» Coco or rockwool starting cubes
» Perlite or vermiculite
» Coco fiber or peat moss
» 4" plastic pots
» Growing tray A 12-gallon under-the-
bed plastic storage bin works perfectly.
» Drip emitters ( 2)
» 5-gallon bucket with lid
» Plant food
» Fine-grit sandpaper
» Sharp knife
» Nail and pliers
» Something to set the growing tray on
like a stool, a ledge, a pair of sawhorses,
whatever you have that may work
1. START THE SEEDS.
Place 2–3 seeds (lettuce, in this case) into a moist
seed-starting cube. Fill each cube (Figure A). I used
a seed starting kit, with a tray and lid, but it’s not
necessary. Set them in the sun, being sure to choose
a place safe from slugs and birds. In 1–2 days, the
seeds should sprout. Water them as needed until they
grow leaves (Figure B). When the leaves are looking
sturdy, carefully lift the cube to check for roots poking
out from the bottom (Figure C, next page). When the
roots are vibrant and the plant seems strong, it’s time
to transplant. This first step should take 1–2 weeks.
2. CHOOSE A FLOOD TABLE.
This system is the simplest version I could design.
If you are serious about hydroponics, consider
purchasing a readymade flood table, which is built
to fill and drain, and can easily be automated with
a pump and timer. This system uses a homemade
flood table that’s hand-filled with water.
The amount of water used in this project is 5 gallons, so choose a container for your flood table with
a capacity of 10gal–12gal. The goal is for the water
to reach about halfway up the sides of the 4" pot
when the table has been filled.
3. ADD THE DRIP EMITTERS.
Drip emitters are great little tools. Found in the irrigation supply section of most hardware stores and
nurseries, they do just what you think: drip. They
are rated based on their maximum gallons per hour
(gph). For this project, the goal is for the table to
hold 5gal of water for about 1 hour, so I used 2 drip
emitters that are each rated 2gph.
In determining where to place the drip emitters,
consider where you’ll set the growing tray, and in
turn, where you’ll place the bucket. This example