Hydroponic Systems and How They Work
It can be overwhelmed or confusing to get started in hydroponics. Let’s see what hydroponics is, how it works and what are the basic hydroponics systems?
What Is Hydroponic and How Does It Work?
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in a simple way by using nutrient-rich soil and water system. It involves the root system is supported using a medium such as a perlite, clay pellets, peat moss, etc instead of soil. The main aim of using hydroponics for plants is to provide an efficient amount of nutrients to support their proper and healthy growth.
However, this can be done in many ways that are the reason why we will look into different systems you can grow hydroponically. Before that have a look at the pros and cons of these systems.
Advantages Of Hydroponic System:
Hydroponic gardening has massively increased the growth rate of most plants. In fact, it’s not a common thing for a plant to grow at least 20% faster than soil gardening and the best part is planting will typically yield at least 25% more than their soil counterparts.
Disadvantages Of Hydroponic System:
Apart from the advantages of the hydroponic system, it also has disadvantages as well. Hydroponics systems of any size will cost you more than its soil counterpart. It results, dirt isn’t exactly expensive and you get what you pay for.
Most of the hydroponic systems can take a lot of time to set up if you aren’t the most experienced grower. Additionally, managing your system will take a lot of time as well. You must monitor and balance your PH and nutrients levels on a daily basis.
Another risk with the hydroponic system is, pump failure of any system can kill off your plants within hours depending on the size of your system. They can even die quickly because the growing medium can’t store water like soil can, as the plants are dependent on a fresh supply of water.
Types Of Hydroponic Systems:
Here are some of the hydroponic systems on the market combine different types of hydroponics into one hybrid hydroponic system. You can use this hydroponic system in multiple ways to get a nutrient solution for your plants.
There are five basic types of hydroponic systems to choose from:
- Deep Water Culture:
A deep water culture system is one of the easiest ones to handle and even to maintain. You use a reservoir to hold a nutrient solution and the roots of the plant will be suspended in this solution so that they get a constant supply of nutrients, water, and oxygen.
To provide water, you use an air pump with an air stone to pump bubbles into the nutrient solution. It helps in preventing the roots from drowning.
- EBB and Flow/ Drain Systems:
Ebb and flow system also known as Flood and Drain system is less commonly seen in the system. But they work quite effectively and can be used in many ways.
It doesn’t explore the roots of the plant to the nutrient solution on a constant basis, instead, you grow a tray filled with a growing medium that is flooded with your nutrient solution a few times in a day.
Now, add a reservoir below the tray, a water pump and a timer for scheduling the flooding cycle. Once the tray is flooded, gravity drains the solution back down into the reservoir by an air pump and air stone. It sits until the next cycle and continues to go on.
- Aeroponic Systems:
The roots are suspended in the air when it comes to using the aeroponic system. We need to mist the root zone with a nutrient solution constantly instead of running a thin film of the nutrient solution along a channel.
You can even follow the flooding process cycle just like the ebb system, but it becomes very shorter typically waits only a few minutes between each misting. This system is shown to grow plants even quicker than some of the simpler systems like deep water culture, but this has been not verified to be true in all cases.
- Nutrients Film Technique System:
It is a popular commercial hydroponic system where plants are grown in channels that has a nutrient solution and constantly running along the bottom of the channel.
Once the solution reaches the end of the channel, it drops back into the main system and sent back to the beginning of the system. This is just like a deep water culture.
Plants placed in these channels using net pots and growing medium and can be replaced or harvested one by one basis.
- Wicking Systems:
A wicking system has been using for many years and often known as passive hydroponics. That means you don’t need any air pumps or water pumps to use it for your plants.
You will use a wick to move nutrients and water into the plant’s root zone, just as simple as a rope or piece of felt. It works excellent for smaller plants that don’t use up a lot of water or nutrients, however, larger plants face lots of trouble and have a hard time getting enough of either via simple wick system.