Here is one easy way how to grow hydro lettuce. The hydroponic gardening system pictured here is made out of 1 inch thick blue insulation foam, available at Lowes and Home Depot. Each 2' X 8' sheet can make two hydroponic systems as pictured. The foam is cut using a long bladed utility knife, to make the edges square and clean. The tank is put together using a low temperature glue gun (important).
Each finished system will be 16 inches wide, 24 inches long, and 4 inches deep. 3 inch holes for the netted pots are cut in the top, and the top simply sits on the rest of the system without being glued. As you can see from the diagram, the nutrient solution is kept at a level that keeps the bottom 1/2 inch of each pot submerged.
An aquarium air pump is used to keep the nutrient solution well aerated. Nutrients are only absorbed (by the roots of your plants) in the presence of Oxygen. If you have problems with it floating around, a stainless steel nut can be placed on the air line.
Lettuce in this system should be fed a vegetative formula at about half strength (vegetative nutrients will have more Nitrogen than Phosphorus or Potassium). If you are using Maxsea, that would be 2 level teaspoons per gallon....which comes out to about 700 ppm on a TDS meter. Don't forget to also add 1/2 teaspoon of Epsom salts per gallon if your fertilizer is Magnesium deficient (which is the case with Maxsea).
As you can see, the lettuce above grows healthy and green, and the roots below are healthy and white. Always keep light off of the nutrient solution to prevent algae growth! This is one of the most convenient ways I have found how to grow hydro lettuce.
My very best Hydroponic Tips and Tricks
I suppose when you take into consideration how much money you save NOT
having to buy food at the grocery store, it is surely cheaper to grow
your own food hydroponically even with the cost of high quality
nutrients. Nevertheless, I didn't have a whole lot of money to work with
and I needed to make my efforts as affordable and effective as
possible....and in the last 24 years I HAVE learned a thing or two!
As you browse through Jason's Indoor Guide, you will notice all of the systems that I use personally are homemade systems. As I got 3 or 4 years of experience under my belt, I quickly adopted a preference to standing water systems and systems that use expanded clay pellets or lava rock, because the media is re-usable and it eliminates a huge operating expense. So once a hydroponic system is built, garden maintenance is minimal- check and adjust the nutrient solution daily, and to change it completely every 2 weeks....and the biggest operating cost is the hydroponic nutrients. (and the electric bill, lol)...
And, regarding the cost of the nutrients....I experimented for about 3 years with making different compost teas and nutrient teas, but there is still a lot of expense $$$ associated with making high quality nutrient teas....like kelp meal, liquid seaweed, rock dust, bat guano, un-Sulfured molasses, worm castings. You can eliminate a lot of this expense by becoming an expert at making high-quality colloidal humus compost, and use your properly made compost as the basis of your hydroponic nutrient solution.
Unfortunately, I have been gardening for over 24 years and I have only
just recently mastered this difficult skill....and even then, only
because I happened to find a very easy to follow, high quality technique
and decided to follow the instructions to the letter. I produced more
high quality compost in just one week than I was able to use in a whole
year! If you can master the technique, I highly recommend it. It is one of the top 3 things you can do to
increase the productivity of your food production efforts, while at the
same time decreasing the amount of effort required to grow all of your
own food, and decreasing the total cost of operating your food
And when I say decrease operating costs, I mean decrease them to almost ZERO, especially if you are producing your own nutrients...
The ultimate solution to eliminate the cost of your hydroponic nutrients: Imagine a hydroponic system that does not require you to buy any nutrients, does not require you to make your own compost, and does not require you to brew your own nutrient tea. Seriously! No cost and no effort as far as providing nutrients to your plants! Plus, at the end of the gardening cycle you harvest all of your garden vegetables, PLUS YOU HARVEST FISH from the system--->
This solution is aquaponics. If you are serious about producing all of your own food and being self-sufficient, this is the ultimate solution for reducing expenses (as much as possible), reducing the total amount of work required, and maximizing the productivity of your gardening efforts. I have been gardening for over 24 years, and it is the perfect food production solution in my opinion.
Besides mastering how to make high quality compost, learning aquaponics is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your garden productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work. The product that I learned from is called Aquaponics4you. With all of my hydroponic gardening experience, the first time I came across the Aquaponics4you product I knew immediately that it was something very special! Place an aquaponics system outdoors and use the sun instead of grow lights, and you have reduced every garden expense to nearly ZERO!
The Same System/ 10 Weeks Later!