Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil. It uses a nutrient solution to supply the plant’s mineral requirements. The most common type of hydroponic system uses a nutrient reservoir and water pump, which periodically floods the roots with nutrient solution. These systems can be simple or highly complex, but all rely on the same principles and hydroponic equipment.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
This system uses a shallow flow of water containing dissolved nutrients for the plant roots to absorb. The water flows through channels or troughs that have matting or other material to hold the plants in place. The roots absorb the nutrients from the water as it flows by them. NFT systems are very easy to set up and maintain, but can be more expensive than other types of hydroponic systems.
Aeroponic systems are by far the easiest type of hydroponic system to set up and maintain. The systems consist of a pump that draws water from a reservoir, through an air stone and into a growing area where plants are suspended on net baskets or some other type of holder. As the water flows through the growing area, it comes into contact with plant roots which absorb nutrients and then release them back into the solution as they grow. This method allows for very high yields with minimal effort required compared to other methods.
Deep Water Culture (DWC)
Deep Water Culture (DWC) systems are probably the easiest and most forgiving types of hydroponics equipment available today. They use a large container filled with water and nutrients where plants sit in net pots filled with growing medium at their base. The roots hang down into this nutrient rich water which is periodically aerated by an air stone attached to an aquarium air pump.
Ebb & Flow Systems
Ebb & flow systems are another common type of hydroponics system. They work by flooding your soil-less media every few minutes with nutrient rich water while draining it back into a reservoir after a short period of time (usually 20 – 30 seconds). This floods gives your plants just enough time to absorb nutrients before draining again so that you don’t waste any water or nutrients!
A small-scale drip irrigation system where each plant has its own individual drip line connected directly to its container. Drip systems allow you to control how much water each plant receives.
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