Different Types of Hydroponics Systems

Hydroponics is a method for growing plants without using soil as the growing medium; a water and nutrient solution is used instead of the soil to provide the plant with everything it needs to grow successfully. There are several different types of hydroponic systems; in this article, we will look at the different types and how they work.
The wick system
The wick system is the most basic form of hydroponic system, which can be set up with only a few pieces of equipment. The plants sit on a grow tray with a growing medium such as coconut fibre. A water reservoir is placed underneath the growing tray, which includes the water-based nutrient solution that helps the plants to grow. The solution is transferred to the plants using a wick made from nylon rope, wool rope or cloth. Air is also pumped into the reservoir using an air pump to keep the nutrient solution circulating and provide the plants with oxygen. This method is only suitable for not fruiting plants; it is not the most efficient or effective but can be good for children or beginners to learn the basics of hydroponics.
Deep water culture system
This system is also quite simple and suitable for beginners. The plants are suspended in net pots above the nutrient and water solution, where their roots stretch to gain access to the solution. The solution is pumped full of air to provide oxygen and prevent the build-up of algae and disease within the tank. This system is great for small plants with a short life cycle. Larger plants shouldn’t be grown in this type of hydroponic system.
Nutrient film technique
This technique coats the roots in the nutrient solution, which is continuously drained back into the reservoir and pumped back out again. The plants sit in a tray that’s at an angle; no substrate is needed for this method of growing. The nutrient-rich water solution that also contains air comes into one side of the tray, then moves down the tray and is filtered back into the reservoir. This method is again good for growing small plants such as lettuce that are quick to grow. It can save the grower money as they won’t need to purchase any substrate material. As with any of these methods, they may also need to provide the plants with the right amount of light.
Ebb and flow system
The ebb and flow hydroponics system is a slightly more advanced way to grow plants without soil. The plants are placed in a growing medium in a grow tray. A timer is used to periodically flood the plants with the nutrient-based solution needed for them to grow effectively. Any excess solution returns to the solution tank using a downward pipe. This method is great because it can use a variety of different growing mediums, and the drain pipe prevents the plants from receiving too many nutrients from the solution, which can be a problem in other systems.
Drip hydroponics system
Drip hydroponics systems use the same principles of the ebb and flow system; however, instead of flooding the plants with the nutrient solution, it is dripped over them. These systems use a timer and can regulate the flow, so if the plants require fewer nutrients, the amount can be reduced. Some drip systems have an overflow tube that drains back into the nutrient solution, whereas others don’t do this. The ones that do are more efficient in recycling the water and nutrients, but this can cause issues with the PH level of the water and requires more continuous observation from the grower.
Aeroponics system
This is the most complex and high-tech hydroponics system used to grow plants. Instead of dripping the nutrient solution into the plants or flooding the roots, the solution is misted over the plants. By doing this, the plants are provided with the right nutrients and plenty of oxygen, which aids in their growth. The mist is programmed using a timer so the plants can receive the right level of nutrients in the most efficient way. This method can be used to grow a variety of plants in small and large-scale operations. In terms of cost, aeroponic systems are more expensive compared to other hydroponic systems.
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