Various Types of Hydroponic Systems
When thinking of hydroponics, you immediately imagine plants growing with their roots hung straight into water without any growing medium. However, this is but a single approach to hydroponic gardening. What most people don’t know is that hydroponic gardening is possible through numerous methods and variations.
This is the most basic hydroponic system today. The wick system is more of a passive system where there are zero moving parts. From the reservoir below, a number of wicks draw up your specific growth technology nutrient solution into the growing medium.
Ebb And Flow System (Flood and Drain)
In these hydroponic systems, the grow tray is temporarily flooded. The nutrient solution from a reservoir will first surround the roots before it drains back. This is usually automated with the use of a water pump that comes with a timer.
Drip (Recovery or Non-Recovery)
Some of the most common hydroponic methods nowadays are dip systems. A water pump is controlled by a timer, as it pumps water and the growth technology nutrient solutions with the use of a mesh of raised water jets. A recovery system then will collects excess nutrient solution and returns it into the reservoir. A non-recovery drip system, however, does not have this feature, allowing it to avoid pH variations in the reservoir.
NFT (Nutrient Film Technique)
The NFT System is what most people imagine upon the mention of the words, hydroponic systems. The Nutrient Film Technique makes use of a constant flow of your growth technology nutrient solution, meaning a timer is not required. Coming from a reservoir, the solution is pumped into the growing tray. The growing tray needs no growing medium. The roots absorb the nutrients from the flowing solution. The downward flow leads back into the reservoir where it will be recycled.
Aeroponic hydroponic systems are known as a high-tech type of hydroponic gardening. As with the NFT system, air is the main growing medium. While hung in the air, the roots are misted with nutrient solution every few minutes. The roots will dry out fast if the misting cycles are disrupted. Like all other types of hydroponic systems, the nutrient pump is controlled by a timer, but the aeroponic system relies on a short cycle timer activating the pump for a few seconds every few minutes.
For those of us who enjoy growing plants, these are interesting times indeed. We are no longer restricted by climate or season while enjoying our harmless pleasures. It is now possible for us to grow practically any plant any time of the year. Only our own ingenuity can limit us. The basic yet highly effective hydroponic systems, together with contemporary horticultural lighting, have revolutionized our hobby and opened our options to extents we never thought possible.