The Best Tools for Mason Jar Gardening
I love using mason jars in many different ways. One reason for this is that I’m a firm believer in finding multiple ways to use a single product. Doing so is a way to be better prepared for anything that comes your way. It gives you more flexibility with the resources you have, which means you can do more with less.
I’m relatively new with using mason jars for my indoor gardening efforts, but my initial results have been positive. I’ll share the results of my mason jar gardening experiments on my blog, so if you haven’t already done so, be sure to subscribe for updates.
Like most of my indoor gardening, I am mainly using mason jars to grow vegetables hydroponically. I do plan to do some experiments with growing small root vegetables such as radishes in soil in mason jars, but since I haven’t done that yet, on this page, I’ll share with you the mason jar hydroponic methods I’ve used thus far.
Note that in my mason jar hydroponics I’m using a passive method of hydroponics known as the Kratky method. I’ll go into that in future blog posts. The main thing is knowing that this is a passive method of hydroponics that doesn’t use any pumps.
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The Best Mason Jars for Hydroponic Gardening
The best jars block out most of the light, so you don’t have to worry about algae growth. You can also cover the jars with socks or other items to block out light. However, using amber colored jars are best because they block out most of the light, but allow you to see in so you can easily monitor both root growth and the water level.
You can use any mason jars, from pints, to quarts, to half gallons. Obviously, the larger the jar, the more room there is for water. I’ve had success growing short-term crops such as microgreens using pint jars, but for anything else, it’s best to use quart or half gallon size jars.
Here are some amber-colored mason jars available on Amazon:
Net Cups, Clay Pebbles and Sponges
One of the most common ways to grow food hydroponically in mason jars is to use three items:
- Net cups
- Clay pebbles
If you’re using wide-mouth mason jars, 3″ net cups, such as these on Amazon, work great.
When it comes to growing medium, you’ll need two basic things: clay pebbles (Amazon) and sponges, such as rock wool (Amazon). The basic process is to start your seeds in rock wool. Once the seeds have germinated, put the sponge in the mason jar and then surround it with clay pebbles.
For plants that grow larger such as peppers and tomatoes, I also find it helpful to use clone collars such as these that you can get on Amazon. They provide some extra support for larger stems on heavier plants.
Pro tip: To learn more about the Kratky method of hydroponics, I recommend the book, Hydroponics the Kratky Method (Amazon).
Mason Jar Gardening Kits
If you’re brand new to growing vegetables in mason jars, buying a kit that has all of the components may be the best option. That’s what I did when first starting out. Once you get the hang of the basics, you can switch to buying the individual components listed above.
Here are a few mason jar gardening kits on Amazon worth checking out.
- Environet Hydroponic Mason Jar Indoor Garden Organic Seed Starter Kits – Pepper Trio
- Environet Hydroponic Herb Growing Kit Set, Self-Watering Mason Jar Herb Garden Starter Kit
- Kratky Lids Wide Mouth Hydroponic Garden Compatible with Aerogarden
Mason Jar Lids for Gardening
Sometimes the best way to go with gardening in mason jars is to buy mason jar lids designed specifically for gardening. Here are a few that I’ve had success with that you can pick up on Amazon.
- This green onion farm lid makes it easy to regrow green onions in a mason jar.
- These lids are compatible with AeroGarden sponges. I typically start a plant in an AeroGarden, and then once it’s about an inch tall, move it to a mason jar so I can use my AeroGarden for something else.
- Handy Pantry sprouting lids (Amazon | True Leaf Market) work great not just for sprouting, but also for growing microgreens. To use them for growing microgreens, put the lids on the jars, fill the jar with water until it barely touches the lid, and sprinkle sprouting or microgreen seeds on top. I find it helpful to mist the seeds with a spray bottle until the roots begin to grow into the water. From there, it’s completely hands off!
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