How To Choose the Right Hydroponics System
Hydroponics is a fun, satisfying, and sometimes profitable hobby, but if you’re new to growing indoor crops, you might wonder where to begin. The first three things you should consider are money, space, and what you want to grow. To help you decide, consider the following types of hydroponics systems. Here are a few tips on how to choose the right hydroponics system for your needs.
Whether you’re entering hydroponics as a gardening novice or have logged hundreds of hours in your backyard, consider exploring hydroponics with a wick system. A wick system can be cheap, is easy to assemble and install, and requires no fancy parts or electricity. Plants are suspended in the growing media and receive their water and nutrition through a wick—usually, a piece of cotton or nylon rope dipped in a holding tank below. In a hydroponic wick system, capillary action is what feeds the nutrient solution to the root zone of the plants. The wick system has no moving parts, so it’s very easy to build and operate.
The AutoPot System is a type of wick system in that the plant feeds from the bottom through capillary lift. In an AutoPot system, capillary lift is what allows the plants to access the nutrient solution from the trays where the pots sit. The nutrient solution is wicked up into the grow medium, allowing the plant to feed. It is one of the easiest and most efficient systems to use if you want to pursue a wick system method of growing. Check out our broad range of AutoPot systems and products here.
Ebb and Flow
An ebb and flow system requires a bit more equipment and setup. Ebb and flow systems are also referred to as flood and drain systems. This type of system uses a pump to continuously fill the grow tray with water and nutrition, then empty it back into the main tank. The pump operates on a timer, letting you feed and water the plants on a schedule. Ebb and flow hydroponic systems can be expanded to include multiple hydroponic grow pots, permitting you to grow more plants separately. Ebb and flow systems are affordable, but the more you grow, the more you’ll spend on equipment and electricity. You also need to keep it clean and free from mold.
If you’re using an ebb and flow system, we highly recommend checking out the Wilt Guard from CX Horticulture. This is an essential product for ebb and flow growers because it helps prevent pythium or root rot from happening when water temperatures get too high. This is a catastrophic problem that can cause serious damage to a crop. Invest in Wilt Guard to make sure you never have this problem!
Nutrient Film Technique
With nutrient film technique, plants are grown in a plastic tray without a growing medium, as their roots are dipped into a solution below. Nutrient solution is regularly pumped in and out of the tray from a tank below. Part of deciding how to choose the right hydroponics system involves figuring out how much work you want to put into monitoring the system. Nutrient film technique requires more supervision and care because if the water runs out, the plants will die quickly. Browse our water control section to find all the necessary tools to monitor your system and make sure your water is at optimal levels for your plants to thrive!
Once again, a pump is employed to deliver water and nutrients to plants, but this time, devices known as drippers deliver the goods. The nutrient solution is kept in a tank below and delivered to the plants above according to a preset timer. The solution can drip through the growing medium and be allowed to drain off, or a recovery system can collect and recycle it again and again, which can save you money, resources, and time in the long run. However, systems that don’t recover the solution can be left alone more, as you won’t have to constantly test the soil to ensure pH levels remain normal.