A Guide to Hydroponics Systems
A hydroponics system is one of the newer ways to garden. Most people are familiar with planting in dirt and then watering before eventually harvesting. But not too many people have heard about hydroponics systems yet. These systems allow plants to grow in nutrient rich water and not soil. The plants are basically suspended within a net pot. The plants to grow above water and the roots grow into the netting until they reach the water.
Anyone can use a hydroponics system. And while this type of system has been used for thousands of years, it is finally gaining popularity.
The Components of a Hydroponic System
There are seven components of a hydroponics system, but a couple of them are optional. No matter what system you choose for gardening, you will have most, if not all these components.
Nutrient Rich Solution
Every hydroponics system will have a nutrient rich solution. After all, it is the most important part of this entire gardening process. There are a few different types of nutrient rich solution for hydroponics systems. The solution can be premixed, or you can mix your own, depending on what you are growing.
All the solution is placed in the reservoir. That solution will be automatically pumped up towards to the roots or sprayed onto the roots in mot systems. Some of the solution will also stay in direct contact with the roots.
There is no limit to what a reservoir for a hydroponics system can be made from. Basically, the only requirement is the reservoir cannot leak. The reservoir should also be dark, so not light cannot get through the sides or bottom.
The growing tray is where plants are located within your hydroponics system. Some people have smaller growing trays, while others have larger ones. It is all dependent on how many plants you are growing and how large they will get.
Soil is not used with hydroponics systems. However, you will still be required to use a growing medium. This material is what will support the plants you are growing. It will also absorb the solution and assist with keeping the plants moist.
A few of the best growing mediums for hydroponics systems include rocks, floral foam, poly foam insulation, sand, expanded clay pebbles, and rockwool. Feel free to use your favorite or try a couple different options to find which one works best for your needs.
Most of the hydroponics systems will have a submersible pump. This pump is how all the solution is delivered from the reservoir to your plants. It is important to clean this pump regularly, so it continues to function properly.
Oxygen always promotes growth in plants, which is why some people prefer to purchase an air pump when they are gardening with a hydroponics system. All air pumps will send oxygen to the nutrient rich solution, as well as the plant roots. This is one of the optional components of this system, but it is highly recommended.
Grow lights are another optional item for hydroponics systems. They can be necessary though if you do not have a lot of natural sunlight. There are numerous types of grow lights available, so you can choose which ones will work best for your plants.
Types of Hydroponics Systems
There are six types of hydroponics systems. Each one offers an advantage over the others, while some may be disadvantageous for your specific needs.
The wicking hydroponics system is the simplest to set up. This system doesn’t require electricity, because the material acts like a wick and draws the solution to the roots of the plants. The wick used for this system can be anything from rope or cotton to felt. Basically, anything absorbent.
Deep Water Culture
The deep water culture system allows the roots of your plants to hang in the nutrient rich solution. This is an excellent option for larger plants. It is also a good starting point if you are starting out with hydroponics systems for your garden.
The drip hydroponics system allows the solution to be dripped onto the roots and plants. Monitoring how much solution is dripping onto the plants is good. However, these systems tend to clog easily. Therefore, if you choose this option, you should be prepared to do routine maintenance regularly.
The nutrient rich solution is sprayed onto the roots of plants with the aeroponics system. This option utilizes less solution than other systems. There are a few starter kits available if you want to start gardening this way without as steep of a learning curve.
Ebb and Flow
The ebb and flow method allows plants in a higher tray to become flooded by the solution. That same solution then drains down into a lower reservoir. The amount of flooding can be controlled according to the plants you are growing. This system allows you to keep your plants drier on occasion before flooding them with water once again.
Nutrient Film Technique
Increased oxygen and decreased water usage is the goal with the nutrient film technique system. The plants must be suspended at a slight tilt for this system to work properly.
The Advantages of Hydroponics Systems
There are quite a few advantages of using hydroponics systems. Those advantages include:
- Larger Harvest
- Less Space Required
- Almost Any Plant Can Be Grown
- Uses Less Water
- Environmentally Friendly
- Plants Grow Quicker
The Disadvantages of Hydroponics Systems
As with anything, there are a couple disadvantages of using hydroponics systems. Those disadvantages include:
- Time Consuming to Set Up
- Can Be More Expensive than Traditional Gardening, Especially in the Beginning
- Parts Can Fail
- Maintenance Required
There are numerous companies who have chosen to utilize hydroponics systems for their needs. Nexton is one of them and they currently excel with vertical farming. If you have been trying to find a way to grow more plants, especially for food, in a smaller space; hydroponics systems may be the answer you have been searching for. You may realize this is exactly what you have been needing all this time.