Hydroponic Plants with Shirley Bovshow

Materials to Make a Container:

  • 33 oz. or larger opaque coffee container
  • Blade
  • Hydroponic "net pots" in 2-inch and 3-inch size. (.50- .75 cents each at garden center)
  • Liquid plant food
  • Filtered water

Materials to Grow Lettuce Seeds:

  • Rock wool cubes (garden center)
  • Salad bar container with plastic cover or seedling grow tray
  • Clay pellets called "hydrotone"


  1. Soak the rock wool cubes in water for 10 minutes.
  2. Use end of wet toothpick to pick up lettuce seeds and drop 2 per hole in rock wool.
  3. Cover small hole with piece of paper towel.
  4. Place rock wool in seed tray or in salad bar tray and cover with plastic top to create humidity.
  5. Set tray on top of warm appliance (TV, microwave) or grow mat for 1 - 12 days and check daily for growth and humidity.

  • Buy hydroponic materials at a garden center or online.
  • The container is filled with the "nutrient water" (water + liquid fertilizer) all the way up, covering the bottom ¼ inch of the planting cup that's filled with clay pellets and the lettuce plant.
  • One gallon of nutrient water per plant is an optimal ratio when growing lettuce, so use the right size container.
  • As the water recedes, the plant roots continue to grow down looking for water and wicks it up, as needed.
  • The space between the water and the bottom of the grow cup is filled with humid air which provides oxygen to the roots.
  • When the water level drops to the bottom (after 30 days), the lettuce plant is usually full grown and you can start a new plant.
  • "Wet it and forget it!"
  • Both. Lettuce is cool season plant so it can grow outdoors in mild winter areas.
  • Indoors, place your container by a bright window or use a florescent bulb for 10 hours if you don't have natural light available.

Learn more about how to "grow food with style" at Shirley Bovshow's and on Twitter @FoodieGardeners.

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