I wanted to share something new with you that I learned recently; something I love, and am very fortunate to have access to is fresh produce – I love fresh fruits and veggies. However, I did not know that plants don’t actually need soil to grow, they can actually grow in little bowls of water on your windowsill. This is called hydroponics, a form of soil less gardening.
When plants grow in the soil, they have to spend a great deal of energy developing roots to seek out the water and nutrients they need from the soil. Hydroponic gardening gives the nutrients needed directly to the roots.
Hydroponic gardens provide plants with constant nutrition and allow the plant to grow up to 50% faster than when in soil. Hydroponic gardens are year-round, which in Seattle is very accommodating. Since the one thing we can rely on here is inconsistent weather and rain. Surprisingly, using hydroponic ways to grow your garden actually uses two-thirds less water than conventional growing methods. It also uses less space, like I said my family and I are growing our own little garden on our kitchen sink windowsill. We are currently growing red onion, lettuce, bok choy, and celery.
There are many techniques so you can find which one works the best for you and your space. My family and I use a version of the Kratky method, which is a simple passive technique that doesn’t require pumps or electricity.
- First we take the heart of the veggie and cut two inches above the root
- Then we place them in mini bowl dishes (like crème brule dishes)
- Next, we submerge them in a quarter of an inch of water and place them where there is good lighting.
Plants really only need water and sunlight, so it’s important they have both. You will need to put more water in the dish every day, if you have access to filtered water – its even better because tap water can have chemicals in it. We have been growing our mini aquatic garden for a month or so – the vegetables that have really sprouted are; lettuce, bok choy and red onion – but all have sprouted. Be careful for mold, once your plants grow roots and sprout a significant amount can you actually move to the Kratky Method.
The Kratky method works best for leafy greens and herbs. You can create your own DIY version of the Kratky method at home with the following, which is from the book, The Hydoponic garden Secret, by Susan Patterson. Note, the nutrient solution listed below is what will be placed in the mason jar. You can easily buy nutrient solution or powder to mix into water. Although, you will have to check the pH levels and each vegetable requires a different pH level.
- Mason Jar
- Black paint, that way it will attract the sunlight
- Net grow pots/baskets
- 2 cups of expanded clay pebbles
- Your rooting, sprouting plant
How to make it:
- Paint the jars black and let air dry
- Fill jars with ¾ full of water
- Add nutrients
- Add net pots
- Add a thin layer of pebbles in the pot
- Carefully rinse and pull apart roots on transplants
- Set your vegetable/herb in the pot
- Add more pebbles to hold plants in place
- Place jars in an area where they will get bright light
- Top water off as needed
- Change out nutrient solution weekly
- Harvest regularly
Know that once sprouting and rooting begins on the windowsill you can move to the Kratky method, a similar method, or just go plant them in your dirt garden if you want. It’s so simple and fun, I personally love watching our little homemade garden grow on the windowsill. I highly recommend this if you just want to see what you can grow easily or are looking to have more organic produce at your fingertips.
I hope you enjoyed this blog, if you did, leave a comment below and share this message with a friend or family member.
With Gratitude and Kindness,