What Size Container Do I Need?

Author: Robert C. Newkirk, Jr.

March 02, 2021

The size of the container will vary depending on what type of plant you are trying to grow. If you are interested in growing a lettuce plant, from my successful experience I recommend that you should use a container that holds at least one gallon of nutrient-enriched solution. This one-gallon size is perfect for putting your plant on auto-grow mode. You fill the one-gallon container one time with nutrients and leave it to grow, and never worry about refilling the container. Basically, you set it and forget it!

Actually, this is the idea behind the Kratky method. You never change or replenish the nutrients in your reservoir. When choosing a container to grow your specific plant, you should follow this simple basic rule. For every foot of plant growth, you will need one gallon of nutrients. This rule does not apply to flowering plants but will work for most of your leafy greens, and radishes. For growing different varieties of tomatoes, you will need a much larger container. A tomato plant will go through 20 to 30 gallons of water before it is ready to harvest. Growing tomatoes using the Kratky method can be a huge challenge, I know from my own personal experiences.

Every year I try growing tomatoes using the Kratky method, and every year toward the end of the growing cycle I fail. The container runs dry, and every year I increase the size of my container. My goal for this year is to have success. I am using a 50-gallon container to grow one beef steak variety of tomatoes. I going with a new rule of thumb. For tomatoes and tomatoes only I am recommending the following: for every foot of plant growth you will need ten gallons of water. For example, if you are growing a larger variety tomato plant (Rutgers, Beefsteak, Cherokee, etc.) and the plant height on the seed pack says five feet, you need a fifty-gallon container.

Many growers on the internet recommend starting the plant in smaller containers and transplanting the plant as it grows bigger in size. I am afraid I have to disagree with this process because you can easily drown your plant. I have used small containers in the past, and when I tried refilling the reservoir of nutrients, my plant usually dies. When refilling the container I am probably not leaving enough room for air, and I always end up drowning the plant. Yes, you can actually drown your plants. That is why I do not recommend refilling or changing your nutrients. Do some research on your own if you have questions about container size or how to change your Kratky system's nutrients.

Thanks for reading!