hydroponic lettuce garden from plastic bottles (grow bottles)

by:HongXing     2020-05-04
I don\'t have the land to grow the garden, but I do have windows that are sunny enough.
I would like a compact, low maintenance way to grow lettuce and other small plants that grow quickly.
My goal is: cheap: I don\'t want to spend too much money on this project, so cheap is good and better for free.
After all, that\'s why we do it ourselves, right?
I get almost all the material from the recycling bins for work or other household items.
A few items you have to buy are less than $10 and provide enough material for many of these bottles.
It\'s easy: no expensive tools or equipment, no expertise, only scissors, and a \"exacto knife\" or other sharp knife. Low maintenance.
Once you install it, it doesn\'t need watering, fertilizing, using electricity: there is no air or water pump.
When the water level drops, the roots obtain oxygen by forming an air root above the surface of the water.
Materials are easy to find: Materials for this project can be found anywhere anyone.
You can use almost any plastic bottle with a relatively smooth side, ranging from 24 ounces to 2 liters.
Water bottles, water bottles, fruit smoothies, square bottles, round bottles, etc.
The growth medium is made from an easy to find product for $5 and you can get enough to fill hundreds of bottles.
So far I\'m still trying to use the water in the fish tank as fertlizer and it works fine.
It has worked very well so far.
These plants are healthy and grow rapidly.
The roots look healthy and have no signs of decay and lack of oxygen.
The leaves are beautiful and green with no signs of undernutrition.
The water ploughing system should also work better or better than the soil-based system, otherwise what is the point. It\'s compact.
The smaller bottles account for about 3 inch of the windowsill, and the larger bottles account for the windowsill (2 liter)
The bottles only make up 5 inch, so you can put a few in the window.
You can also hang the bottle with the vertical space of the window.
I\'m also working on a simple way to hang them.
I will post that part when I get it right. too.
Material neededA plastic bottle: any size larger than 23 ounces.
The large 2L bottle works well, but the small bottle works well with small plants like lettuce.
You only grow it for about a month, so it doesn\'t need to be big.
In addition, the sides must be fairly straight and smooth, especially near the \"shoulder.
Bottles with lots of grooves or ridges don\'t work well.
I have used round bottles and square bottles and they all work well.
The plastic slightly thicker and harder bottle works well.
A plastic mesh shower sponge.
They are made up of about 10 feet of the mesh and are actually a medium air traffic pipe that is folded into a tight shape by the mesh.
One of them is enough mesh holes to make dozens of growing bottles.
Scissors: nothing special.
Sharp knife: a very sharp tool knife or sharp knife.
Aluminum foil: protect the roots from direct sunlight.
I planted a plant without foil for a few weeks and it doesn\'t seem to really hurt the roots, but they do stay away from the sun instead of falling straight like everyone else.
If the roots and liquid media are exposed to direct sunlight, you may also have problems with algae, which will quickly consume nutrients and pollute the water.
If this is important to you, you may use something that looks better. (
Update: After a few weeks, plants without foil around the reservoir did have serious algae problems and were significantly smaller than covered plants)
Tape: plain transparent office tape.
Seed: I use lettuce because it grows very fast and has a shallow root system.
Although I use red leaf lettuce, the Bibb lettuce obviously works well.
Try other things and let me know how they work.
Large factories obviously need bigger bottles.
There are hundreds of seeds inside a pack of lettuce seeds, so you don\'t have to buy a lot and share the extras.
Growth medium: you can buy a ready-made medium for water farming growth, but it is very expensive.
You can easily make growth media from the fertilizer and epsom salt purchased in the store, which includes homemade calcium and trace egg shell extractsnutrients.
A small box of fertilizer costs about $3, and a box of epsom salt costs about 99 cents.
You only use a small part of it, so even the smallest box of fertilizer can make enough medium for hundreds of growth bottles.
Assuming you eat eggs occasionally, the eggshells are basically free.
An egg shell dissolved in lemon juice is enough to hold a few bottles of trace nutrients.
I started my seed with a plastic egg box full of earthy seeds and started mixing.
When they have a few real leaves, I transplant them to the growing bottle.
You can start the seeds directly in the finished growing bottle.
This will be easier for seedlings and prevent transplant shocks.
Don\'t want to spend money on seed dressing?
Pick up the shovel, tro knife or hand and go outside.
In the Woods of the heavy soil, no one will miss it.
It\'s a bit of a scam if you\'re a real water ploughing purist, because technically water ploughing doesn\'t use soil, but I\'m not going to tell you if you\'re going to make egg box seed starters, go and buy some eggs, fine eggs in clear plastic boxes.
In your growth medium you will use eggshells and the eggs are delicious so there is nothing to waste.
There are three folding sections in the plastic carton;
Place two \"egg cups\" sections of the egg and a flat cover.
Cut off the flat cover and use it as a tray for water.
Then poke some holes in each egg cup to let the water out.
Use another part of the egg cup as a lid to form a dozen small greenhouses.
Pour it water once, plant the seeds out and put them for a week.
Cut the top of the bottle from about half an inch below the \"shoulder\" of the bottle.
The exact height of each bottle will vary.
As long as you cut on a straight horizontal side rather than the narrow part of the bottle towards the neck, you should be fine.
Leave a straight edge of about half an inch in the \"top\" section of the bottle, so that when you flip it, it grabs the side of the \"bottom.
Track this line with marks (such as stacks of books) placed on highly correct objects.
Carefully puncture the plastic with the blade, along the wire cut.
Walk slowly and if you go too fast, it\'s easy to cut a curved line.
You may want to cut a pull ring on one side so you can easily remove the top.
Cut a hole the size of a dime (or several)
About an inch below the top.
This provides airflow for the base root chamber.
It also allows you to add or remove water after the system is set up.
The Turkish kettle is very good to add water, you just need to pour it out of this hole to remove water.
To prevent overflow, you can cover the hole with tape.
Cut a hole in the lid, but do not pipe the thread.
Be very careful with a sharp exacto knife.
Put the hat upside down on a book with a little on the side.
Hold it firmly and make sure that no part of your hand is under the hat in case the knife is poking too far.
Poke the inside of the cap down with the exacto knife, at the edge.
You will notice that the blade will be cut in one direction.
Keep poking the blade through, about one blade width from the previous cut, so the blade will be cut back once.
I told you to be careful so don\'t come to me and cry if you cut yourself.
You were warned.
Take your mesh shower scrunchie and cut off the rope that connects it together so the whole thing can be undone.
Cut off a little mesh, just a few inches, and stretch it on the mouth of the bottle.
Then twist the lid on it.
Reduce the excess.
Finally, you should cover a funnel with a mesh at the mouth.
This will prevent plants and supporting media from falling into the water.
The roots of your plants need support, especially on the surface of the water.
If there is no support, the roots of the air will gather together, and the oxygen absorbed will not be so much.
Take the long tube mesh and knot at one end.
Tighten the knot and cut off the excess.
Cut off about 6 inch of the mesh so you have a mesh bag with a knot at the bottom.
Put everything together to see how they are installed and work out your water level.
Place the net basket around the inverted funnel so that the net basket will hang loosely, about an inch below the funnel mouth.
Don\'t lean it tightly against the funnel, you need some space between the funnel and the root support grid.
Now push the funnel down into the base in order to keep the net basket between the funnel and the base.
If everything is well combined, mark the side of the bottle at the level of the funnel mouth.
The easiest way is to pour some water until there is little contact with the water at the funnel mouth.
If you are using fertlizer to make the water tilling long medium, this is the formula I used and has been a good success so far. in 1 L (32 oz)
Water, dissolve: 1/8 teaspoon, keep the bright blue brand plant food unknown.
1/16 teaspoon epsom salt.
You can buy this at any pharmacy.
Regular foods that do not contain any aloe, mint, spices or other additives.
5 drops of egg shell extract (see below)(
Second update: I have updated the media recipe to half of the previous recipe.
I have been using half power recipes (shown above)
These plants have been large, healthy and growing fast for several weeks now. )
For calcium and trace nutrients, we will use eggshells dissolved in lemon juice, which produces citrate and a range of other dissolved elements.
This also helps buffer pH, as growth media tend to be too basic (high pH).
The eggshells contain calcium, magnesium and all the other trace nutrients needed by the plant, with a ratio of about the right. How convenient!
Take an egg shell, keep the film intact and let it dry.
Then crush it as thin as possible, film and everything.
Then use these methods to dissolve it in lemon juice: Juice of 1/2 teaspoon of dry eggshells and half a lemon (
About 1/2 tablespoons).
Put it in a covered glass or jar for the night to dissolve.
It is OK if it is a bit rough or some does not dissolve.
This is enough for 2l\'s growth medium, so just add half (about 1 tbsp)
If you are doing a 1 liter batch.
I\'m still trying to use the fish tank water, so I\'ll post another note if it succeeds. So far so good.
In fact, there seems to be a wider root system for bottles with fish tank water. (
Fish water update)
The fish-water experiment had unusual results.
The roots of plants growing in fish tank water are very extensive, but the growth of leaves is significantly reduced.
I have to collect more data to see if it\'s just accidental or the actual impact of growing the media.
If you are transplanted from the seedlings, gently dig out the seedlings around the roots with a little seed starter meda and put the root ball into the funnel and gently press it on the cap.
Remove excess soil if not appropriate.
You should only have enough medium to keep the stem upright, maybe one inch deep enough to fill the cap.
Pour a little water into the funnel and let it drain through the mouth (
In a bowl or something).
This will rinse out some particles that will otherwise cloud your water.
It also helps flush the roots down through the grid.
If you start the seeds in the funnel, simply fill the lid with about an inch of seed starter, soil, sand or bentonite and plant the seeds.
I know that technically, starting seeds from dirt or something like dirt is not a pure hydroponics, but I really don\'t care.
If you are a true water ploughing purist, start the seeds with vermiculite stone, peat, rock wool or whatever you like.
Once your seeds or plants enter the funnel, fill the bottom with growth medium until the line you mark in step 7 and then assemble the bottle.
Place the mesh root support bag around the inverted funnel so that the mesh hangs loosely, about an inch below the funnel mouth.
Don\'t lean it tightly against the funnel, you need some space between the funnel and the root support grid.
Now push the funnel down into the base in order to keep the net basket between the funnel and the base.
Cover the area below the water level with foil to block some light.
I just loosely wrap the skirt with foil and loosely wrap it with tape so I can take it down and check the roots.
This system requires little care once the assembly is complete.
You don\'t need to water or feed it.
The shape of the funnel will keep the plants upright when they grow, but you may want to rotate the bottles so that they don\'t tilt to the sun and become unbalanced.
The water level should drop once the factory starts using water.
This will expose the upper part of the root, which is good.
You want roots to breathe.
The air holes allow enough air flow to allow the roots to breathe without drying them.
The exposed upper roots do not dry because the enclosed air space above the surface of the water is very humid.
You should see this area covered with condensate soon.
Keep the roots submerged until the roots pass through the mesh bag a few inches.
This will ensure that the roots at high altitude do not stick together.
If the water level falls not fast enough, pour a little water so that the upper part of the root is on the surface of the water.
The roots should be exposed about 1/3.
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