Introduction: Low Income Hydroponics System: Lettuce
The goal of this project was to develop as cost efficient a system as possible that allows the (relatively) quick production of vegetables on a limited budget. Most of the items required can be purchased on Amazon.com or from your local hardware or pet store.
I set a goal of $20 or less to build out this system without any special skills required.
Step 1: Component List & Prices
1 - 18 Qt Hefty Tub $5.49
1 - Lettuce Nutrients $0.68
6 - 2" Plastic Grow Pots $1.08
1 - Air Stone $2.77
1 - Air Pump $7.12
1 - 2 Feet of Air Tubing $0.40
1 - Check Valve $1.88
6 - Rockwool $0.48
Total Cost = $19.90
Step 2: Setup
The system setup is quite simple and only requires a drill with one 1/4 inch bit and one 2 inch hole saw bit.
- Trace the net pot upside down on the inside lid of the Hefty Container. You want to leave room between each pot so you can fit 6 total on the lid.
- Use the 2 inch hole saw bit on your drill to drill out the 6 circles you just made on the lid.
- Switch to the 1/4 inch bit and drill a hole in the lid in one corner where you will run your airline tubing out from.
- Pick a very sunny window, or if you live in a warmer climate, a sunny outdoor location to place your system.
- Use warm water and fill the box with 4 gallons.
- Add in 5 tsp of the nutrient mix and mix well.
- Put the air stone in the bottom of the Hefty box and run the air line in through the upside down top and into the air stone itself.
- Place the lid on the bow upside down
Install the Check valve between the air line coming from the air stone and the air pump. The check valve should have a small arrow on it indication the direction of the air flow - make sure this arrow is pointing towards the air stone.
Insert the free end of the air line into the pump and plug in.
- Push the rockwool down into the net pots so that they are sitting in the water some.
- Add your seeds to the center of the rockwool once it has soaked up the water some - maybe 5-10 minutes
- Sit back and watch - just make sure to keep the water level up so that the bottom of the pots remain in contact. Once you have a strong root system, they can easily pull the water up if it slips below a little
Step 3: Plant Seeds
Once you have the setup complete, simply plant your favorite seeds in the rockwool and sit back. I have been harvesting lettuce in 24-28 days...
Enjoy your inexpensive and healthy crop!