Saturday, March 21, 2009

Grow Lettuce in Water using simplified hydroponics

Grow Lettuce in Water using simplified hydroponics by Pritham 'metal farmer' D'Souza

in my earlier posts i have showed in detail how to grow lettuce in floating bed. i had showed the procedure in making a float bed, with all imputs necessary like thermocol sheet, black plastic sheet, dishwasher sponge etc with transplanting technique.

now i plan to show the growth stages of lettuce in a step by step pictoral guide from seedling tray/tub stage to harvest stage.

i had first managed to transplant the young lettuce seedlings in grow bed which had coconut peat and rice husk as substrate as shown above.

transplanting was done when the seedlings were about 6 cm in height.

notice the roots on the day of transplanting. the photos were taken on march 3 2009.

in just a weeks time, there was rapid growth as seen above. the pic was taken on march 11, 2009

notice the height of the plant when i transplanted it from seed tray to grow bed. it was approx 6 cm.

the photo above shows me holding the same plant after it was transplanted in the float bed, just 15 days later. its height now is nearly 18 cm.
also look below and see how long the roots have grown.

the above 2 pics were clicked on 21 march 2009, 10 days later. they seem to have grown a lot more & also very healthy and green.

  • remember to continuously aerate the float beds for min 2 minutes daily. i aerate it twice daily.
  • lift the thermocol sheet and spalsh the water with your hand till bubbles are formed
  • bubbles formed in aeration provide atmospheric oxygen to the roots & also destroy any insect eggs, if found.
my only concern is the lettuce though looking very healthy seems to droop & not stand upright. feedback related to this problem is appreciated.

all photos and data by pritham dsouza. to view photos in original size, click on photo to enlarge


  1. Thank you for your efforts in vegetable cultivation. I am from Sirsi and have some home garden. I am growing cucumber and "mangalore savate " or "mage". We have some insect/ stem borer problem.
    I am interested to send some photographs of insect attack. However, I don't have yur email. Would you please send me your email.
    Kusuma Hegde

  2. Hi Pritham,
    Your blog reads like a textbook in organic farming. Great going. For all we know some of your farm products may have got into the Mughal Treat cuisine ;)

  3. Hello Pritham,
    Your blog is a thorough education in vegetable growing. Really inspiring and lots to learn from you. Loved the yellow sticky tape for whiteflies that you made.
    I want to visit your farm in Mangalore, if its possible. Thanks a lot for your blog.

  4. Your blog is really good. Nice work.

    From the looks of it, i think your lettuces are having a hardtime handling the weather. It might soon bolt.

  5. Manikandan : thanks for visiting my blog... on whether the lettuce will bolt... not too sure... infact they were the tastiest lettuce i have ever eaten....the more u keep trimming the more it keeps growing back... and .. in comparison, it took a lot less time to reach the height it did in water than in soil, coz it needs sooler temps, which the nutrient water provides..hence aerating the water everday is a must, or the roots will choke..

  6. Hi,

    Nice article and excellent photos.

    Lettuce may spread easily and gain strength if it is planted in the soil. In north karnataka, similar looking plant is called Hakkaraki (ಹಕ್ಕರಕಿ). It grows naturally in black and red soil and is very tasty.

  7. thanks for checking my blog... mangalore, where i live, is not conducive for growing lettuce... and thats why i tried it using hydroponics... the pics i took were mostly taken at night, hence it might look weak and pale. in fact i was able to harvest lettuce more than 6 times in that tiny tub. i have many pics more, mailny of harvesting what i have grown and will do so in future. thanks