There are many people living in the urban areas that are inclined in growing plants both as a hobby and as a source of food. But most of these people don’t have a large space to grow plants and the absence of fertile soil deprives them of growing plants effectively. Furthermore, the people living in the urban areas do not have the luxury of time in maintaining and cultivating the plants in a daily basis. Lettuce is one of the vegetables that people in the urban areas love to eat, it is easy to prepare, tastes well and have good nutritional values. The popularity of salads and other foods using lettuce has increased throughout the fast foods and other fine dining restaurants.
The study was done to develop an automated soilless system, which is microcontroller-based. In this system, nutrients found in soil directly fed to the roots of lettuce eliminating the need to water the plants everyday with minimum human intervention. The plants are grown in styro cups with pearlite as a growing media to hold it intact, and are enclosed in a greenhouse to prevent insects and diseases to harm the lettuce. The result of the study shows that the use of a microcontroller-based automated system for growing lettuce is effective and produces fresh lettuce with less labor on the part of the urban growers. It is easy to operate and maintain because it only requires weekly replenishing of the nutrient solutions that are fed to the plants. The system can be used by anyone even the ordinary people or those who are very busy because it only takes a small area and can be set-up in a small backyard, rooftop or anywhere as long as light is available since temperature is being monitored and maintained.