Do you wish to grow healthy, luscious herbs and leafy vegetables? Don’t worry! Having a year- round supply of fresh crisp hydroponic lettuce leaves, herbs beans, cucumber, spinach, and other appetizing fresh foods is easy and achievable with homemade hydroponics. Hydroponics is gaining attention of most urban growers these days because its simplicity and minimal usage of scarce natural resources. Home gardeners can make their own hydroponics system to grow chemical –free hydroponic lettuce, tomatoes, herbs, and even fruits, providing healthy life to your near and dear ones.
The nutrient value of lettuces and the ease of growing them hydroponically make it a preferred choice of many home gardeners. Hydroponics is done in a soilless environment, which means it is clean to handle and work with. Lettuces are hassle-free plants and least demanding in growth factors. These are water-loving plants, and you can grow them using any of the hydroponic systems like water culture system, NFT, and Ebb and Flow system. It is relatively easier to make a DWC (deep-water culture) system at home for growing lettuce than the other two hydroponic systems. If you’re opting for DWC for growing lettuce at your home, you would need a 5-gallon or 32 liters opaque container, which is about 6″ – 8″ deep, acting as a nutrient reservoir. Do not allow light to shine through the reservoir or else it will promote algal growth. You need a submersible grow pump. Take a piece of 1 ½” – 2″ Styrofoam sheet that fits just below the rim of the container. Take few two inches net cups, and place these about 8″ apart on the Styrofoam sheet. Healthy lettuce leaves grow beyond the edges of the grow sheets and overshadow other plants cutting off their light supply, so it is important to maintain the right space between the plants. Insert the lettuce seedlings in the growth cubes and keep in water for 2 weeks before you plant them in pots. Fill the net pots with pH neutral growing medium like hydroton pebbles and then transfer the seedlings. Fill the reservoir to the top with recommended nutrient solutions. You can add 2 teaspoons of the pre-made solution, 2 teaspoons of calcium nitrate, and 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt to enrich the nutrient solution. Connect the pump and switch it on.
Lettuce requires around 18 hours of light per day to grow up to their full potential. Use a fluorescent light if you’re growing indoors, or else establish the hydroponics system where sunlight is sufficient. Maintain the concentration and pH of the nutrients, and if all goes well, you’ll be reaping your first lettuce harvest in a month.