Hydroponic Experiment

The Idea

It all started many days ago(60ish) when I found a small Aerogarden on clearance for $25. I could grow 3 squatty herbs or start 15 seeds so I started. Then, started building bigger hydroponic bins.

The Build

I cut holes in the lids for these baskets

2*2, OSB, liquid nails and wood screws for the frame


I put some trash begs on to keep the light down

The Results

Couple days after first cutting to 1 "

In just one of four of my bins I got 8 heads of pretty tasty lettuce.

(the others are busy trying beans, carrots and peppers)

After all have been cut to "1 and grown back (I have also been picking off leaves as they grow and not keeping up)

The Math

Precision mode: spit balling

Inputs: $.40

Sale price for commercial grows 2020: $.50 (link)

Retail price for local grocery: $1.99 (I just checked their apps)

Plant food (based on all in one powder stuff from amazon): $.18/head

200 gal at $15.99 for plant food 6 gal for 4 plants 3 feeding in that tote to second harvest

ish= 200gal/6gal=33.333... bin feedings

$15.99/33.33feedings = $.48/ feeding

3 feedings * $.48 = $1.44 for the whole experiment

$1.44/ 8 heads = $.18/head

Sponges (also off amazon) $.14/head

$13.75/50 sponges = $.28/sponge

$.28/2 heads = $.14/head

.18 + .14 brings us to .32 cents a head before lights and the tiny cost of my germination process. so if you used the sun and everything went perfect that would be a solid .40 ish


The Findings

I predict that on a small lot like mine (almost tiny) hydroponic vegetables could make about 3k retail or $0 whole sale by selling lettuce. There may be things like grants or tax cuts that could make a difference, but I don't think this is the direction the industry will go.

The value of hydroponics for a small business is not what I proved!

I found is that the value for me personally was greater. I believe that the future is in growing vegetables in an automated way in your house. Imagine fresh veggies always on standby and controlled by an app. The cost could be less than the store and easier to acquire. I see small hydropic systems more and more at big box stores. The future is coming fast. Yeah HA!

The Future

I started some carrots in lava rocks

disappointed? you wanted flying cars? gosh these people eat your vegetables!!

The rouge spinach!