What is NFT?
NFT is an acronym for ‘Nutrient Film Technique’ as this method of growing hydroponically utilises a shallow stream or ‘film’ of nutrient and Oxygen-rich water. This ‘nutrient solution’ is pumped from a reservoir tank to a tray or gully, flowing past the root systems of plants that are typically grown in rockwool cubes. The ‘nutrient solution’ then falls back into the reservoir tank ready to be ‘re-circulated’ by a pump. It is a very simple system to master as an introduction to Hydroponic gardening and is ideally suited to smaller spaces.
Why choose NFT?
If you’re looking at moving to hydroponics then it’s probably because you have reached a plateau in your soil gardening and are looking to increase yield, lower your number of plants or you’re just fed up with lumbering around bags of soil. All of which are perfect reasons to jump ship.
With NFT you will need a singular rockwool cube to provide the base of the plant and then the roots develop on a tray. The only thing you need to dispose of are the roots themselves and the nutrients. So, for ease of use and low cost of materials NFT is a great cost-effective method.
NFT is a method that requires a lot of attention to maximise its potential, as it is a re-circulating hydroponic system the PH and EC of the reservoir needs to be maintained. In an ideal world two checks a day should be carried out, one in the morning and one at night. These checks allow you to see how the plants are reacting to the nutrient regime you have implemented and allow you to adjust the PH or EC if there are any fluctuations that could cause problems. Also, mechanical failure can occur in the pump and with two checks a day you can remedy these problems without the risk of your plants dying. To check the PH and EC levels, a PH pen and EC truncheon will be required.
Once you have your nutrient meters you should choose your NFT tank. There is a large range of shapes and sizes that should accommodate to your growing area and our staff will happily help you choose the right system to fit your needs. One thing that is essential for NFT growers is to use netting or supporting yo-yos. As the plants get bigger and heavier, they will need supporting as they will lack the base stability that you get when using pots. You will need to factor in the netting when you plan out your working space within your tent/growing area.
Choosing a nutrient can be a confusing process. There are single, dual and triple part nutrients out there all claiming to be the best and it’s hard to work out which one will work for you. The best advice we can give is to keep it simple and keep it safe. Make sure that whichever nutrients you buy are specific for re-circulating hydroponics and for either hard or soft water depending on what you have in your area. Our staff can give their own recommendations and get you off to a good start. Once you have had a few successful cycles using a simple method then you should start to experiment and try new products because you may come across a better combination which will enhance/increase your crops.
The best way to learn is to learn by doing, so get involved with NFT.
Top 5 recommended products by Progrow for NFT