Getting Started with The Kratky Method!

September 10, 2022

Article by: Robert C. Newkirk, Jr.

The Kratky Method is one of the simplest forms of hydroponics. The Kratky Method does not cost much money to get started. You can probably find the materials needed to set up a Kratky system from items around your home. I like to think of ways to help the environment when planning a Kratky method growing system. Some people may call me cheap, but I consider myself doing my part in helping to save the planet.

I like using food-graded plastic containers when planning a Kratky grow hydroponic system. I get these types of containers right from the grocery store.

That’s right; I recycle food-grade containers from the food that I buy from the grocery store. The reason why I do this for one, the containers are safe to use, and secondly, you are helping the environment by recycling plastics which is excellent for the planet. I like to use my imagination when finding ways to grow food.

Glass jars are another great source when planning a Kratky growing system. Mason jars are pretty common when using this method. I like using pickle jars. The big long ones that you can find at Walmart. If you are unfamiliar with Walmart, it is a retail store primarily found in the United States of America and some other countries worldwide. Whatever container you decide to use, make sure that you wash them thoroughly! It is essential to have a clean container, free from bacteria-causing agents.

Another critical factor to consider when choosing a container or glass jar is how you will control algae growth. Blocking the light from entering your glass jar or plastic container is vital. Many people use black spray paint. I have had success by using a newspaper or a brown paper bag. Here I go again, recycling items to help improve our environment. Use your imagination; you be you!

You will need some container or object to hold your plant in place. Some people use a net cup purchase from a hydroponic store. You know you could make one yourself. All you need to do is use a plastic cup or yogurt container that will fit in your glass jar if you are using a glass jar for your container. You will need to cut some holes big enough to allow your plant roots to grow through. If you are using a plastic container with a lid, you would need to cut a hole in the lid to the size of the container you chose for the plant.

You also could use a pool noodle. Yes, a recycled pool noodle. I got this idea from Keep on Growing with Mike VanDuzee. Keep on Growing with Mike VanDuzee is one of my favorite youtube channels and is a channel that I recommend for beginners starting with hydroponics. If you use a recycled pool noodle, you don’t need any growing medium to support your plant, which in turn will save you some money.

What about growing medium? What should I use? Use your imagination. I have used anything from peat pellets, rook wool cubes, hydroton clay pebbles, coco coir, rocks, rubber mulch, and stone pebbles from my driveway. Check out my article “What is the Best Growing Medium for the Kratky method?” The article will give you some idea of what each medium offers.

Last but not least, what kind of nutrients are the best? I have learned by trial and error. Everyone has their favorite. I have tried a few over time but always resort to General Hydroponics. This nutrient was the first one I have ever used. In my opinion, I think it is the best. It is what has worked for me time after time with no problems. I follow the feeding schedule on the label, and presto, healthy plants every time.

When filling your glass jar or plastic container with nutrients, it is important to fill the container 1/16 of an inch above the net cup or container holding the plant bottom.

See the diagram below for a better understanding.

Add your plant and happy growing! Make sure you place your plant in place where there is a lot of sunlight. You could place your plant under artificial lights. I have used grow lights in the past but once again everyone has their favorite type. If you want to learn about the different types of grow lights, I will have to do some research and provide you with another article. I hope that the content that I have provided here in this article will help you along with your journey into hydroponics. Thank you for reading!