Hydroponics Systems The types of hydroponic systems are :Water culture, Wick, Ebb and Flow, Dripper , Aeroponic and Nutrient film technique.The DIY homemade hydroponic system must offer the following for optimal growth :Light, Air, Water, Nutrients, Heat , Room for the roots to spread
Wick systemThe Wick system is the simplest type of hydroponic systems.It is a passive system as there are no moving parts. a Wick isused to draw the nutrient solution from a reservoir into thegrowing medium This system can use a variety of growingmedium. Perlite, Vermiculite, Pro-Mix and Coconut Fiber areamong the most popular.The draw back of the wick hydroponics system is that largerplants use large amounts of water. This causes the nutrientsolution to be used faster than the wicks can supply it.
Wick system Diagram
Water culture system.This is the simplist and most economical of all active hydroponic systems. Small tomedium sized plants will grow best in a deep water culture. It is ideal for growinglightweight, leafy vegetables like lettuce, herbs and small peppers. You can use a bin orfish tank as a reservoir. The water culture needs to supply the roots of the plants withenough oxygen, to act as suitable growing medium . Your plants needs theappropriate amount of access to water and nutrients.Styrofoam is needed to hold your plants. a One inch thick piece will be adequate. Pokeholes through it to place your net pots into. The Styrofoam with pots will be placed atthe top of the reservoir, floating in the water.You the have to mix the appropriate amounts of nutrients into the water. Thesenutrients contain nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and other elements andminerals. You can purchase premixed solutions. These nutrients contain all of theneeded properties similar to soil which allows for your plants to successfully grow.To accurately measure the pH levels in your plants you will need a pH test kit. This isvery important in hydroponic gardening. Monitoring of these plants are needed asthe pH of a nutrient solution reads the outcome of an electrical encounter thathappens between the plants roots and everything that surrounds them.
An air pump is also a important part of a hydroponic system. It supplies air to the airstone. The air stone (or bubbler) which will be placed at the bottom of your reservoirwill bubble and supply oxygen to the roots of the plants.Last but most important is water. Water will keep the plants alive. The plants will bestrong and sturdy. Most of these items can be found around the house and online.The draw back of this system is that it doesnt work well with large plants or withlong-term plants.
Water Culture System Diagram
Ebb & Flow ( Flood and Drain )With the Ebb and Flow the grow trays are temporarily flooded with nutrient solutionand then draining the solution back into the resorvoir. A submergible pump thatworks on a timer will flood and drain the trays This action is normally done with asubmerged pump that is connected to a timer.The timer switches the pump on and nutrient solution is pumped into the grow trays.After a few minutes the timer switch the pump off and the draining starts, and thenutrients flow back into the reservoir. This cycle repeats several times a day, anddepends on the size and type of plants, temperature and humidity and the type ofgrowing medium used.The Ebb & Flow is a system that can be used with a range of growing mediums. Theentire grow tray can be filled with Grow Rocks, gravel or granular Rockwool.The disadvantage of this system is a vulnerability to power outages as well as pumpand timer failures. The roots then dry out when the watering cycles are interrupted.
Ebb & Flow ( Flood and Drain ) Diagram
Drip Systems ( Recovery – Non recovery )This is the most used type of hydroponic system in the world. It’s operation is simple.a Timer controls a submersed pump. As soon as the timer turns on the pumpnutrient solution is dripped onto the base of each plant by a small drip line. With theRecovery Drip System the excess nutrient solution that runs off is collected back inthe reservoir for re-use. The Non Recovery System does not collect the run off.The recovery system uses the nutrient solution more efficiently, as excess solution isreused. It allows for the use of a more inexpensive timer due to the fact that arecovery system doesnt require precise control of the watering cycles. The non-recovery system needs precise timer so that watering cycles can be adjusted to insurethat the plants get enough nutrient solution and to keep the runoff to a minimum.The non-recovery also requires minimum maintenance as the the excess nutrientsolution isnt recycled back into the reservoir. Thus the nutrient strength and pH ofthe reservoir will be more constant. You can fill the reservoir with pH nutrientsolution and then forget it until you need to mix more. A recovery system have largeshifts in the pH and nutrient strength levels that calls for periodic checking.
N.F.T. ( Nutrient Film Technique )This kind of hydroponic system have a constant flow of nutrient solution, and notimer is required for the submersible pump. The nutrient solution is pumped intothe growing tray via a tube and flows over the roots of the plants.The nutrients thendrains back into the reservoir.No growing mediun is required other than air. The plants is supported in a plasticbasket with the roots dangling into the nutrient solution.N.F.T. systems are susceptible to power outages and pump failures. The roots candry out very rapidly when the flow of nutrient solution is interrupted.
Drip Systems ( Recovery – Non recovery ) Diagram
AeroponicsThe Aeroponic system is the most high-tech type of hydroponics. Like the NutrientFilm Technique the growing medium is primarily air. The roots also hangs in the airand are then misted with the nutrient solution.The mistings are done more often usually every few minutes. Due to the rootsbeing exposed to the air , there is the possibility that the roots will dry out rapidly ifthe misting cycles are interrupted for long intervals due to power failure.A timer controls the nutrient pump much like other types of hydroponic systems.The Aeroponics system needs shorter cycles to spray the mist than otherHydroponic systems. It can vary from cycles of a few seconds to a few minutes.
For more information regarding Hydroponics, Gardening, Bonsai , Lucky Bamboo Visit www.minnie-online.co.za/blog