Home



If you are visiting this site for the first time, please take some time to look around.  You can tell I'm a professor and not a website designer!  There are lots of bits and pieces of information here about growing salad greens in the Hydroponic Salad Table, but you may need to hunt around a bit.  Start with the four links at the bottom of this page.
_______________________________________________

The Hydroponic Salad Table

_____________________________________________________________


My students and I are developing a way for Minnesotans who have little or no access to land, but who have a 2' x 4' outdoor space, to grow salad greens from April to November, and inside over winter with appropriate lights.  You are welcome to look around and use any information that you might find helpful in your own gardening.  Hopefully you will try out one of these tables!

Our conventional Hydroponic Salad Table design shown to the right holds 24 plants at a time.  We've very successfully grown tables with a mix of different lettuces,
mustard, Swiss chard, pak choi, cress, endive, sorrel, kale, nasturtium, arugula and collards.  We start harvesting leaves about 5 weeks after planting seeds, and continue for seven weeks or more by returning to the table once or twice a week and harvesting only the salad-ready leaves.   It isn't uncommon for a Hydroponic Salad Table to supply the equivalent of about 100g or more of fresh salad greens a day...that's certainly enough for two good sized, fresh, healthy and very tasty salads.  

The hydroponic solution in the hydroponic salad table is held in 10 gallon Rubbermaid-style storage totes.  Each tote is large enough to provide nutrients for 8 plants.  The plans for the hydroponic salad table on this site are for a table holding three totes and 24 plants.  That's enough for about three salads a day.

I recently designed a cute hydroponic salad bench (left) around a single 10-gallon storage tote that produces enough greens for one salad a day.  You can find plans for the hydroponic salad bench on this page with my other posts from 2015.  

The conventional salad table, when built from standard construction lumber with three 10 gallon plastic storage totes, has a materials cost of about $25.  Nutrients and seeds will add another $25-30 or so, and will last for several years.  A hydroponic salad bench costs proportionally less for for lumber, hardware and materials.  Pressure treated lumber or cedar would increase the cost of either unit.

The Hydroponic Salad Table uses static or non-circulating hydroponics technology where there is no need for electrical pumps to power an air bubbler, to dribble a nutrient solution over an aggregate or to alternately fill and drain a tank.  It requires no external power source so it can be placed outdoors without being tethered to an outlet or creating a shock hazard.  You can even bring the tables indoors during winter and with a good grow light system  continue growing salad greens all winter.

Let's say that this has piqued your interest.  What should you do next?  I'd suggest that you just give it a try!
This is an active area of research for us so please stop back frequently and look for updates linked at the top of this page.

Bye for now,
                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Tom Michaels
Department of Horticultural Science
University of Minnesota
michaels@umn.edu