What is the “Kratky Method” and why would I use it? I have a chosen to try the Hydroponic Kratky Method as a bit of an experiment and to see if it work as well as a lot of people report. I wanted to try this method as I like the idea of having something that I can keep by the back door and quickly go out and grab some leafy greens for a salad or stir fry.
What is the Kratky Method? In short, it is a container filled with a hydroponic solution, with holes drilled into the lid that the plants go into. As the plants grow and use up the hydroponic solution, it creates a space between the lid and water, allowing the plants to get air to the roots and nutrients from the water. The main plants people normally grow with the Kratky Method are fast growing crops like pak choy, lettuces etc. You can grow longer crops, but it involves more to setup as you need to top up the reservoir or container.
How to build your own hydroponic using the Kratky Method:
What you need
- Container with lid –This container will need to block UV rays to protect the root and stop algae growth. If you cannot find a dark container, you can cover it. I used a 60 litre black plastic container
- Hole saw – the size you use depends on the size of your net cup
- Tape Measure
- Hydroponic Solution
- Net Cups
- Seeds – I’ve started with Pak choy
- Perlite or other medium – you will only need enough to fill your net cups
- PH tester – I didn’t do this step, but it is recommended. If you are having issue once you have started I would recommend in doing this.
- Water- You will need water free of chlorine. All of our house runs on filtered town water
How to Build
- Mark out and drill the holes in the lid to suit your net cup size. Use a piece of wood underneath the plastic to lean on while drilling so you don’t crack the lid. I put 8 net cups in my lid, you can normally put between 6 to 8 net cups in the lid of a 60 litre container.
- Find a nice position to place your container with suitable amount of sun/shade.
- Add the hydroponic solution to your reservoir then fill with water. Follow the direction on your hydroponic solution bottle. It is quite often recommended when doing the Kratky method to only do 50% of what is instructed on the bottle.
- Fill your net cups with medium and put your seedling in the net cups. Remember to wash as much dirt off the roots as possible before placing in net cups.
Approximate costing for Material
- Container $20
- Perlite $10
- Hydroponic Solution $15
- Net cups x8 $2 for the lot
- PH tester $15
- TOTAL COST with PH tester $62
Stay tuned for updates on how my hydroponic system goes.