Kratky Hydroponics DIY: Mason Jar Kratky
Hands down, the most simple hydroponic system to build! Kratky Hydroponics DIY: There are deviations and additions, but we will show you the easiest ones first and go from there.
As mentioned in our Kratky method basic article, the Kratky method uses passive hydroponics irrigation. That means it does not require a pump, an air pump, or any electricity to work.
- You will need a Countertop or window sill near natural light for your Kratky Hydroponics DIY system
- Reservoir (Choose 1 of the following options. We are super eco-friendly so we try to stay away from plastics. However, if you’re doing a hydroponic with kids for a class project or working with children, upcycling a plastic container is much safer, cost-effective, and easier to come by.)
- You can also use
- Plastic bottle
- Plastic yogurt cup with lid
- Plastic container with lid
- Tap Water
- Power drill – for options below
This example is a slight deviation of the original Kratky system that adds Hydroculture (clay pebbles) and Water Culture (air pump and air stone) components to the system for additional functionality.
Most people think these are a Kratky system, but the Kratky system is just a plant trimming or seedling placed directly in a jar of water,,,that’s it. This hybrid method is better for starting plants directly into the system from seed.
The net pot and clay pellets allow for more plant stem and root stability and allow water to be wicked up to water the baby roots until they are long enough to reach the nutrient water.
- Clean and Place the selected reservoir
- Discard lids
- Fill the reservoir with approximately 2/3 tap water
- Place your clone cutting, seedling directly into the mason jar without a lid, net cup, or medium. Walla!
Want to grow bigger plants? There are even more reservoir options! The size of the reservoir will depend on your growing location and the size of the plants you selected to grow. You can make almost any Kratky Method system a Hydroculture System.
Most people think they are Kratky system anyway, so we will cover it here. What makes it a Hydroculture system you ask? Hydroculture uses a medium to hold the plant roots and support the stem. You can either fill the entire container with medium or save some money and buy and fill a net cup instead. Wait, what? Most
system designs stem from either The Kratky Method or Water Culture Design. Still, confusing? Check this out.
Got it? So now it’s just about the size of the reservoir container; the bigger the container the bigger the system and all the components that go with it. Follow the same instructions with these containers to make a larger or hybrid system.
- 3 gallon or 5-gallon bucket (with lid)
- Storage container (more options on this on our Deep Water Culture page)
- 50-gallon drum
Don’t have a good location near natural sunlight? Add a plant light with a timer to gain full control over your plant’s lighting conditions. Add aeration to make your Kratky system a Water Culture system that will provide more oxygen to the roots and really watch your plant grow!
If you use one of the net cup options it is important that you buy the correct size net cup so the top of the cup rim fits either in the mason jar lid or directly on the top of the jar without falling in.
- Place air pump
- Attach air pump hose to the air pump
- Attach hose inline check valve ( this is necessary to prevent reservoir water from backflowing into the air pump)
- Attach a small air stone and place it into your reservoir ( you may need to punch or drill a small hole if your reservoir has a lid or net pot)
- Follow manufactures lighting installation instructions to install a small full-spectrum LED light (Learn more about the LED lighting type you will need and how far to place it from the plants)