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1 gallon/5 liter bottles for hydroponics - suggestions for things that can grow in them  RSS feed

 
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I keep thinking there has got to be forum in here somewhere, but can never find it!  I am ready to dive into hydroponics.  I have more than a dozen 1 gallonish - about 5 liter - water bottles that I would like to repurpose and I was thinking that they might be useful.  I looked into tomatoes, cucumbers, etc but all suggest at least 5 gallon containers.  Does anyone have any suggestions for things that can grow in a gallonish water bottle?
 
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Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
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Hi Tom,

Look into "Kratky" hydroponics. It's a passive method of hydroponics that works really well for leafy greens. I've been successful growing lettuces and spinach in 1-gallon containers but you have to be able to keep the light out of the container and the nutrient solution cool or you'll find that most greens won't do well. I found that 1-gallon of nutrient solution is usually enough for around 30 days, depending on various environmental conditions of course. Basil, beet greens, chard & collards might also do well but I haven't tried those myself.
 
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Like Jay, I've had good results growing lettuce in a non-circulating system. I started out using gallon plastic milk jugs that I had spray painted to keep out the light. Then I eventually switched to gallon glass old wine jugs. I made slip on covers for the jugs out of old denim pants that effectively keep the light out. I've grown lettuce for home use this way for about ten years.

Another way that I'm growing with non-circulating hydroponics is by using a medium to support the roots. In my case, I'm using tumbled grass chunks (pieces are 1/4" to 1/2" diameter) that I got cheap from our recycling center. I can clean them between crops, so I'll be able to use them for the rest of my lifetime. Right now I'm using large (2 liter) wine bottles that I cut the tops off of. Then I fill them with the tumbled glass and plant the seedlings into that, then add hydroponic solution. So far I've been growing mini bokchoy and assorted Chinese greens, with great success. I'm planning on trying other crops.

The reason I'm using hydroponics is that we have a nasty parasite in Hawaii called rat-lung disease. My hydroponic set up is protected against slugs, the vector for this parasite. So with the hydroponics I feel safe eating raw veggies that I produce.
 
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Su Ba wrote:Another way that I'm growing with non-circulating hydroponics is by using a medium to support the roots. In my case, I'm using tumbled glass chunks (pieces are 1/4" to 1/2" diameter) that I got cheap from our recycling center. I can clean them between crops, so I'll be able to use them for the rest of my lifetime. Right now I'm using large (2 liter) wine bottles that I cut the tops off of. Then I fill them with the tumbled glass and plant the seedlings into that, then add hydroponic solution. So far I've been growing mini bokchoy and assorted Chinese greens, with great success.



This is giving me ideas!  I have been accumulating those squished glass marbles that they sell at garden stores (and in pouches at the dollar store) because when I buy pots and vases and things at garage sales for fifty cents it's not uncommon to get a bunch of them.  I had noticed they work really well as fish tank floor medium and as you say are easily washable; and various aquatic plants I put in fish tanks would easily root in them and filter nutrients out of the fishy water.  I also used them when I divided some of that stupid decorative "lucky bamboo" (that isn't bamboo) that somebody gave me.  But I had not put it all together to consider jarfuls of them as a passive hydroponics medium.  Definitely going to try this, thank you!
 
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I think a 1 gallon jug would be great to grow tomato grafts in. You need a container with a lid which you can get by partially cutting the top of the jug and using the uncut, corner, as a lid to keep moisture in the container a requirement early in the grafting process. Keeping it in subdued light can be accomplished with a cloth or towel. Of course there are also other plants that you might graft. I mention the tomato as I've, unsuccessfully, tried it.
 
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