The Urban Farmer, Issue #080 * Kratky Unleashed * GH Winter Garden * Share your
“A garden must combine the poetic and the
mysterious with a feeling of serenity and joy.”
~ 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)
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)
Place to set up your lettuce beds
This setup should come in at under $30
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.
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
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:
UPDATE ON OUR WINTER GARDEN
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
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