Hydroponic Techniques

By | February 2, 2018

Hydroponic Techniques

What is Hydroponic ?

  • Hydroponics is a subset of Hydro culture, the method of growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent.
  • Terrestrial plants may be grown with only their roots expos to the mineral solution,
  • or the roots may be support by an insert medium, such as gravel.
  • The nutrients in hydroponics can come from an array of different sources; these can include but are not limit to byproduct from fish waste, duck manure or normal nutrients.
  • In this way a farmer can solve most of the problems face in conventional farming such as soil quality, gathering farm yard manure, water and pests and insects that come through ground.
  • There are six basic types of hydroponics farming systems.
  1. Wick Systems.
  2. Drip Systems.
  3. Nutrient Film Technique.
  4. Deep Water Culture.
  5. Ebb and Flow or Flood and Drain.
  6. aeroponics

 

Wick Hydroponic System:

Image Source hummert.com

  • Wick system is the simple, easy and low cost type of Hydroponic system.
  • Most growers with large collections-favor wick watering method.
  • It is very efficient self-watering system and brings down the amount of time spent watering.
  • The reservoir holds the nutrient rich water while on the top the grow bed gets water by wicks through capillary action.
  • In this system the main component are the wicks.
  • Hence for best results, a good wick absorbent of the nutrient water to the plants must be use.
  • Wicks that rot must be avoid.
  • Non-rotting fiber such as nylon venetian blind cord, strips of nylon stocking, polyurethane yarn and propylene felt strips can be used.
  • The major drawbacks in this system is it will not work for plants which are large that require more nutrient water supply as wicks can deliver limit supply at a time.
  • The other setback in this system is the algae can be a problem that covers the wicks and the roots.

 Hydroponic Drip System:

Image Source gardenambition.com

  • In Hydroponic systems, drip system is the most commonly and widely use around the world.
  • The operation principles are easy and simple.
  • It recommends using a slow draining medium such as rock wool or peat moss that will provide a slow feed vital plant nutrient from the reservoir.
  • If the system uses faster draining medium, it is recommends using faster dripping emitter which is control by timer.
  • Each base of the plant in the grow beds are fed with nutrient rich solutions through the network of irrigation pipes when the timer turns on the submersed pump.
  • Hydroponic drip system can be easily designe for both small and large cultivation.
  • It is more useful for plants that are large and use lot of root space an also drip lines that run longer spaces.
  • It is works on Reservoir water is pump to the top of the growing medium in which the plants roots are through tubing or irrigation pipes.
  • The water is pump with a submersible pump attach to a timer.
  • The excess nutrient solution drains down by gravity while moistening the roots and the grow beds all the way back to the reservoir.
  • There are two types of hydroponic drip system.
  1. Recovery or Recirculating Drip system: Recovery drip systems are most commonly use by home growers for their limit space gardens. Also nutrient water is reuse or recycle after it has wet the roots and back to reservoir where it can be recirculated again and again.
  2. Non Recovery or Non Recirculating Drip System: In System the nutrient water solution is not recycling back into the reservoir. It has less maintenance as the pH and nutrient levels remain the same.

Nutrient Film Technique :

  • NFT or “Nutrient Film Technique” uses a flat growing surface position at a slight decline.
  • A thin ‘film’ of nutrient solution is continuously running along the surface of the growing table.
  • Usually plants are held in place by neoprene discs, or rooted in rock-wool cubes to create the anchoring need so plants won’t wash away or fall over.
  • The film of water is usually a fraction of an inch deep, with most of the roots actually being out of the water.
  • The roots will get plenty of aeration, which in turn should lower the risk of root problems.
  • It is however vital to protect the roots from light, and to keep them a bit moist. A cover for the growing table is important to regulate the moisture content of the air around the roots.
  • NFT systems are usually recirculating.
  • Nutrient solution constantly flows past the roots, and even though it’s just a thin film, there will be plenty of water moving past the plant roots.
  • Disposing the nutrient solution after one pass would increase water consumption in a massive way, and will be destructive to garden efficiency, which you would normally expect hydro to offer.
  • Depending on the plants and their nutrient consumption, the pH and EC levels of the nutrient solution will gradually change as it passes through the plant roots. Because of this gradual change it is advisable to increase the number of growing tables instead of their length.
  • NFT is utilizing a thin film of water that is constantly flowing it’s absolutely vital that the water keeps moving. If the water stops moving for whatever reason, the plants quickly start to show severe drought problems.
  • One of the biggest advantages due to this is the small amount of nutrient solution in use, although some kind of buffering is always a good thing.

Deep Water Culture Hydroponic Technique :

Hydroponic deep water culture

Image Source grow-world.co.uk

  • In This Hydroponic Technique which is also called as raft method or floating system is commonly use for educational and instructional propose.
  • The water culture system is the most commonly use hydroponic for large commercial growing of lettuce, salad leaves or basil.
  • In system a platform usually made of Styrofoam which is strong and light hold plants while it floats on reservoir that holds mineral rich solution.
  • The air stone in the reservoir which is connected to the air pump supplies oxygen to plant roots and bubbles the nutrient solution.
  • Care must be taken in preventing light penetrating the system, as this will lead to growing of algae which will create havoc.
  • Though it is simple and cost effective, only limited crops such as water loving plants can be grown.
  • Deep water culture is excellent for beginners and amateur hydroponic growers.
  • This system is very inexpensive, easy to prepare at home. And also has extreme low maintenance.
  • PH between 5.5 to 6.3 must be maintained by careful feeding program.
  • It doesn’t work well for large plants and plants with long growing period.

Ebb and Flow or Flood and Drain Hydroponic Technique:

  • A slight adaptation to conventional hydro is Ebb and Flow; plants in these systems get watered from below for a set amount of time.
  • In this Hydroponic Technique one of the best systems to use when recycling nutrients.
  • Nutrient solution pumps out below the plants. The grower then allows the plant and medium some time to absorb the moisture, then the excess drains off again.
  • Usually, plants receive 5 to 15 minutes of high water levels, and then a longer period without a nutrient solution on the roots.
  • Technically, Ebb and Flow is a little more demanding than a conventional hydro system, using a little more plumbing to control the water height.
  • Planting young plants requires some planning; plants need to have roots long enough to come into contact with the water.
  • Especially if they are grown on clay pebbles. However, it is easy to move around plants in their individual pots. Unlike other systems, there is drip lines connecte to the pots so moving them is easy.
  • These systems are perfect for experience hydro growers that want to have good control of their nutrient solution as it’s easy to measure what the difference in pH and EC is in between every flooding.
  • The difference between Ebb and Flow and conventional hydro comes down to preference. Both are a better system and both work about the same.
  • It’s really up to the individual user and their location which determines which system should be chosen.

Aeroponics Hydroponic Technique :

  • The most high-tech solution to growing plants in a hydroponic setup is aeroponics.
  • These kinds of systems are probably not suite for beginners due to their complexity.
  • Aeroponics systems are a sort of opposite to Deep Water Culture.
  • Oppose to a container filled with oxygenate water these systems use a container with air saturate with a mist of nutrient solution.
  • Plants are usually suspend with neoprene disks. Net-pots don’t really work because they allow for the nutrient mist to escape which leaves salt spots everywhere it goes.
  • The mist is usually made by pumping water with pressure through a nozzle which creates a fine mist. Obviously, it’s important that the plumbing be correct.
  • Cleaning the system often is necessary to make sure the nozzles don’t clog up. Overall these systems probably do more to increase the risk of catastrophic failure.

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