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Tabasco
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Location: Zone 9a, 50 miles North of Tampa Fl

Taking The Kratky Plunge

I'm a rookie gardener as some of you may know from other areas of the forum.

I'm always looking for new places to grow and I have been moved to look within.
My house, that is.
So after spending inordinate amounts of time watching Youtube videos, I have taken the Kratky plunge.

I decided to start out small but elegant. I built some borderline furniture quality boxes that fit our country decor.
I found the boxes at Home D. for $10 ea. I built the frames and light rack for about $30.
I'm in the process of building another, and I still have to paint and stain this one.

4 lettuce per frame butted against some sunny Florida windows.
Since we are running the air anyway, I figured I'd try for some greens in the hot summer.

The setup is pretty self-explanatory...
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imafan26
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Re: Taking The Kratky Plunge

Very nice.

You drilled the holes already but if you had holes every 4 inches in all directions you would have more options

beets 4 inches, lettuce 8-10 inches, peppers 18 inches, carrots 4 inches.

Is this a soil box or is it going to be a hydroponic or self watering container setup. I see a lot of possibilities.

I admire you ambition and carpentry skills. I have very poor carpentry skills. I have to use angle bars to keep any box I try to build square. But , I can put a drip system together, no problem.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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Tabasco
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Re: Taking The Kratky Plunge

Thanks Imafan26,

It's a static system. You fill it till the nutrient solution just touches the bottom of the net pots, then over time
the roots reach down, drink up the nutrient solution, and grow to maturity.
Pretty much zero maintenance.

The roots that remain exposed develop the ability to absorb oxygen.
The solution is enclosed and light-void, so you don't get any algae or rot, unless you use the wrong nutrient.
I've seen mhpgardner use an air pump in an experiment and it did make for ever better growth,
I'm going to add that to mine also.

I'm planting lettuce, which seems to work best in these, I just went with 12" spacing so I didn't crowd them.
With 2 of these frames that's 8 heads about every 30 days, just a start to test the waters.
I have a lot of that foam sheeting, so I'll experiment over time.

Here it is painted and stained...
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Tabasco
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Location: Zone 9a, 50 miles North of Tampa Fl

Re: Taking The Kratky Plunge

I built a second one and squeezed it in on the other end of the couch.
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applestar
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Re: Taking The Kratky Plunge

These look interesting!
I agree air pump should improve the growing conditions.

One of the benefits of home garden is that you don't (have to) harvest entire heads of lettuce, but harvest outer leaves as needed. So I think closer spacing and successive starting would provide harvest size lettuce for extended period. Lettuce is one produce that is difficult to store or preserve.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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Tabasco
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Re: Taking The Kratky Plunge

applestar wrote:These look interesting!
I agree air pump should improve the growing conditions.

One of the benefits of home garden is that you don't (have to) harvest entire heads of lettuce, but harvest outer leaves as needed. So I think closer spacing and successive starting would provide harvest size lettuce for extended period. Lettuce is one produce that is difficult to store or preserve.
My understanding is that the intent is to simply allow the solution deplete until full plant maturity.
Makes it a fully off-grid system. No reason not to do some trimming during growth.
I can't see why you couldn't replenish the nutrient solution for sustained growth.
I have read that some people do this and grow peppers and even tomatoes with it, but I'm not sure how reliable
that is.

It is a static system by definition, yet while extra oxygen seems to accelerate the growth it is not required.
I want as much growth as quickly as possible.
Additionally, I would like to discourage any chance of mosquito propagation, however unlikely.

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applestar
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Re: Taking The Kratky Plunge

I think that static could = stagnant as in oxygen depleted. So you would want to aerate to prevent anaerobic (inimical) bacterial growth. Also even though you said there will be aerial roots, water to its need oxygen too... Right?
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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Tabasco
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Location: Zone 9a, 50 miles North of Tampa Fl

Re: Taking The Kratky Plunge

This is the best example of this method I've seen...

[youtudotbe]https://youtu.be/oDYeffYcVkY[/youtudotbe]

wilder
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Re: Taking The Kratky Plunge

How'd your setup work out for you? what nutrients are you using? I'm building a non-circulating system myself, and want to use organic nutes, but without airstones I'm afraid of the solution turning anaerobic.
-Shane

Gardener_Wes
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Re: Taking The Kratky Plunge

I'm kinda digging the setup. I actually had a similar idea for a seeds start station. Running 2 trays, but have one hold small cells for newly planted seeds and the other feeding 3.5" Square Pots.

Nell83
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Re: Taking The Kratky Plunge

Very nice. I plan to do something similar but also hook it up to my fish tank. The fish will provide the nutrients (or at least most of them) and then hook up an air compressor to provide oxygen to the roots so they don't rot. I have been doing a lot of research into this. I'm just not sure how to keep the water clear enough to see the fish. I also plan to put some fish in the grow area to help with any bugs that get into it. Try adding some zebra danios to the water area to kill any blood sucking bugs (can't spell the name!).

A Happy Seedling
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Re: Taking The Kratky Plunge

As a former fish owner, I can tell you FISH ARE NOT AS SIMPLE AS DUMPING THEM IN ANY WATER, you need to use dechlorinator for the fish, which may hurt the plants. So not a good idea.
When I wait 3 months for my mango seedling to sprout, and then it damps off.
:evil:

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