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Build Your Own Hydroponic System!

Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants without using soil! Try growing lettuce, spinach, or basil this winter in your very own hydroponic system.

*This activity involves cutting a plastic soda bottle. Ask an adult for help!


  • Scissors

  • 2 L pop bottle

  • Old cotton fabric, like a sock or a dishrag

  • Coconut coir, or another growing medium like perlite or vermiculite

  • Plant food (nutrient solution/fertilizer)

  • Tinfoil

  • Seeds (lettuce, spinach, or basil)


  1. With the help of an adult, cut off the top of your 2 L pop bottle, just below where the bottle goes from slanted to straight. Flip the top part upside down so that the bottle cap is pointing toward the floor and set it in the bottom section of the bottle (the base).

  2. Add water to the base, to the point where the water is high enough to reach the bottle cap. Add plant food to the water and mix.

  3. Remove the bottle cap. Cut a strip from your sock or cloth and pull it through the neck of the top half of the bottle on the other. Make sure it is long enough to reach down into the water on one end, and to around halfway up the top half of the bottle. Set the top half of the bottle into the base.

  4. Fill the top half of the bottle with growing medium. Make sure the cloth strip is in the centre of the growing medium.

  5. Plant the seeds! Plant 4–5 seeds in the growing medium. Check the seed packet to see how deep they need to be. Usually, it’s around half a centimeter.

  6. Wrap the outsides of the bottle in tinfoil to prevent sunlight from reaching the water—otherwise, some yucky stuff can start growing in there!

  7. Wait for around a week and watch as the seeds begin to sprout. Replace water and plant food mixture when it dries out.

How it works:

The cotton fabric strip acts as a wick for the water and carries the water to the growing medium. The plants need water and nutrients to grow. Since plant food was added to the water, the plants can grow well. Eventually, the roots will reach their way down to the water.


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