Lettuce Ladder Info. & FAQ's

Nitrogen Toxicity

Though green is generally a healthy color for plants, the appearance of a noticeably darker green color can indicate too high a concentration of nitrogen in the nutrient solution. Too much nitrogen weakens the plant, causing long, floppy stems and soft leaves. Keep an eye on the root systems, too, as underdevelopment is another indication of nitrogen overdose.

Phosphorus Toxicity

Visible signs of too strong a concentration of phosphorus include undersized, curling leaves and overdeveloped root systems.

Potassium Toxicity

Potassium is a salt, and too much of it will affect a plant the way drinking sea water affects a shipwrecked sailor. The saline environment causes water to pass out of cell walls rather than in. Leaves will appear burned, wilted and dry because hydration isn't reaching them in the quantities required.

Calcium Toxicity

You probably won't have to worry about too much calcium, as overdose conditions are rare. But if you see abnormal wilting along with signs associated with of high alkalinity and deficiency of iron and potassium, an overly high level of calcium may be the culprit. Symptoms of iron deficiency include "yellow or white chlorosis between veins of younger leaves" and "stunted new growth with spindly stems," according to Hydroponics B.C. The same source describes indicators of potassium deficiency as follows: "Brown, necrotic (dead) tips and edge margins on older (lower) leaves followed by yellowing of the entire leaf. Dead brown spots on older leaves. Slender, weak stems and small seeds."

How often should I water my plants?

When starting young plants, we recommend 3-4 times per day, 15 minutes per interval. This of course depends on how much heat surrounds your Lettuce Ladder. Keep the grow plug moist as outlined.

When your plants grow and become more mature, you may want to set your timer to go off every 2 hours or so. This is a determination made by you. Only you can order up how fast or slow the water droplets drip onto your grow plug. Keep adjusting the air pump until you are satisfied that the plants are getting enough water.

What are the dimensions of the Lettuce Ladder?

Approx 46 inches long, 4.5 inches wide and 2” deep.

Must I only use a south facing window?

This is the best scenario for your Lettuce Ladder. However,  it is not absolutely necessary if you supplement your existing natural light with a T5 Grow Tube. That said, even a south facing window would benefit from additional light- remember, the more light, the happier the plants.

How close should I place my supplemental light fixture to the plants?

Position the grow light 3 – 4 inches from your plants. When using a T5 red spectrum to push flowering and fruiting, make sure this light is 4 inches away or more as these bulbs can get very warm. You don’t want to burn your plants. In fact, nothing should be remotely close to these types of grow tubes.

How can I tell if I’m Overwatering / Underwatering?

If you are overwatering, you may begin to see green algae growing on your grow plugs and clay pellets. The plants could look yellow and the roots become brownish from a lack of oxygen. Reduce watering frequency.

If you are underwatering, your plants will wilt and the plugs will be dry. Increase your watering frequency.

What should my pH be?

Most of the vegetables you can grow in your Lettuce Ladder will require a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Test your water prior to adding any nutrients; this will give you a base line to start from. If you have hard water or soft water it’s a good idea to test it for pH. There are several chemicals used by the ‘hobby hydro gardeners’ to adjust pH. The most popular are phosphoric acid to lower the pH and potassium hydroxide to raise it. Both of these chemicals are relatively safe to use, although they can cause burns and should never come in contact with the eyes. Most hydroponic supply stores sell pH adjusters that are diluted to a level that is safer and easy to use.

Note: Always add the nutrients to the water, stir it up and let sit for a few minutes before checking and/or adjusting the pH of your solution. In fact, if you are using an EC meter, check the nutrient solution after a few minutes as well.

What is an EC meter?

EC stands for Electrical Conductivity. It is a meter that you can purchase to help you determine if your plants are receiving the proper amount of nutrients for optimum growth. Each crop, ie lettuces, herbs or tomatoes all have different EC values and an EC meter can really aid in the accuracy of your nutrient mix.

 

CROP EC VALUE
African Violet 1.0 - 1.2
Asparagus 1.4 - 1.8
Avocado Pear 1.8 - 2.6
Balm 1.0 - 1.4
Banana 1.8 - 2.2
Basil 1.0 - 1.4
Beans 1.8 - 2.5
Beetroot 1.4 - 2.2
Blueberry 1.8 - 2.0
Borage 1.0 - 1.4
Broccoli 1.4 - 2.4
Brussel Sprout 1.8 - 2.4
Cabbage 1.4 - 2.4
Capsicum 2.0 - 2.7
Carrot 1.4 - 2.2
Cauliflower 1.4 - 2.4
Celery 1.5 - 2.4
Chives 1.2 - 2.2
Cucumber 1.6 - 2.4
Dwarf Roses 1.6 - 2.6
Eggplant 1.8 - 2.2
Endive 0.8 - 1.5
Fennel 1.0 - 1.4
Kohlrabi 1.8 - 2.2
Lavender 1.0 - 1.4
Leek 1.6 - 2.0
Lettuce - Fancy 0.3 - 0.8
Lettuce - Iceburg 0.6 - 1.4
Melons 1.0 - 2.2
Mint 1.0 - 1.4
Mustard / Cress 1.2 - 2.4
Onion 1.8 - 2.2
Parsley 0.8 - 1.8
Passion fruit 1.6 - 2.4
Pea 1.4 - 1.8
Pumpkin 1.4 - 2.4
Radish 1.2 - 2.2
Rhubarb 1.6 - 2.0
Roses 1.8 - 2.6
Sage 1.0 - 1.6
Spinach 1.8 - 3.5
Silver beet 1.8 - 2.4
Squash 1.8 - 2.4
Strawberry 1.8 - 2.5
Thyme 1.2 - 1.6
Tomato 2.2 - 2.8
Turnip, Parsnip 1.8 - 2.4
Watercress 0.4 - 1.8
My plants are getting big. What can I do to encourage upward growth?

Place longer stems through the railings of the Lettuce Ladder.