When you develop an interest in hydroponics and wish to set up a starter system in your house, you should be aware of some of the basic concepts in this field so that you can make the right choice and get maximum benefit out of it. One of the first things that you should know is the number of systems that are available at an online hydro store or retail store. This will give you a fair idea of choosing the right system that suits your space and budget constraints. Some of the basic and most-used hydroponics systems are explained herewith, for your understanding.
- Wick system
This is one of the most basic and simplest systems that you can see at a hydroponic grow store. As the name indicates, the nutrient solution goes from the reservoir to the plants through a wick or a rope. It is very simple to set up and the wick replaces the function of the pump. This support works well for small plants that are grown on mediums like coconut fibre, vermiculite or perlite. Since this system is quite basic, it doesn’t work on bigger and heavier plants.
- Deep Water Culture System (DWC)
In this system, the plants are kept inside a reservoir filled with a nutrient solution. The nutrients reach the roots of the plants, thanks to the functioning of an air pump. The roots get the required amount of oxygen, nutrients, and water at regular intervals. This is an easy system to set up in your home and it is one of the most recommended systems for beginners. However, you need to remember that this system doesn’t work well on bigger plants.
- Nutrient Film Technique (NFL)
This is one of the most widely sold systems at any hydroponics grow shop. This system is quite effective because here the plants are planted in various compartments that have the nutrient solution in them. The solution is constantly filled into them from the reservoir. The NFL used recycled water, because once the nutrient solution reaches the tip of the compartment, it goes back into the main reservoir again, thanks to the presence of a pump and timers. In this system, the roots are not completely immersed in water and the plants grow remarkably in their compartments, even with a small amount of growing medium. However, an important point to note while using this system is that it is heavily dependent on the functioning of the pump and timers. If these fail, the entire system can get flooded, which leads to damage of the roots.
- Ebb & Flow (also known as Flood & Drain)
This system is not widely used; nevertheless, it is quite an effective technique that involves a fair amount of cost and space. Here, the plants are grown on a growing tray and they follow a regular watering cycle. The tray gets flooded or filled with the nutrient solution in the reservoir that is kept beneath the tray. Once the tray is flooded, a pump drains this solution back into the reservoir. The pH balance, nutrients, and oxygen level of the solution is then checked and sent back to the tray when the next flooding cycle is due. In this system, the roots of the plants are watered based on a fixed schedule depending on their size, temperature, growth pattern and much more. The downside of this system is that the flooding and draining schedules are dependent on the functioning of the timers. If the timer fails, the system goes for a toss and leads to decay in plants very soon.
Apart from these, there are also some advanced systems like aeroponics and drip system. However, both of these are not recommended for beginners as they involve a lot of technology and effort to set up. When you proceed to buy a hydroponics system from an online or retail store, it is highly recommended that you consult with an expert about space and budget constraints that you have. This will help you choose the right system so that you can nurture it well and get maximum benefits from it. If you are just starting off to test this system at your home, you need to understand the meaning of the different systems, their features, pros, and cons, in order to take the right decision.