.

Before you begin, choose where you will keep your setup, on a table with some indirect sunlight or under house eaves is best.  Once the tub is full of water it is very difficult to move the system.  You can also grow indoors under light if you want, I don't because I live in Hawaii and we have a year round growing season that allows me to use good ol' sun light.

Underbed box 41 QT/39 L (approx 35" X 17" X 6") and/or 5 gallon bucket (I will be using both in these instructions)
Utility knife
Tape measure
Plastic paint primer and paint
1/2 inch x 1/2 inch elbow (optional)
Rubber grommet 3/4 inch OD x 7/16 inch ID (optional)
Clear vinyl tubing 1/2 inch OD x 3/8 inch ID (optional)
1/2 inch drill bit (optional)
2 inch hole saw
8 - 2 inch net cups per lettuce bed.
Strap to hold shape of container once it's filled with water
PH water testing kit
Hydroponic nutrient (your choice of brand)
Lettuce seeds
Place to set up your lettuce beds

This setup should come in at under $30

With the Kraty method of non-circulating hydroponics it's important to remember that one gallon of nutrient water per plant is an optimal ratio when growing lettuce... so with the under the bed storage box I used, I drilled eight, evenly distributed, holes in the lid using the two inch hole saw.  Use the utility knife to scrape off any plastic and smooth out the holes.

This box is a 10 gallon box, but I only fill it up to eight gallon so that there is a space of humid air for the plant roots to derive oxygen since this system doesn't aerate with mechanization.  

I use this type of container for lettuce because the roots are shallow and I want a good amount of space for my plants to grow.  There are other types of totes that hold the same amount of water, but the shape and depth aren't what I considered optimal for lettuce growing.

I like to keep track of the water level in my reservoir, so I also drill a 1/2 inch hole on the side to insert a tube to monitor what's happening on the inside.  If you decide to include this step you have to be very careful drilling the hole.  

I think starting with a small bit and graduating to larger ones until you reach the 1/2 inch bit might be best if the plastic is stiff.

I've cracked the plastic a few times and had to use food grade plastic epoxy on the damage in order to use the container.  It's not too big of a deal because you still need to paint the container and the repair will be camouflaged.  

For a complete set of illustrated directions to build this super-simple setup,  visit:




 Hoops of Hope (Our original Hydroponic SURVIVAL GREENHOUSE)

We have a great new start on a winter garden in our hoop Solexx panel greenhouse. We have decided to wait until after harvest of the winter crop to put in place solar powered units. It should be much more clear how this works and how best to arrange in a greenhouse without plants in the way. So look forward to that in the spring. Below are pics of our winter hydroponic garden today, 2/28/15:

Video of the Month:
The Simple Beauty of the Kratky Method

Hydro Tip of the Month- 

Have A Great Photo of your Hydroponic Garden?

Share it with us here:


We hope you have enjoyed this issue of The Urban Farmer Ezine. Each month, we will bring you another inspiring photo, gardening quote or idea, plus fresh new hydroponics news, techniques & products.

Insiders tips to get you growing...


~Stella and Simon from Hydroponics-Simplified.

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