Although there are a number of techniques for Hydroponic growing, we wanted to introduce you to the main four in order to help you get setup.
Firstly, we have The Wick System. The Wick System is recognised as one of the simplest hydroponic techniques and is also sometimes known as the passive system, due to the fact that it has no moving parts. The system works by drawing the nutrient solution to the plants from the reservoir using a wick, much like in a candle!
Despite its simplicity, the wick system has a major drawback; large plants, or plants that require a lot of water, will devour the nutrient solution much faster than the wick can supply it.
Next on the list is Nutrient Film Technique (NFT). This is a method of growing plants where there is a constant supply of the nutrient solution flowing. NFT would normally not require a growing medium, which saves the expense of having to replace it after each crop you produce.
Other advantages to this method are:
- It can be easier to produce a crop of high quality and quantity
- There is no timer required for the nutrient solution pump
- It gives plants direct contact with air, meaning they have an unlimited supply of oxygen
However, NFT does come with some disadvantages. The system can be susceptible to pump failures and power outages which can cause roots to dry out rapidly due to longer receiving the nutrient solution they require.
The third on our list, and possibly the most commonly used Hydroponic system is the Dripper, or Drop System. At its most basic, a drip system uses a timer controlled pump; when necessary, the timer will activate the pump allowing the nutrient solution to drip onto the plant’s base from small lines above the plants.
So what are the advantages?
- It gives you greater control over the precise amount of nutrient solution administered
- If there is a timer failure, the medium in which the plants sit holds a reserve of nutrient solution so the roots should never dry out
- As the system is hovering above the plants there is minimal contact between plant and system which lowers the chances of diseases spreading
One issue with this system that has been noted is that the pH and nutrient solution strength levels require occasional checking/adjusting, but this is a minor annoyance.
Last on the list is the Ebb and Flood system. Using this system, the medium area is flooded with nutrient solution, which is then allowed to ebb away into a reservoir. As the nutrient solution is ebbing away, oxygen is drawn around the roots of the plants, which aids healthy growth. Like the dipper system this system runs with the use of a timer, with it set to flood the medium several times a day depending on the type and size of the plants.
So what are the advantages?
- Using timers you have greater control over moisture levels
- Plants can last longer compared to using other systems
- Experience has shown a higher yield compared to other systems
Once again however, timer failures and power outages can occur. Roots can dry out rapidly when the flooding cycles are interrupted but this can be combated somewhat by using a medium that retains water better, such as coconut fibre.
For more advice on which system is best for you, talk to one of our experts today!