Experiments with Hydroponics in the Winter

In Farming, Gardening, science plants, Uncategorized on January 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm

This is black-seeded Simpson lettuce, chosen simply because I have a packet of seed that I have been using for several years now. It is growing in a homemade system that uses a 10 gallon Rubbermaid container, with 3.5 inch holes drilled in the lid to hold the mesh pots. I have been using DutchMaster nutrients for foliage growth, with only one change of nutrients over the course of 2 months. The lettuce is grown close to a T5 lighting system, on the floor of my kitchen. My family has enjoyed several salad dinners when I harvested a single plant. It quickly grows back without having to start a new plant. However, just for fun, I started some new seedlings that are trying to grow alongside the older plants. I say trying because my cat has discovered that this is a wonderful place to warm himself in the artificial sun. He pays no mind to the smaller lettuce plants.

The cucumber plants have been unsuccessful in producing fruit. The variety is supposedly parthenocarpic, meaning the female flowers make fruit without pollination. There are two plants, both produce mostly female flowers, but one of the plants bore a few male flowers. I tried using these for pollination to no avail. They are growing under a HID lamp. My house is at about 68F. At this point I am concluding that cukes need heat to set fruit. They were grown in Dutchmaster foliage nutrients until flowering occured, then I switched them to flowering nutrients. I have changed the nutrient about once per two weeks. The only good that has come from them is my little kitten, Boo, loves to be fed the young tendrils and flower petals. Go figure. I plan on switching to broccoli.

If you live in the Raleigh area, look for my article on hydroponics in Triangle Gardener.

© 2011 Sharon Settlage.  All rights reserved.

  1. Hi I am planning to use an hydroponic system for growing lettuce like yours, and also I bought Dutchmaster Nutrients Grow part A and part B, but I dont know how to use this nutrients on each growth stage of the lettuce, Can you tell me how did you use this nutrients?
    This is my first hydroponic system…!!!

    Thank you

    • I really like the online Dutchmaster calculator for nutrients : I use the Goldrange nutrient with the gold range add .27 and grew at the standard grow style without any measurement of EC. I used the same nutrient strength all the time.
      This year I’ve been using a simpler system by General Hydroponics called FloraDuo. With it I use 10 tsp of A soultion per 5 gals and 10 tsp of B solution per 5 gallons. The lettuce is growing great!

      • Oh ok!! well I will give a try with this Gold Nutrients and I hope not to kill my lettuce!! I will let you know how things go and I’ll send you some pictures .!!! but first the last question…What happened if I dont use the gold range add .27? I guess nothing happens but you are the expert.!!!


  2. LOL- I’m no expert but I think lettuce is very forgiving. I added in the 0.27 when I was trying to get indoor cucumber to set fruit. The hydroponics store talked me into it! Basically I find that lettuce grows like crazy as long as I just mix the nutrients as instructed, then I don’t bother to change the nutrients, just add more mixed solution as needed. Good luck!

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