You've tried growing herbs or maybe some lettuce plants in the kitchen, but all you end up with are bugs and bits of dirt on the floor. An alternative method for indoor gardening is growing hydroponic plants in a jar. Hydroponics doesn't use soil, so there is no mess!
There are hydroponic growing systems on the market in various price ranges, but using inexpensive canning jars is a budget-friendly option. With a little creativity, your hydroponic mason jar garden can be a quintessential part of your kitchen décor.
Making a Hydroponic Garden in Glass Jars
In addition to mason jars, you will need some specific supplies to grow hydroponic plants in a jar. These supplies are fairly inexpensive and can be purchased online or from hydroponic supply stores. Your local garden supply center may also carry the supplies you'll need for mason jar hydroponics.
- One or more quart-sized wide-mouth canning jars with bands (or any glass jar)
- 3-inch (7.6 cm.) net pots - one for each mason jar
- Rockwool growing cubes for starting the plants
- Hydroton clay pebbles
- Hydroponic nutrients
- Herb or lettuce seeds (or other desired plant)
You'll also need a way to block light from entering the mason jar in order to prevent algae growth. You can coat the jars with black spray paint, cover them with duct or washi tape or use a light-blocking fabric sleeve. The latter allows you to easily view the root systems of your hydroponic mason jar garden and determine when to add more water.
Assembling Your Hydroponic Garden in Glass Jars
Follow these simple steps to make your hydroponic mason jar garden:
- Plant the seeds in the rockwool growing cubes. While they are germinating, you can prepare the mason jars. Once the seedlings have roots extending out of the bottom of the cube, it's time to plant your hydroponic garden in glass jars.
- Wash the mason jars and rinse the hydroton pebbles.
- Prepare the mason jar by spray painting it black, coating it with tape or enclosing it in a fabric sleeve.
- Place the net pot in the jar. Screw the band onto the jar to hold the net pot in place.
- Fill the jar with water, stopping when the water level is about ¼ inch (6 mm.) above the bottom of the net pot. Filtered or reverse osmosis water is best. Be sure to add hydroponic nutrients at this time.
- Place a thin layer of hydroton pellets in the bottom of the net pot. Next, put the rockwool growing cube containing the sprouted seedling onto the hydroton pellets.
- Continue carefully placing hydroton pellets around and on top of the rockwool cube.
- Place your hydroponic mason jar garden in a sunny location or provide adequate artificial light.
Note: It is also possible to simply root and grow various plants in a jar of water, changing it out as needed.
Maintaining your hydroponic plants in a jar is as simple as giving them plenty of light and adding water as needed!
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Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.
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