Since he couldn't find a small-scale hydroponic system, he built and designed both horizontal and vertical models for his family's use. They worked so well he now sells instructional DVD's to teach others how to build their own.
The horizontal "hydroponic lettuce run" is 4 by 10-ft and costs about $200 if you buy everything new, including seven 10-ft. pipes, a holding tank, pump and other parts.
"It's easy to put together, and you don't have to know much about gardening to do it," Burson says. "It's a good start-up for a small business." Besides building plans, the DVD includes information about where to purchase fertilizer and how to grow lettuce and herbs."
The plants grow in cubes with a water and fertilizer mix continuously flowing by. Burson notes that his 10-ft. long setup grows a "phenomenal amount" of lettuce and/or herbs. "It's more than several families can consume," Burson says. "In peak production, it is not at all uncommon to pick 10 to 20 pounds of lettuce off this bed - every other day."
He adds that there is a growing demand for gourmet lettuce at stores and restaurants. "There's no dirt, so the lettuce is perfectly clean," he adds.
Lettuce grows in temperatures between 40 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The hydroponic system can be built at any height for grower comfort.
The biggest advantage may be the small amount of space it requires. Burson's vertical design only needs 1 by 4-sq. ft. of floor space. It is ideal for growing strawberries, but can also grow lettuce and herbs.
Cost for the vertical garden DVD is $25; the horizontal garden DVD is $30. Burson is also finishing a DVD of plans for a self-watering garden.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Easiestgarden.com, 10758 St. Hwy. 155 S., Big Sandy, Texas 75755 (www.easiestgarden.com; email@example.com).
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