Hydroponic Lettuce & Herb Garden 101

Hydroponic Lettuce & Herb Garden 101


Design by Anthony Garramone


Introduction to Cultivating Leafy Greens and Herbs in NFT Channels

Welcome to the innovative world of hydroponics and particularly Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) - a game-changer for cultivating leafy greens and herbs. As an efficient, space-saving, and sustainable farming solution, NFT hydroponics is transforming the way we grow our favorite greens, from lettuce to basil and beyond.

Unlike traditional farming, hydroponic systems allows for year-round cultivation in a controlled environment, negating the need for soil and drastically reducing water usage. By providing the perfect blend of nutrients, water, and oxygen directly to the plant roots via a flowing nutrient film, this method yields vigorous, healthy growth.

The simplicity and effectiveness of NFT hydroponics have made it an incredibly popular choice for both commercial growers and hobby gardeners alike. Especially for leafy greens and herbs, which flourish under these conditions, it's hard to find a more efficient, eco-friendly, and rewarding method to grow your plants.

Lets dive into the world of NFT hydroponics and demonstrate how easy it is to plant your leafy greens in our NFT Hydroponic Channels!

Step One: Gathering Your Materials


For this demonstration, we will be using Little Gem Romaine Lettuce Seeds.

It is important to note to always make sure you are buying your seeds from a reputable source. 

Growing Media: 

Hydroponic growing media's include LECA Expanded Clay Pebbles, Rockwool, Peat cubes, perlite and more. For Hydroponic NFT Channels and leafy greens, we prefer to start our seeds directly in our channel's net pot's with expanded clay pebbles as our media.

Expanded Clay Pebbles

Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate (LECA) balls are a popular choice for hydroponic NFT channels due to their unique properties. These porous and lightweight pebbles absorb and hold water while promoting airflow, essential for plant growth. They do not impact the nutrient solution's pH, and are reusable, making them cost-effective and sustainable. Their excellent drainage is ideal for NFT systems, ensuring the right moisture balance.

For these reasons, LECA Expanded Clay Pebbles are our go-to media for all things hydroponics. 

We like to quickly wash the Clay Pebbles in water to get any dust off, the just fill each net cup up to the top. 

Step Two: Mixing your Nutrient Solution

The first step in this process includes filling your water reservoir. Remember to take note of how many gallons of water you use to fill it.

Next, mix a low-dose nutrient formula into the reservoir while the system runs (this will mix the solution as you dose). 

For leafy greens and herbs, we like to initially start out dosing our nutrients at the lower recommended strength dose (relative to the nutrient brand you are using) and adjust to full strength once the sprouts have fully developed their first leaves (usually about a week or so). If your nutrient recommends a specific dosage for seedlings, use that.

Remember the amount of water in your system and follow the instructions on the nutrient bottle to ensure correct dosage. 

For this system, we will be using the General Hydroponics FloraSeries Three Part Hydroponic Specific Nutrient

Step Three: Plant Seeds

Once you have added your nutrients to the reservoir, the next step is to plant your seeds!

Pour the seeds into one hand, and with your other hand take 3-4 seeds and bury them about half-way in the clay pebbles that are in your net cups. You don't need to force them down just gently place them in.

Next, we like to get a spray bottle of water and just give the tops of the net pots with clay pebbles a few mists of water to saturate the seeds and help give them a head-start. 

That's it! - Its THAT easy!

Planting seeds has never been easier than with nft hydroponic channels! This same method applies with most (of not all) varieties of seeds. 

As always, feel free to comment or contact us with any questions.

Happy gardening!

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1 comment

Awesome information. Motivates to start growing. Love the video


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