Types of Hydroponics Systems: Boosting Indoor Plant Cultivation
Hydroponics refers to the growth of plants with water, nutrients, and a growing medium which is a substitute for soil. In this, it does not require the use of soil. Hydroponics systems have come in handy in boosting the agricultural system thanks to the advancement in technology. This system promotes indoor plant cultivation making it easier to control the necessary atmosphere and the requirements required to cultivate. However, it can be tricky when it comes to choosing which system is right for which type of plants.
You will then identify the grow supplies and collect all the requirements one you settle for the right system for your plants. The following are the major types of hydroponics to consider.
The wick systems are more basic as compared to the other systems and it has been in existence the longest. From its construction, it does not require any air or water pumps for usage. Just as with every other hydroponic system, there has to be the presence of nutrients and water. However, with this system, you will need to include a wick. Examples that can be used can be as simple as a rope or a felt. This simplified wick system will allow for the growth of smaller plants that do not require a lot of water.
The growing media used may vary but the recommended options include coconut coir, vermiculate, as well as perlite. These are considered because they transport the nutrients and water well. This is not to mean that you are limited to using these media. The key objective is to use a media that will transport the water and nutrients sufficiently. It is for these reasons that the system has been used for cannabis hydroponics.
Deep Water Culture
Deep water culture is considered one of the easiest systems to use. It consists of a reservoir that is filled with water and the required nutrients. This solution is provides a constant supply to the plants as their roots are suspended in the solution. While the nutrients are mixed in the water, air is pumped through air pump and air stone to push bubbles into the solution.
Considering that the plants cannot hang by themselves, they are housed in pots suspended on the reservoir. It is from this point that the roots will sink into the solution. This system is affordable, home-friendly, and it requires low maintenance. It is recommended for small plants that have short periods of time.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
This system is ideal for commercial use. Just as the deep water culture, it consists of a reservoir, air pump, air stone, and net pots. However, other components are included making it different. This includes an airline tubing, timer, and channel. It is also a recirculating system as the nutrient solution is constantly pumping through them.
Once the solution is at the end of the channel, it will drop and send it to the main reservoir where it will then move back to the beginning of the system. In this, it is not wasteful. The roots are however, not submerged into the nutrient solution. The pots hold the plants and the growing medium can be replaced when need arises.
Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain)
The Ebb and Flow system is not very common but they remain effective for those using it. Unlike the above systems, you will not be exposing the roots of your plants to a nutrient solution at all times. The system requires that you grow your plants in a tray. The tray is filled with a growing medium and is then filled with a nutrient solution at given times of the day.
This system is ideal for use with different plants and depending of factors such as the size of the plants, air temperature, as well as the water absorption, the number of times you feed the nutrient solution. Included is a reservoir placed below the tray. A water pump will pump the solution. A timer is placed to schedule how often to flood the tray. Using this system allows for flexibility as you can customize it to suit the different plants you want.
Individuals looking for a heavy-duty commercial hydroponic system should consider aeroponics. The plants roots are majorly suspended in air. This system mists the root zone with the nutrient solution rather than using a thin film as with the NFT system. To complete this system, you are required to use specialized spray nozzles. This will atomize the nutrient solution.
The roots are exposed to more oxygen considering that they are suspended in less nutrient solution. However, it can be costly to set it up as compared to other systems. It is important that you constantly check on the high pressure nozzles to prevent failure as this will lead to the drying out of roots.
Drip systems are ideal for large-scale use. Despite this, they are simple to set up as well as use. Though it is large, you have control of the feeding and watering schedule. This in turn allows you to have a variety of plants. The system is less likely to break making it reliable as well as efficient. In addition, it will serve you in the long-term. Looking at the long-term use, it is relatively more affordable. A key consideration to keep in mind is that there is a fluctuating pH and nutrient level especially for those using the recirculating system which can be a downside for those who cannot control it. The non-recirculating system is more common as you can retain the required pH in the nutrient solution.
This said, the above hydroponics systems vary slightly. However, it is important that you understand the different types so you know which plants go well with which system. The guide indicates their different benefits and whet is required so you can make the best of indoor plant cultivation. Go for hydroponic systems for fast growing plants and depending on the system you choose, always measure the right nutrient solution.