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Hydro 101 with Deonna Marie: Hydroponic Growing Systems & Techniques

Choosing the right hydroponics system for you can be tough given the variety of growing methods out there Choosing the right hydroponics system for you can be tough given the variety of growing methods out there

 

In this Installment of Hydro 101, we’re going to go over a few different hydroponic techniques, what they do, how they work, and how to use them. I get a lot of questions about what is the best technique, but there is no right answer in my opinion. I suggest reading up on the different kinds of hydroponic systems and techniques, and then decide which one best fits your budget, grow space, and time. Maybe you've been wanting to try a new system or maybe you feel like you’re ready to make the switch from growing in soil. Either way, I hope this article will help guide you through the world of hydroponics.

One of the most common and easiest to use systems is the Ebb and Flow system. With the ebb and flow system, your plants are flooded with a nutrient solution for 10 to 15 minutes every hour or two. After the plants are fed with the nutrient solution, the solution is then drained from the growing medium and the plants' roots are exposed to fresh oxygen. This system can be used for many types of crops and is one of the most common methods used by the at-home indoor gardner.

Make sure to do your homework before starting - time and money is valuable and you want to be fully educated before spending your resources on something new.

The next technique is the drip system. The Drip system is a timed process that flushes the plants' growing medium with a nutrient solution through an overhead pipe and/or tubing. Commercial farmers use the drip method for long term crops like peppers, tomatoes, and berries. You'll find this method used on most of the produce fields all over California.

Then there’s the Nutrient Film Technique, also known as (NFT). Unlike the Ebb and Flow system and the Drip system, NFT does not use a growing medium, such as rockwool or hydroton. Instead, the plants’ roots are flooded with nutrient solution on a more frequent basis. In theory, the tops of the roots are continually exposed to fresh oxygen while the bottom of the roots takes in the nutrients. Short-term crops like leafy greens and herbs grow well with NFT.

Last but not least, there’s the Passive method. The Passive system does not require pumps or timers to supply the plants with nutrients. Instead, the plants' roots have continuous access to a nutrient solution. The disadvantage to this method is the smaller amount of oxygen available to the plants; however, by placing an air pump in the nutrient reservoir, you can help replenish the oxygen that the plants lack.

These are not the only methods out there in the hydro world, but they are the most common. If you’re looking to switch to another hydroponics method, or just switch from soil growing to hydro, I suggest trying out one of these techniques. Make sure to do your homework before starting - time and money is valuable and you want to be fully educated before spending your resources on something new. Until next time fellow growers, grow big or go home!

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Deonna Marie is the world’s hottest hydroponics expert
Last modified on Friday, 23 November 2012 09:31

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