media. Gently place the cube and its start in the
7. FEED THE PLANTS.
pot, then add media all around the sides and top of Slowly pour the bucket of mixed plant food into the
the plant until it’s snugly in place (Figure G). Water tray. The food isn’t poured onto the plant directly; it’s
the plant to finish the process. Set each pot into the poured into the tray, and it wicks up into the roots of
flood table. the plant through the holes in the bottom of the 4"
pots. Set the bucket under the drip emitter to catch
the water and nutrients as they drip out (Figure I).
6. MIX THE NU TRIENTS.
Fertilizer for hydroponic gardens can be confusing,
so keep it as simple as you can. This garden uses
Alice’s Garden All Purpose Plant Food. You can Once the water has dripped out of the tray and
also try FoxFarm Liquid Plant Food, and the Flora back into the bucket, cover the bucket with its lid,
Series from General Hydroponics. Plants grown as the plant food is photosensitive. Water the plants
hydroponically need all their nutrients to come every day. If they seem wilty, water them twice daily.
from the water. They require 2 types of nutrients: The mixed nutrients will be eaten by the plants,
macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potas- and the water will also be consumed, so add more
sium) as well as micronutrients (molybdenum, zinc, water to the mixture in the bucket as necessary.
cobalt, manganese, and others). Since this garden If the plant food starts to get a funky smell, make
just grows lettuce, herbs, and small veggies, avoid a fresh batch. Otherwise, replace the nutrient and
complicated formulas, but be aware that not all water mixture every 7 to 10 days.
fertilizers are suitable for hydroponics. They must
offer both micro- and macronutrients.
Fill the 5gal bucket with water. Add the fertilizer
per the instructions, and mix thoroughly (Figure H).
When the lettuce is mature, make a huge salad, and
then start your garden up again! ×