Hydroponic Growing System:
The following information is all about Hydroponic Growing System.
Introduction: Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil. Plants are grown in soil, that’s what we know do you know that plants are grown without soil also. A modern technology called Hydroponic Growing System that grows plants without soil in making water or deep moist air as a growing medium. Many of the vegetable and fruits are grown by using Hydroponic Growing System.
Plants grown in the Hydroponic Growing System doesn’t develop extensive roots, they are grown in an inert and in perfect growing medium with balance pH levels and nutrients. the hydroponic system makes plant to spend complete energy in flowering and fruiting and minimizes the plant stress on the roots for searching nutrients.
Advantages of Hydroponic Growing System
- the growth rate of plants grown in Hydroponic Growing System is higher than the plants grown in soil.
- The hydroponic plants grow 25% faster and give 30% more yields than the soil grown plants.
- Plants are provided with balanced nutrients and pH levels, to raise healthy plants without any imbalances. Plants will be free from fungal and bacterial infections in the soil.
- Water consumption of water by plants grown in Hydroponic Growing System less compared to soil-based plants.
- Hydroponic Growing System reduces soil and water pollution.
Disadvantages of Hydroponic Growing System
- The Hydroponic Growing System is very expensive.
- Large scale Hydroponic Growing System takes a long time to set up. And you need special training to maintain a Hydroponic Growing unit.
- Daily monitoring is compulsory in Hydroponic Growing System.
- There are many risk factors in managing Hydroponic Growing System. Even a small pump damage can spoil complete system.
- Hydroponic Growing System need a constant supply of fresh water, as the growing medium in Hydroponic Growing System cannot store water like soil.
Types of Hydroponic Growing System
There are six different types of Hydroponic Growing System.
Drip Hydroponic Growing System
It is a most popular hydroponic Growing system. It has simple and easily operations. In drip system plants are provided with slow feed of nutrient solution to the growing medium. Slow draining medium like Rockwool, Coconut coir or Peat moss are used in a drip system.
Plant nutrients are mixed in water tanks and supplied for each plant through a network of drip irrigation pipes. These pumps are controlled by timers. Timers in drip irrigation are used to maintain a time-based irrigation at a regular interval. The emitter is attached to each pipe that controls time and flow of nutrients to the plants. Drip irrigation is very simple, you can easily control the flow of nutrients and pH levels in the growing medium.
There are two types of Drip Hydroponic Growing System:
Recovery Drip Hydroponic Growing System:
In recovery drip irrigation, excess nutrients are recycled. Excess nutrients are taken up back to the nutrient reservoir through drip irrigation, to control the flow of nutrients to plants. Due to recycling of nutrients, a constant inspection is required as the nutrient concentration, reduce due to the recycling process.
Non-recovery Drip Hydroponic Growing System:
In Non-recover drip hydroponic Growing system, doesn’t recycle nutrient solution. Maintenance cost is a bit less in this type drip irrigation. Non-recovery drip doesn’t need constant monitoring as pH levels and nutrient levels remain constant.
Drip Hydroponic Growing suits well for all types of hydroponic farmers. Drip systems can be implemented by both home gardening and commercial Growing. you can grow any types of plant and any number of plants usingDrip Hydroponic Growing System.
Ebb and Flow Hydroponic Growing System (Flow and Drain System)
Ebb and Flow system is another popular in hydroponic growing system, very simple setup and operations. In hydroponic Growing system, growing medium is flooded till it reaches to a fixed point. Water is allowed up to a few inches below the top of the growing medium without overflowing. The water pump is controlled by the timer. The timer is set to the amount of time needed for the water to reach a fixed point in the growing medium. Once the timer runs up to a predetermined time, the timer shuts up the pump and water runs back the through the pumps, draining the growing medium completely. In the Ebb system of Hydroponics, the timer is set different times depending on the size and type of plants growing, temperature and humidity conditions and the growing medium. As some plants and growing mediums cannot hold water for long periods in that case frequent flooding is needed.
Instead of shutting off the power to the water pump, use automatic draining system, for example bell siphon to drain water automatically when it reaches a fixed point. The automatic drainage system allows more air and water movements to roots and promotes growth of plants. Ebb and Flow Hydroponic Growing is a good choice and can grow many plants.
Wicks Hydroponic Growing System
Wick system is simple and easy operated hydroponic system. This hydroponic system has simple setup which doesn’t require any electricity, pumps or aerators.
In this system, plants are grown in an absorbent growing medium such as Coir, Coco, Perlite or Vermiculite a nylon wick running from plant root into a reservoir of nutrient solution. The Wick system uses capillary action to move nutrients using a cotton wick to plants. In the wick system, plants are placed very near to the reservoir to minimize the travel distance of the nutrients up the wick. The main advantage of wick system is, it delivers a slow and constant supply of nutrients nutrient. Wick system slow stream of nutrient solution supply makes the wick system better for smaller plants that require less watering. Wick system should be maintained manually, multiple wicks should be provided depending on the plant count. Nutrient reservoir should be kept full, to reduce travel distance. The growing medium should be rinsed regularly to avoid nutrient build ups. The main concern with wick system is, the wick you use should be a good absorbent. Wicks used in this hydroponic Growing system is made of wool felt, nylon rope, cotton rope, Tiki torch wicks, rayon rope, fabric strips and polyurethane yarn etc.
Water Culture Hydroponic Growing System
The water culture hydroponic system is simply among the all other types of hydroponic systems. It is the best hydroponic system to grow crops commercially and for home-based Growing. In water culture Growing, plants are placed under baskets right above the nutrient solution in the reservoir. the roots of the plants are directly hang down from baskets into the nutrient solution. The roots get air and oxygen from the air bubbles that rise from the nutrient solution, you should implement aeration techniques to increase the air bubbles. Water culture needs more air bubbles, bubbles should be rise and make direct contact with the roots providing roots air and oxygen. There are two different types aeration techniques in the water culture system.
Types of Aeration techniques in Hydroponic Growing System
In this technique air bubbles are created using air pump used in aquarium and air stones. The air pump provides the air volume and is connected to air stones with an air tube. The air stones are made of rock material with small pores that creates small air bubbles rising on top of the nutrient solution. Instead of air stones, you can use a soaker hose to generate air bubbles. Air bubbles generated form soaker hose are smaller than air stone bubbles, small air bubbles provide better aeration, and they provide more contact with the water surface that helps the dissolved oxygen to reach the roots of the plants.
In this aeration technique, falling water splashes in nutrition solution produce better air and dissolved oxygen to the roots of the plants. The higher the water fall or more volume of water falling downwards, the deeper the agitation and more aeration provided. This aeration technique is implemented in commercial water culture systems, large volumes of water is used.
Circulating Water Culture System:
this is also called as re-circulating water culture system. This system works as flood and drain hydroponic Growing, but the solution is not drained. Many growing buckets are connected to a central reservoir, and each bucket has its own full line and drain tube. The excess nutrition solution is drained back into the reservoir through the draining pump. Each bucket has a plant filled with growing medium. you can have many rows of buckets, and all the buckets are filled with nutrition solutions using pond pump. When the buckets are full, the water will be drained back to the reservoir using a drain pump where it is re-circulated.
In this re-circulating water culture system, air pump is placed in the central reservoir. Using air pumps for each bucket individually is very expensive. Water pump should run round the clock, for constant production of air bubbles.
The Falling water aeration method also works good circulating water culture Growing. In this re-circulating method, you don’t need to check the water level of each bucket, you can just the central reservoir and replace it if needed. It is more suitable for growing commercial Growing or from any plants.
Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic System
The DWC ISA version of water culture hydroponic growing system. the only difference is the depth of the water solution. The depth of the water system is 8-10 inches, and most of the hydroponic Growing, nutrition solution need not be deeper than 8 inches. High depth of nutrition solution is needed only to grow large plants with heavy roots and need more water and space to grow.
The main difference between DWC and the water culture system is the depth. The depth of the solution depends upon the size of the plant roots, the water requirements of plant and container used. Wide opened container is not recommended, just go for shallow container.
Water Culture Hydroponic Growing System is simplest and inexpensive, but only few range of crops grows in this Growing. In water culture roots stay constantly in the nutrient solution, some plants may die due excess water only some species grow well in this situation.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) in Hydroponic Growing System
NFT system uses a continuous flow of nutrient solution flow type hydroponic Growing, it is known for its efficient use of nutrients, simple setup and exact feeding techniques. NFT system works like EBB and flow Growing technique. In NFT technique a small, shallow stream of nutrient solution is re-circulated over the roots of the plants through a channel, gutter or tube.
NFT is like Ebb and flow technique, but the only difference is nutrient solution flows directly over the roots. The NFT uses slightly angled shallow tubes, so that the pump moves the nutrient solution to the higher portion of the system. And the solution moves gradually to the lower portion by gravity. the tubes have holes for plants, you can plant the plants directly through the holes. The plant roots fall directly to the nutrient solution. But in NFT, the roots are not completely soaked in water, the film makes only lower submerged with water and the upper part of the root remains dry. The plant roots are suspended into the growing tubes and the nutrient solution flows beneath the roots suppling the roots constant supple of nutrients.
This system allows as constant flow of the flow of nutrients without using a timer. In NFT system the flow rate of solution and slope gradient of the growing pump is the main concerns. The recommended slope of growing tube is 1-inch slop for 30 to 40 inches long. Sloping of tube can be adjusted depending on plants and their roots. The NFT system needs constant power supply to avoid system failure, which causes root dry.
What is Aeroponics? Well, Aeroponics is a new way of growing plants using moist air. It is the best method that uses very less amount of water. In the Aeroponics system, the plant roots are suspended in air with roots hanging in the air. And the nutrient solution is pumped through high-pressure pumps and sprayed as a mist over the roots of the plants hanged. Mist air has more quantities of oxygen to the plants and promotes faster growth compared to other hydroponic systems.
Spraying should be done frequently as the misting provides a very less amount of nutrients to the roots. Constant spraying makes a nutrient solution more oxygenated which supports fast and healthy growth of plants.
The main concern in this Growing technique is, the size of droplets sprayed to the roots. Small fine droplets sprayed roots grow faster than the large droplets sprayed roots.
Aeroponics system has subcategories as per the droplet size:
Low pressure Aeroponics system: This is system generates large droplets, is the most popular and most used technique. This system is less expensive and don’t require huge equipment’s. It is not suitable for large scale commercial Growing.
High Pressure Aeroponics system: This is a more efficient technique, even though it is expensive. In this system, the nutrient solution is pressurized to generate the mist with fine droplets. In this system, small fine droplets produced that supply good amount of oxygen to the roots of the plant results in faster growth.
Ultrasonic Foggers: Fogger are used to generate the mist with fine droplets. Although Fogger produces mist, the moisture levels and oxygen levels are less. And the foggers sometimes drop to the bottom, you need to check constantly that whether the fogger supplying mist to the roots of the plants without a break.
Growing plants is no longer related to climate, season. you can grow any plant virtually round the year.
Read about Growing Free Range Chickens.
Read about Complete Aeroponics System.