If you’re here reading this you already know what Hydroponics is, and perhaps you’re at the stage where you just want to decide which Hydroponics system you should choose which will meet your needs and your budget. Progrow provide three different types of domestic scale Hydroponics systems, so here’s a run down of the pros and cons of each one, so you can decide which will meet your growing requirements the best.
Drip Irrigation Systems
Dripper systems are those used by most commercial horticulturalists, because they allow for larger scale systems, and are less susceptible to failure of the timing system because a reserve of nutrient is held by the inert growing medium for a period of time.
Basically a dripper system drips nutrient solution onto the inert medium that the plants are grown in. Inert medium might be clay pebbles, rockwool or foam. The solution remains on the medium as it slowly drains through and feeds the plants roots as it goes. In plants that are susceptible to disease it is more than possible to set up a contained dripper system for each plant so there is no transfer between plants.
The drip system is a closed loop so excess solution drains through the medium into a reservoir and is pumped back to the feeder to be recycled. It allows very precise control of the quantity and content of nutrients.
The drawbacks of the dripper system for domestic grows is that it can be more expensive than other methods especially if each plant has its own system. It is more complicated to set up and maintain, and isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as other systems.
Ebb & Flood Systems
Again using a growing medium such as Rockwool, Perlite or clay pebbles, the ebb and flood system mirrors the natural cycle of rain falling in large amounts for a short period, and then draining through the growing medium to provide nutrients and drawing oxygen into the roots.
Electronics control the regularity and volume of the flooding process and nutrient solutions can be adjusted to cater for each species of plant being grown. Ebb and Flood systems are the most aesthetically pleasing of the Hydroponics systems, and provide high growth rates, and a lot of control over growing.
Plants can be kept in an ebb and flood system for a long period of time, because the medium keeps them anchored as they grow larger. Plants can also be easily removed from the system and new ones added at any stage without too much work.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
NFT is impressive to see as no growing medium is used, the roots grow directly in a continuously circulating nutrient solution. This is probably the simplest growing method and is economical because it doesn’t need drip feeding tubes above. Growth rates are usually high and of good quality. Nutrient levels can be adjusted within the solution to allow for better results, and separate reservoirs for different plant species can be utilised to apply different solutions.