Food produced through hydroponic systems was worth $32 billion in 2019. Hydroponics technology has changed the farming industry in the amount of food the world can produce.
The gardening industry has also benefited as it is a great way for homeowners to grow plants. But getting started can be confusing. Let’s take a look at the most common types of hydroponic systems to choose from.
Wick systems are the simplest type of hydroponic system. You place plants directly into the growing medium such as perlite or vermiculite. Wicking systems also use nylon wicks around the plants that reach down into the nutrient solution.
The wick system is suitable for almost anyone to use. It is perfect for small garden plants or any plant that doesn’t need a lot of water.
Water Culture Systems
A water culture system is also an easy-to-use system for growing plants. The plant’s roots are submerged in a water and nutrient solution. The rest of the plant goes in a net pot and growing media.
This system requires an air pump to oxygenate the water. They are inexpensive and easy to maintain. However, they are not ideal for larger plants or plants with a longer growing period.
Ebb and Flow Systems
Ebb and flow systems are also known as flood and drain systems. The plants are located in a bed with growing medium. The bed is then flooded with nutrient solution.
The pump uses a timer to turn the pump off automatically, allowing the water to drain back into the pump. This system is effective for almost all types of plants, including root vegetables.
Drip systems are often used in commercial settings and are efficient on a large scale. The plants are suspended over a thin layer of nutrient solution. The nutrient solution flows to the root system using an emitter that controls the flow.
This system allows for a lot of control over the feeding system. The water can be used as part of a circulating system as well.
Nutrient Film Technology (NFT) Systems
In an NFT system, plants are grown in a separate channel from a reservoir that holds the nutrient system. A pump sends a thin film of nutrients to the plants. The remaining solution then moves back into the reservoir.
NFT systems are not ideal for larger plants but are very efficient, even for large numbers of plants. Because of this, it is practical in commercial or home settings.
In this system, the plants are suspended in the air, while a reservoir holds the nutrient solution with an air pump. Misters spray a fine mist of water and nutrient solution either nonstop or on a cycle.
Aeroponics systems are easy to maintain and monitor. They also use less water than other systems. However, they are also more expensive.
What Is the Best Hydroponic System?
Each type of hydroponic system works best in different circumstances. Some are great for homeowners. Others are better in commercial applications due to their higher costs.
Whichever system you choose, it’s important to also use the right equipment. This may mean purchasing an air pump and water testing materials. A water chiller can also be helpful for maintaining the correct water temperature.
Using Different Types of Hydroponic Systems
There are six main types of hydroponic systems. If you want to use hydroponics to grow plants, you can choose the type and equipment that will make the most sense for your goals.
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