Hydroponics are fast becoming the way – and wave – of the future – it’s a method of growing crops that produces more yield in less time and with greater efficiency. But whilst the system is quite straightforward and easy to understand, choosing the right setup for your needs isn’t always that easy. There are, after all, different types of hydroponic installations. Selecting the right one will depend on your budget, your experience, and the actual produce you wish to grow. Here, then, are some helpful hints on how to choose the best hydroponic system for your needs.
Start with the wick hydroponic system
The wick hydroponic system is the cheapest to install as well as the easiest to use, and requires only a basic knowledge of hydroponic growing – it is the perfect system for a beginner. Plants are suspended in a growing medium, usually clay pellets or a similar material. A wick draws water and nutrients up from a reservoir and supplies the roots of the plants with the essential food and water. Since there are no moving parts, it’s easy to maintain and set up.
An ebb and flow system, also known as flood and drain, uses a timer and a pump. Several times a day, the pump drowns the roots of the plant in a nutrient solution, which is then drained back to the reservoir. Plants can still remain in their pots and be taken care of and inspected separately, which is a great advantage to growers as well.
The nutrient film hydroponic system – experience required
The nutrient film hydroponic system does not require a growing medium for the plants – rather, the roots of the plants are suspended in a plastic tray and the roots dangle down into a nutrient solution. Whilst it is a highly efficient system, it requires high maintenance and constant check-ups to avoid problems with the pump and having the roots of the plants dry out.
The aeroponic hydroponic system – going high-tech
Probably the most expensive of all the hydroponic systems, the aeroponic design is similar to the nutrient film technique, but with some major improvements. The roots dangle down from the suspended plants, but the nutrient solution is sprayed onto the roots in a fine, mist-like consistency. This allows for a very even distribution of the nutrients and provides the roots with plenty of air. Like with the nutrient film solution, it is imperative that the pump and spray remain in excellent working condition or the plants may die due to the drying out of the roots.
Selecting the right HYDROPONICS system can be a little daunting – a grower will do well to examine their own needs and write them down, then see which system fits best with their budget, time restraints, knowledge and crop selection, and with the right know-how and skills, growers can do very well with their chosen system indeed.
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