Hide this

How Hydroponics Systems Work For You, Part 4: DWC, NFT, Ebb & Flow and Beyond

Your hydroponics plants need food too! Your hydroponics plants need food too!

In our last episode, we talked about how both open and closed water-nutrients systems must be carefully managed to ensure that harmful pathogens, algae and other plagues stay out of your hydroponics nutrients water, reservoirs and root zone. Your interventions include properly aerating, filtering, temperature-controlling and cleansing your hydroponics nutrients water.

Now that we’ve covered open and closed nutrients water issues, it is time for us to discuss the different types of hydroponics systems. You can divide the systems into three general types…

1. Solid root zone media drip irrigation / flood and drain / ebb and flow systems: These utilize rockwool, Pro-Mix, Sunshine Mix, coco coir, perlite or similar faux soil materials that allow roots to interpenetrate in much the same way as they would in real soil outdoors. I do not include hydroton or similarly sized and graded materials in this category.

  1. Water culture: Whether it’s Deep Water Culture (DWC), Nutrient Film Technique (NFT), standing water systems or a variation thereof, I describe water culture as any system in which your hydroponics plants’ roots hang in water or substantially contact water. You will see the difference between this and aeroponics.
  2. Aeroponics: Your plants’ roots are collared and stabilized so they hang in a light-tight tube or other chamber. They are periodically sprayed with a water/hydroponics-nutrients solution.

Now we will talk about the ins and outs of these systems. These are complex concepts to explain in words, so I urge you to visit a quality hydroponics retailer, such as Miramar Hydroponics in Southern California. You want to see the inner workings of these systems, especially if the store has them set up and running with real plants in them.

Starting with solid root zone media systems, we’ll examine general characteristics of these systems and how they affect your hydroponics growth and yield.

In solid media systems, much depends on what your media is. You’ll see I always recommend Grodan rockwool above all other solid media. The Grodan company is like the Advanced Nutrients of the root zone materials world—they’ve taken a generic material adapted from non-horticultural uses and reworked it until it’s perfect for indoor hydroponics.

Because rockwool is inert, totally neutral and easy to specialty-manufacture, Grodan has created a wide range of rockwool types specific to particular gardening goals.

They achieve this by adjusting the weave and density of Grodan materials to control how the rockwool holds and releases water, oxygen and nutrients.

Other manufacturers of solid root zone materials, such as the makers of Sunshine Mix and Pro-Mix, also alter the configurations of their base mixes so growers get options regarding the material’s water, oxygen, and nutrients delivery characteristics.

But those soil mixes are most often peat-based, which along with other factors makes them less reliable and easy to use than Grodan rockwool. The increasingly popular coco coir offers a few positive characteristics, but again, it is not as versatile, differentiated or easy to work with as Grodan rockwool.

When we return for our next article together, we’ll look at managing solid root zone media and compare it to the other two categories of hydroponics systems. That’s why reading Rosebudmag.com should be as habitual for you as breathing. Ok, well maybe not that habitual, but close…

Read Part 1 of this series - click here.

Read Part 2 of this series - click here.

Read Part 3 of this series - click here.

Read Part 5 of this series - click here.

Read Part 6 of this series - click here.

Read Part 7 of this series - click here.

Read Part 8 of this series - click here.

Follow Us:

Thinking of expanding your closet grow into a bigger op? Get tips on expanding your business here.

Need the scoop on Bloom Boosters? Get expert analysis here.

Want expert advice on growing media? Read this series on coco coir.

Follow Rosebud Magazine on Twitter – click here.

© Copyright Rosebudmag.com, 2011

To create link towards this article on your website,
copy and paste the text below in your page.

Preview :

Powered by Rosebudmag © 2022
Follow Rosebud Magazine on Twitter Check out the Rosebud Magazine Facebook
Share this article with your friends, family and co-workers
Hydroponics ebb & flow is simple and fun.
Last modified on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 13:47

© Rosebud Magazine, 2010 - 2018 | All rights reserved.

Login or Register