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Build This Great Water Farm
RAFT LETTUCE (DEEP WATER CULTURE)
Deep water culture (the raft lettuce system) is probably the simplest and most economical hydroponics system
you could build. Although very simple to set up and operate, it is
actually superior for growing lightweight, leafy vegetables like
lettuce, herbs and small peppers. They grow like wildfire in this
A lettuce raft makes an impressive,
"futuristic" display and is a favorite with school teachers and for
science fair projects (use an aquarium for the reservoir so you can see
We always have the lettuce raft bubbling away in the grow room no matter which other projects we are currently growing.
Nothing like steak and fresh lettuce salad!
Here's how it works
Plants are grown in tiny net pots that
sit in a styrofoam raft. The raft floats right on a shallow pan of
nutrient solution, which acts as the reservoir. The roots grow right
through the net pots and into the solution pan. A small air pump and
bubbler keeps the nutrient solution well aerated and delivers oxygen to
the roots of the plants.
A fun, easy-care and prolific system!
Think Big! Learn to build a large Lettuce Raft System [2X4 raft for 20 plants!] Read all about it here: Simon's Simple Hydroponic Plans.
Not ready for a large garden yet?, Get started below with our small raft lettuce mini-farm [6 plants] free plans!
BUILD A SMALL LETTUCE RAFT SYSTEM
This is a lettuce growing machine!
If you start some new seeds every 30 days, and replace each head of
lettuce as you harvest with a new baby seedling, you can have a
perpetual supply of crisp, healthy salad greens.
The setup we provide
here can grow six heads of lettuce at a time, and the whole unit costs
less than $50 (not including a lamp and food).
of the materials are available from Home Depot or Walmart. A few items
must come from a hydroponics supplier (but we give you a good cheap
reservoir pan (Sterilite 34 qt Latch Box tote works well) this bin is
about 23½ X 14½ X 6” deep on the inside [Walmart]
- Can of cheap flat back spray paint [Walmart]
- Aquarium air pump, 6 feet of airline tubing, “T” connector & 5” airstone [Walmart]
styrofoam sheet, 1-1/2 to 2” thick; cut a piece to fit inside the
reservoir pan. You can buy a 4X8 foot sheet at Home Depot for about
$15. It seems a shame to buy a huge sheet of it for one little piece,
but you can always save it for use later when you are ready to build
your big 2X4 foot lettuce raft! An alternative is to cut a slab from an old styrofoam ice chest of the right thickness.
- 6- 2” net cups: Cheap Hydro Supplies
- Small bag of LECA (Hydroton or clay balls), [hydroponics supply or ebay]
Styrofoam building insulation, 2” thick air pump kit
- Power drill; 1-3/4” or 1-7/8” hole saw & a 2” hole saw
(Borrow a hole saw kit or buy one, you will definitely use it again).
- Jigsaw, coping saw, or table saw to cut the styrofoam
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