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.
I've also attached a PDF file of one of Dr. Kratky's papers outlining his method and how it works... if you want to get all "sciency."
Step 1: What you'll need
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
Step 2: Where to grow
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.