“It has been a really amazing year for us,” said Paul Rabaut, the company’s director of marketing. A representative for Lettuce Grow said it was on track to do 10 times the sales compared with last year.
Meanwhile, D.I.Y.-ers are building hydroponic gardens out of PVC pipes and five-gallon buckets. When lockdowns began, Vicki Liston, 45, a professional voice-over actor in New Mexico, wanted to limit her trips to the grocery store and started construction on a pipe-based system. She worried about keeping a pandemic garden alive in her very arid backyard, but so far the project has been a surprising success, she said.
Compared with traditional in-ground gardening, “hydroponics grows more food in less space with less water and less time,” said Dan Lubkeman, president of the Hydroponic Society of America.
That is, if you get everything right. Hydroponics is about optimizing growing conditions: You must have the perfect amount of light and nutrition available at all times. Nail it, and plants can grow up to five times as fast as they would in soil outside, Mr. Rabaut said.
Ms. Marsh, who now has gardens indoors and out, can vouch for Mr. Rabaut’s assertion. She is constantly amazed at the vigor of her plants. “We planted three tomato seedlings, and so far we have gotten 350 tomatoes,” she said. “It’s insane,” she said.