Hydroponics is a means of cultivating plants, by supplying nutrients that they need to grow in water. Although no soil is used, a medium could be used for its roots to soak and supply constant water supply. Such mediums lead us to consider hydroponics systems, which are discussed below.
Basically there are 6 kinds of hydroponics systems, such as wick, water culture, ebb & flow (also called flood & drain), drip, nutrient film technique (NFT), and aeroponic. Although there are lots of variations on those 6 systems, all hydroponics methods are a combination those 6.
The Wick System
Undoubtedly the easiest kind of system, the wick system is a passive hydroponics system, meaning there are no moving parts inside. The nutrient solution is gets drawn into the growing medium from a reservoir with a wick.
The wick system can use several plant growing mediums like Perlite, Vermiculite, Pro-Mix, and Coconut Fiber- all of these being the hottest.
There’s a disadvantage related to the wick system, which is that the plants are big or the nutrient solution may use up a great deal of water, much faster than the wick system can provide it.
Of active hydroponics systems, the water culture is the easiest one. A Styrofoam process is the platform that holds the plant and floats right on the nutrient solution. Air is supplied to the air stone by an air conditioner, and bubbles are thus caused to the nutrient solution, supplying oxygen to the roots of this plant.
The water culture hydroponics system is excellent for cultivating leaf lettuce, given the fact that these grow quite quickly through this system. However, few other programs grow well with the water culture hydroponics system.
Additionally, the water culture hydroponics system is extremely popular with educators, for a very affordable system can be made from an old aquarium or water tight containers.
The biggest disadvantage of this water culture hydroponics system is that it doesn’t fit large or long term plants.
Ebb & Flow System
The Ebb and Flow hydroponics system temporarily flooding the plant grow tray with nutrient solution and then drains the solution back into the reservoir. A submerged pump is usually linked to a timer in this system. The timer pushes the nutrient solution on the grow tray. The nutrient solution flows back to the reservoir once the time is switched off. It’s set to be activated many times each day, depending on the size and type of plant, temperature, humidity and the sort of plant growing medium which is used.
The Ebb & Flow hydroponics system can be used with various plant growing mediums. The grow tray can be full of gravel or granular Rockwool, or grow stones. If individual pots are full of all the plant growing medium, it’s much easier to move the plants around or even in and out of the machine.
The drawback associated with the Ebb & Flow system is that some plant growth mediums such as grow stones and gravel could be prone to power outages in addition to pump and time failures. Consequently, the plant roots can dry out quickly when the watering cycles are disrupted. This issue can be addressed somewhat though through using growing websites that store more water, such as may be alleviated somewhat by using growing media that keeps more water, such as Rockwool, vermiculite and coconut fiber.
Recovery / Non-Recovery: The most frequently used form of hydroponics systems on earth are the trickle systems. They are easier to operate, and a timer controls a submerged pump. When the timer activates the pump, the nutrient solution drips on the bottom of each plant with a little drip line.
There are two types of drip systems, Recovery Drip and Non- Recovery Drip System. In the Recovery Drip system, the left over nutrient solution is gathered back into the reservoir to get re-use, whereas at the Non-Recover Drip system, the extra nutrient solution isn’t collected back into the reservoir. In the retrieval drip system, consequently, the timer is affordable and efficient since it doesn’t need an accurate control of the watering cycle. On the other hand, the non-recovery drip system demands a precise timer so that the watering cycles could be adjusted to allow the plants to have a sufficient amount of nutrient solution and there is less wastage of this solution. This also implies, then, that less maintenance is needed of this non-recovery system, whereas the recovery system may have substantial shifts in the nutrient strength levels regularly require checking and adjusting.
Nutrient Film Technique (N.F.T)
The most known of hydroponics systems is the Nutrient Film Technique (N.F.T) system. N.F.T. systems demand a continual source of nutrient solution and the submersible pump requires no timer. The nutrient solution pumped to the developing tray, flows across the roots of the plants, then collects back into the reservoir.
In the Nutrient Film Technique, there’s usually no growing medium needed besides atmosphere. This turns out to be an inexpensive system, therefore, because there’s absolutely no requirement of replacing the growing medium. The plant is usually supported in a little plastic jar, and the roots dangle in the nutrient solution.
The N.F.T hydroponics systems is quite vulnerable to power outages and pump failures, and disruption to the flow of the nutrient solution causes the roots to dry out.
Perhaps the most technical of hydroponics systems, the aeroponics systems mainly uses air to work. The roots hang in the air and get moisture in the nutrient solution. The moistening occurs every couple of minutes, but since the roots hang in the air (such as from the N.F.T. system)they dry out if the moistening cycles are disrupted. In the Aeroponic hydroponics systems, the controlling timer runs the pump for a couple of seconds every few minutes.