A Wonderful Start To Growing Hydroponically!
Gardening is such a fun adventure, whether you have a giant garden in your backyard or a few small plants in your kitchen windowsill, nothing is better than something you have grown yourself. All you need is some soil, plant nutrients, and seeds, and you are good to go!
I’ve always loved the journey of growing, from flower to herbs, and everything in between. Throughout the years I’ve tried many types of gardening. Square foot gardening, container gardening, Lasagna gardening, you name it, I’ve tried it! One method I’ve always been fascinated with is hydroponics. The idea of growing with just water is just so very interesting.
There are so many hydroponic systems out there and though these options are great, many require that you use electricity to run a pump and light. This option is great for those with a larger setup, but what about someone who just wants to try growing hydroponically on a small scale? I’m all about finding ways to grow that are super-efficient, and one way that is great is Mason Jar Hydroponics!
What Supplies Do You Need?
With Mason Jar Hydroponics, you don’t need a ton of supplies at all! Many items can be very easily found for growing.
- Mason Jar – For your mason jar or growing container you want something that is going to allow your plant to grow with plenty of room. We have found a half-gallon mason jar works great, especially one that is darker glass. Although we are focusing on mason jars for this article, some people do use plastic and other containers when growing.
- A Grow Lid/Growing Basket – You will need a way to suspend your medium and seeds into water. There are growing baskets for hydroponic growing that fit the top of the mason jar. We like to use our 3D printed grow lids (available in our farm shop!), that hold Aerogarden growing pods. You can purchase an Aerogarden Grow Anything kit or their growing kits. The kits come with the growing sponge, basket, fertilizer, and sometimes seeds for you. We have been most successful going this route, and it’s so, so easy to use!
- Growing Medium – You can use a growing sponge, rock wool, expanded clay pellets, and even gravel to grow in. Basically, anything that will sit nicely in your grow basket. We have found been successful using growing sponges. No algae growth, and very easy to find.
- Seeds or Plant Startings – Some plants that do well with Mason Jar Hydroponics include lettuces, spinach, and herbs. You can also even grow peppers and tomatoes. We love to grow tomatoes in the winter using Mason Jar Hydroponics! You can also use plant starts from outside, and place those into your Mason Jar!
- Fertilizer – Since the plants will be growing in water and not soil they will need some food! A good quality fertilizer will give your plants the nutrients they need to grow.
- Sock (yes a sock!) – Since there is no pump to move the water in your jar, you will need to make sure your mason jar does not grow algae. You can use a mason jar that is darker colored glass. Some like to actually paint their mason jars, leaving just a small opening in the paint up the side so you can see the water level. You can make a cover for your mason jar, which we like to do, even with our brown jars. Take an old sock, and place it over your mason jar!
- Grow Light (optional) – You can place your Hydroponic Mason Jar in a window sill, to get some natural light for growing. If you don’t have a good place to put your jars, or you have a lot of jars, you can definitely use a grow light for growing. This is a personal preference.
Setting Up Your Jar!
To set up your jar is very easy! First, fill your jar all the way up to the top with non-chlorinated water. It’s going to seem like there is a ton of water, but as your plant grows, the water level will drop. After your Mason Jar is full of water, add some fertilizer into the water, following the directions of the fertilizer you have.
Next, add the grow basket/grow lid you have chosen, and use a mason jar ring to hold everything in place. Add your growing medium into the basket, and your seeds or plant starting. Place your mason jar into a window sill or under a grow light, and wait for the magic to happen!
Mason Jar Maintenance
As the plant starts to grow, you will see the water level drop. This is creating the right amount of air space for the roots of your plant. You want to make sure if you need to add water at any time that there is air space for the roots, especially if you have a mature plant. Many like to harvest their lettuce when the water runs out, and start a fresh jar. For plants like tomatoes, you may find you need to add some water throughout the process, just to the bottom of the growing basket. We like to leave 3/4 of the basket out of the water.
Hopefully, we have given you some inspiration to give mason jar hydroponics a try! It is so much fun, and so easy! It’s just amazing how you can use a mason jar, and some water to make delicious treats for the kitchen!