Small space for gardening? Do (SNAP) hydroponics!

Have you considered planting vegetables but you don’t have enough space? Conversion of farm lands to residential space is quite alarming since the increasing population will require more food. Learning to farm with limited space is an advantage because you will know how to produce food with your available area (whether small or large).

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil by using nutrient solution in water. Simple Nutrient Addition Program (SNAP) hydroponics is a low-cost hydroponics system developed by researchers from IPB, UPLB. This system is ideal for growing vegetables in small areas.

To do SNAP hydroponics, you need to establish your seedlings. I previously wrote how to do it here. Now that you have your seedlings, you need to prepare styrofoam/plastic cups (or used coffee cups), knife/blade, coir dust, plastic bag, packaging tape and growing boxes (fruit boxes).

Get your cups and create 4-6 (~1-2 inch long) small slits on the sides near the bottom and dig a hole on the center bottom of the cup. Fill the cups with about 1-inch thick coir dust. Carefully transplant one seedling in the cup with coir dust and lightly press the media around the base of the transplanted seedling. Water the cups with care.

Create holes fitted for your cups – you can either trace the cups and cut it with a blade or use heated tin cans.  Depending on the size of your cup, you can create 6-8 holes on the lid. Line the bottom of the box with plastic (make sure that the plastic entirely covers the bottom to hold the solution). (Note: you can close all openings on the box using packaging tape to prevent entry of mosquitoes).

Put the cups into the holes of the lid on the box created earlier. Prepare your SNAP solution by mixing 25mL of SNAP A to 10 liters of tap water and then stir well followed by an equal amount of SNAP B (with stirring).

Fill the bottom of the growing box with the SNAP solution to a level where the bottom of the cups is touching 1/2 inch of the nutrient solution. Close the bottom box with the lid of the box containing the cups with seedling. Examine the box for any leaks and make necessary repair.

Place the growing boxes to areas with roof (to prevent the rain from getting into the system) but will best receive morning sunlight. Closely monitor the set-up.

Replenish the box with SNAP solution whenever needed.

(source: PJA Santos and ETM Ocampo, UPLB)

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