Hydroponic Lettuce Gardening Tips, Techniques

Hydroponic Lettuce Gardening.
Hydroponic Lettuce Gardening.

Hydroponic Lettuces Gardening Techniques

Today, we discuss the topic of hydroponic lettuce gardening tips, techniques, and ideas. The meaning of gardening has been changed a lot with the emerging science of hydroponics. Hydroponics has made gardening easy as it does not call for huge backyard areas or digging the soil for preparing your field to raise plants. For hydroponic even your balcony, porch or even a corner of your living room is enough. So no more dedicated garden area, no more soil plowing, all you need is a container to harvest best of vegetables and fresh herbs.

Lettuce is nowadays becoming the most desired ingredient in salads, burgers, and sandwiches. Because of its crispy and nutrient enriched leaves, it is most desired leafy vegetable, especially in metro cities. So when we have the technique to reap and harvest best of produce so why not have our own lettuce garden!! Home-grown lettuce is far superior in both taste and nutrient as we can easily regulate and look after its production. Hence Hydroponic lettuce systems are best to the store-bought alternative!.

Growing Lettuce in Hydroponics.
Growing Lettuce in Hydroponics.

Lettuce is becoming one of the favorites for new hydroponic growers and is one of the most widespread plants grown amongst hydroponic growers. Hydroponic lettuce is surprisingly easy to cultivate and boost great confidence in beginner hydroponic enthusiast the reason for this being is that it can be raised in temperate and tropical climates. It is productive for gardeners because both the stems and leaves can be eaten. Hydroponic lettuce grows fast and does not require much space and low maintenance crop under the hydroponic system. In today’s writing, we will discuss Starting lettuce for hydroponics.

Raising hydroponic lettuce is one of the easiest and best ways to start out hydroponic gardening. If it’s done rightly, within a short period of time, you will observe that it is enjoyable, easy and quite productive. Hydroponic setups can be simple or as complex as you wish for, and a basic hydroponic system is usually well to grow lettuce in water and is within reach of anybody with some basic DIY skill.

Read: Growing Beets in Container.

Lettuce varieties

Lettuces are often categorized by their leaf type or head formation. The primary categories of lettuce types may be grouped as follows:

Leaf lettuce

There are three kinds of leaf lettuce commonly grown: red, green, and oak. They don’t have a “head” on them because the leaves arise from a single stalk. For this reason, leaf lettuce is usually more perishable than the head varieties. Red leaf lettuce has a burgundy tint and mild flavor, alike to that of green leaf, while the oak leaf is spicier

Romaine Lettuce

With its long, slightly bitter leaves and sturdy, sweeter centers, romaine provides a robust and crunchy. Most often used in famous caesar salads. This variety of lettuce is usually robust about 8 to 12″ tall and upright growing with thick ribs and tightly folded, spoon-shaped leaves. Often darker green on the outside, the interior leaves are light green or white colored. Romaine varieties of lettuce are usually grown for their baby leaves for salad mixes.

Iceberg Lettuce

It is the most popular type of lettuce. Iceberg is crisp and vigorous, but it’s not as flavorful and nutritious as other lettuces. It contains more water content than the other lettuce. It is known as crisphead lettuce. Iceberg Lettuce Hydroponic is quite famous because of its vigour growth and low maintenance.

Boston lettuce

There are two different kinds of butterhead lettuce: Boston and Bibb. The Boston variety has small, round, and loosely shaped heads with soft, supple leaves that bruise easily. It’s larger and fluffier than Bibb lettuce. This kind is undoubtedly the main greenhouse kind.  As a delicate variety, on the outside butterhead is soft, loose, and ruffled green and on the inside, it’s creamy to light green colored. It is almost exclusively grown to full-head size for harvesting.

Bibb lettuce

Bibb lettuce, on the other hand, is sweet and extra small, bears a head size of a fist. It’s also quite expensive at least twice the price of iceberg lettuce.

Yugoslavian Red Lettuce

This bibb lettuce variety not only looks wonderful but tastes great too. It features red to purple-spots throughout its leaves. It is ready to be harvested in only 55 days and has a mild buttery flavor.

Rex Lettuce

This lettuce variety isn’t recommended for outdoor gardening; however, is perfect for growing lettuce indoors. The lettuce is recommended for hydroponic growing. Their thick leaves have a high resistance to mildew and are also tolerant to tip burn.

Burpee Bibb lettuce

This lettuce variety is considered “The sweetest bibb lettuce “It takes a much longer time to mature than other varieties.

Butter Crunch Lettuce

This variety is a must grow; there is a good reason why it is one of the most desirable for setting up the Buttercrunch lettuce hydroponics system because its leaves are good to store, is crisp and it is recognized for its rich flavor.

Read: Water Culture Hydroponic System.

Hydroponic system for lettuce gardening

There are various kinds of hydroponic systems that you can grow plants in, which include aeroponic systems, NFT systems, drip systems, ebb-flow systems, and many more.

Water culture systems, where roots of plants grow down and absorb nutrients while plants float directly on top of the water, are recommended for growing lettuce at home because of the simplicity of the system. For large production or when you have decided to grow lettuce only, nutrient film method is the best suited hydroponic system for lettuce gardening.

This is a hydroponic system to raise plants hydroponically, which involves a thin film of liquid nutrients, which flow over a plant’s roots in a recirculating arrangement. It often consists of the plants being placed in troughs and put on a table or rack at an angle so that the water will stream down the trough, then out into a common drain line that will be drained back to the tank. When the system is perfectly installed, you’ll have continuous movement of the hydroponic lettuce nutrients solution with no stagnation in the trough. In case of standing water, the system would not permit the right exchange of oxygen through the roots; it will lead to the plant poor growth due to stress.

Advantages of nutrient film technique NFT

Overall, growers commonly prefer an NFT system over others because of its flexibility, low maintenance needs and also a low-cost investment. But there are plenty of other benefits of growing lettuce in the nutrient film technique:

  • Very expandable and modular.
  • Simple to observe the health and quality of the root.
  • Prevents the need to using lots of growing media.
  • Recirculating, which makes it a sustainable system.
  • The constant flow of nutrient solution prevents salt accumulation in the root area.
  • Low consumption of nutrient and water.
  • Disinfecting the setup and plant roots is simple.

Choose a growing medium for Hydroponic Lettuce Gardening

You have lots of growing media options to select from, which includes sand, pine shavings, coco peat, river rock, rock wool, vermiculite, perlite and many more. These types of options have their own advantages and disadvantages; however, though choosing any one of them will let you grow lettuce without an issue. The most commonly used growth medium option in lettuce hydroponics is Rockwool and is both porous and sterile means won’t react and affect the growth of lettuce. While using Rockwool as a growing medium, be careful to keep it from getting too saturated or soggy.  As it can result in root rot, stem rot, and root suffocation because of less oxygen supply. Another widely used option is to grow rock, which holds the moisture well and has a neutral pH. You can use it again if cleaned thoroughly, which can be a great help for growing hydroponic lettuce at home; however, it may become tiresome when growing on a bigger scale.

There are various kinds of hydroponic systems that you can grow plants in, which include aeroponic systems, NFT systems, drip systems, ebb-flow systems, and many more.

Water culture systems, where roots of plants grow down and absorb nutrients while plants float directly on top of the water, are recommended for growing lettuce at home because of the simplicity of the system. For large production or when you have decided to grow lettuce only, nutrient film method is the best suited hydroponic system for lettuce gardening.

This is a hydroponic system to raise plants hydroponically, which involves a thin film of liquid nutrients, which flow over a plant’s roots in a recirculating arrangement. It often consists of the plants being placed in troughs and put on a table or rack at an angle so that the water will stream down the trough, then out into a common drain line that will be drained back to the tank. When the system is perfectly installed, you’ll have continuous movement of the hydroponic lettuce nutrients solution with no stagnation in the trough. In case of standing water, the system would not permit the right exchange of oxygen through the roots; it will lead to the plant poor growth due to stress.

Advantages of nutrient film technique NFT in Hydroponic Lettuce Gardening

Advantages of NFT.
Advantages of NFT.

Read: How to Grow Sweet Corn at Home.

Overall, growers commonly prefer an NFT system over others because of its flexibility, low maintenance needs and also a low-cost investment. But there are plenty of other benefits of growing lettuce in the nutrient film technique:

Very expandable and modular

Simple to observe the health and quality of the root

Prevents the need to using lots of growing media

Recirculating, which makes it a sustainable system

A constant flow of nutrient solution prevents salt accumulation in the root area

Low consumption of nutrient and water

Disinfecting the setup and plant roots is simple

Choose a growing medium for Hydroponic Lettuce Gardening

You have lots of growing media options to select from, which includes sand, pine shavings, coco peat, river rock, Rockwool, vermiculite, perlite and many more. These types of options have their own advantages and disadvantages; however, though choosing any one of them will let you grow lettuce without an issue. The most commonly used growth medium option in lettuce hydroponics is Rockwool and is both porous and sterile means won’t react and affect the growth of lettuce. While

using Rockwool as a growing medium, be careful to keep it from getting too saturated or soggy.  As it can result in root rot, stem rot, and root suffocation because of less oxygen supply. Another widely used option is to grow rock, which holds the moisture well and has a neutral pH. You can use it again if cleaned thoroughly, which can be a great help for growing hydroponic lettuce at home; however, it may become tiresome when growing on a bigger scale.

Hydroponics Lettuce Seeds

As lettuce seeds become older they get start losing viability, and the rate of germination also decreases incredibly. Make sure you use seeds, which are viable for the current growing season. You can buy seeds of your preferred lettuce variety from any store as well as from online sites.

Starter cubes used for germination should be well moistened. Place the seeds into the cubes holes. You will require about five seeds per cube, expecting that few may not germinate and the ones that are weak can be removed out afterward.

They need to be put on a grow tray and watered every day with simple water without any nutrient solution till they germinate and sprouting starts. After the seeds have sprouted, you can use half strength of the nutrient solution.

Read: Organic Celery Gardening.

Transplanting in Hydroponic Lettuce Gardening:

As soon as the seedlings are germinating, thin out the additional seedlings leaving in each cube only that lettuce seedling which appears the fittest. A few of the thinned out lettuce plants might be ideal for transplanting elsewhere. When roots start to appear, and seedlings reach a height of 2 to 3″ that’s about fourteen to twenty-one days, bearing three to four true leaves, your seedlings are all set to leave the nest and go into the system.

Keep in mind that if you chose to make use of transplants from soil be absolutely certain any soil sticking to the roots is washed off thoroughly prior to placing the plants in a hydroponic lettuce system. Lettuce plantings are advised to be staggered sown roughly about three-week intervals so as to assure a constant harvest. Take care not to set seedling cubes or trays with plants on non-sterile surfaces like the ground because the seedlings may get infected with fungal spores. Be cautious when transplanting takes care not to damage the fragile roots of plants during transplanting because such damage will make the plant susceptible to disease infection. It is often advisable to transplant the plant during the late afternoon to prevent them from becoming stressed in the heat of the day.

Lettuce needs quite a cool temperature for the germination. The temperature during the pre-germination phase has to be approximately 40 °F. Once the hydroponic lettuce seeds start showing the smallest indications of sprouting, you should maintain the temperatures of about 65°F.

Hydroponic lettuce gardening light requirements

Lettuce under hydroponic system grows up vigorously with simple fluorescent lighting. It is found growing far better with the more expensive lighting purposely created for hydroponics, like HID and some of the advanced LED grow lights for indoor plants.

However, regarding cost-effectiveness, from the viewpoint of the small-scale home hydroponic grower, fluorescent lighting works the best. Offer at least fourteen hours of light every day to your growing lettuce.

Hydroponic lettuce gardening nutrient requirements

Since there’s no soil for growing lettuce indoors hydroponics to take the necessary nutrients and minerals that they need; you don’t have to be really precise with your hydroponic lettuce nutrients, since this is what has the most impact over how adequately the lettuce will grow.

If you are new to hydroponic lettuce, then it will be sensible to buy pre-made nutrient solutions that are very user-friendly. All you need is the right quantity of water to a measure of the solution which is recommended in the pack itself and you are set. Well, it is also possible to make your own nutrient solutions if you desire to put up the extra efforts.

When yellowing of leaves is detected in your growing lettuce then it’s a sign of lack of magnesium in the nutrient solution. To provide your lettuce plants the best opportunity to thrive, experienced hydroponic growers time to time add a handful of calcium nitrate and Epsom salt to the pre-made nutrient solutions, at a concentration of about a teaspoon to a gallon into the main container. This will guarantee a sufficient supply of magnesium. Another important factor affecting growth is the pH level. the pH level of the nutrient solution describes how basic or acidic it is and will determine whether or not the growing plant can perfectly absorb the nutrients available to it. You should ensure that the pH remains between 5.5 and 6.5 for hydroponic lettuce cultivation. On a regular basis examine the pH with a pH paper strip test and ensure it is a little acidic to nearly neutral to get the top hydroponic lettuce production.

Managing diseases and pests in Hydroponic Lettuce Gardening

Prevent water-borne molds by not allowing water to accumulate in the system or by properly sterilizing equipment majorly the setup.

If you’re having problems with water-borne molds and other diseases, sanitize your equipment by using 2 percent bleach solution.

Sterilize all tanks, reservoirs, pots, and any other equipment that has or supplies water mainly that will come into contact with the lettuce.

You should replace any hydroponic lettuce production media from time to time.

Reduce direct sunlight to prevent the growth of algae if you are placing your hydroponic setup outside. Algae often flourish in the damp environments of a hydroponic garden. But algae need direct sunlight to grow so if you are using grow light the problem is minimized. In case your lettuce is subjected to direct sunlight during the daytime, place a shade over the growing plants.

Keep away insect pests using sticky traps and screens. Ensure any nearby window is protected with a fine-mesh insect screen.

Make sure there’s proper circulation of air in the system to prevent mildew and bacteria.

Hydroponic gardens need to be properly aerated to help the plants get the air they require and prevent the growth of bacteria and molds.

Leave a window or door near to the plants, or consider installing a vent with an exhaust fan if you’re cultivating the lettuce in an enclosed area.

Why hydroponic lettuce gardening is rewarding?

Hydroponic lettuce also grows more rapidly compared to other lettuce in soil. This is mainly because the roots don’t need to spread out looking for nutrients in the soil. This is an additional benefit, meaning you’ll make money in a short time comparatively.

You won’t be passing on any sort of soil-borne diseases to your lettuce which is a real concern for most gardeners.

You can grow the lettuce anywhere in bedroom, greenhouse, balcony, rooftop, garage, window ledge or anywhere no more dependency on the soil.

If you start planting initial seeds by one week for four weeks, you will have long-term lettuce yields. Mostly the Lettuce takes 4 weeks to grow.

You will not need to kill any soil loving pests so you will not have to pay for any costly pesticides. For that reason, your lettuce will grow organic and healthy.

Hydroponic lettuce is expected to grow an average of 40 percent more than other plants grown traditionally in soil. This is simply because you have manipulated and maintained the growing conditions in accordance with the suitability of lettuce variety being grown in the hydroponic system. This way Lettuce plants will also have access to all the nutrients they necessitate through the nutrient present in the hydroponic setup.

Maintenance time is reduced to a great extent. You do not have to water hydroponic lettuce since all the nutrients are already there and the operation of weeding doesn’t exist with the hydroponic plant growing. All you will need to do is harvest your lettuce as soon as it is ready.

There will be no competition for air, water and space in the hydroponic system due to the absence of weed and nutrient availability and light conditions can be adjusted according to the requirement and growth pattern.

That’s all folks about Hydroponic Lettuce Gardening Techniques, keep gardening!.

Read: Vanilla Cultivation Guide.

2 COMMENTS

  1. In hydrophonics can we use household discharged water or it should be necessarily soft water or well water with any amount of salinity?

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