Have you ever heard of hydroponic lettuce? Do you know how it is cultivated and why it is done with a special cultivation method? If you like to eat organic food but don’t have enough space in your home, this can be a good way to have lettuce.
Now, how can it be cultivated? What makes lettuce special when it is hydroponic? We tell you all about her below.
What is hydroponic lettuce
If you have never heard of hydroponic lettuce before, you should know that it is actually a lettuce. Surely the same variety that you usually eat daily at home. The difference with it is that it grows in water thanks to some nutritive solutions that are added to the water so that it can grow.
Actually, there are no special varieties to plant in this way, but practically all the varieties that exist and that exist within the lettuce can be used.
However, this method does have multiple advantages, both for the farmer and for the consumer. Hence, right now it is booming and that you can also do it at home to have your own lettuce.
But how to grow hydroponic lettuce?
If you are interested in knowing more about the topic of growing hydroponic lettuce, then we are going to give you the steps you need to know to do it.
Choose the variety of lettuce
As we have told you before, almost all varieties of lettuce can be grown with the hydroponic system. Although it is true that there are some varieties that are more common because they adapt better. For example, French lettuce, Bibb, Roman (although this takes longer), butterhead lettuce or loose leaf.
All of them work well with the hydroponic system, although some may take longer to give results (like the Roman). Even so, they are one of the most used.
Build or install the hydroponic growing system
One of the most important aspects of hydroponic growing is having your system built right. The truth is that you can find many types on the market, but we are not talking about having a container full of water and roots. That’s actually not hydroponics, but aquaponics. The hydroponic system is characterized by a culture in a medium other than the soil, generally related to water (hence the hydro) but there is much more. In reality, perlite, coconut fiber, rice husks work… Now, it is true that many grow lettuce hydroponic through a solution of water and nutrients (or fertilizer) that comes into contact with the roots of the lettuce to nourish them . And this solution is replaced and renewed to always provide the nutrients that the plant will need.
In other words, the lettuce seedlings will be growing on perlite, coconut fiber, vermiculite… a totally different environment than soil. And, at the same time, they will be in contact with that solution of water and fertilizer.
Therefore, we are talking about an easy system, but one that requires a good installation to be successful.
Plant seeds or seedlings
There is a difference between planting seeds and seedlings. If they are seeds, you must first wait for them to grow a little to be able to put them in this system (they have to be planted in seedbeds). If they are seedlings you can definitely install them in this system.
Considering that you buy seedlings (because they are faster) and in a margin of 5-6 weeks you could have your lettuce ready, you should plant them in pots with grids and floating platforms. They are different from the pots you know, but if you have a pool they will surely remind you of the baskets in the treatment plant where all the dirt is collected.
It is done in this way to avoid that the roots are isolated and can develop practically free to reach the water where they are going to grow.
Buy an aquarium pump
One of the problems with growing in water is that it can spoil or rot in a short time. So that this does not happen, we recommend having an aquarium pump that oxygenates the water. In this way you will prevent the roots from suffocating.
Keep in mind that when carrying hydroponic nutrients, you will need them to be moved continuously (otherwise they will sink to the bottom and not reach the correct place).
We have the lettuces, the hydroponic system. Now we would lack nutrients. We are not going to tell you that it is easy to find them, because the truth is that it is not, but it is not impossible either.
In the case of growing hydroponic lettuce, this will be made up of potassium, calcium and magnesium, which are the elements that this vegetable will require the most.
Hydroponic lettuce cultivation
Now that you have everything, it’s time to assemble it and make sure that you are going to meet the needs of hydroponic lettuce. That is to say:
- Which has 10 to 14 hours of fluorescent light. In reality, it is not necessary that it be in the sun, but with the fluorescent lamp it will be enough because it also provides heat.
- Keep the temperature between 12 and 23ºC. You don’t need a high temperature to get ahead, quite the opposite.
- Keep the water at a pH between 5.5 and 6.5 to prevent the lettuce from coming out too acidic (or too little).
After approximately 6 weeks you will be able to harvest it.
What are the advantages of hydroponic lettuce?
At the beginning of this article we told you that hydroponic lettuce has multiple advantages compared to the usual cultivation of lettuce.
Among them, we can highlight the following:
- It is more ecological. Due to the fact that you are only going to spend a little water, the one it needs to grow. But nothing else.
- It pays off. Because you save on fertilizers, pesticides and other problems that can involve an economic outlay.
- They are cheaper. Because they do not increase the costs of growing them, which can make them cheaper for the consumer.
- They are safer. In fact, they have stronger controls than soil lettuces and that makes them more organic.
- They have no contaminants. As they are not on the ground, they do not come into contact with animals or with elements that could contaminate them. Nor do you have to use strong disinfectants to clean them afterwards.
Now that you know what hydroponic lettuce is like and how it is grown, would you dare to have them at home and always eat them fresh daily?