Types of Hydroponic Systems
When you imagine hydroponics, you think grown plants with roots that are suspended directly into water and have no growing medium. But this is only one type of hydroponic gardening. What people often don’t realize is that there are many methods and variations of hydroponic gardening.
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, your specific growth technology nutrient solution is going to be drawn up into the growing medium with the use of some wicks.
Ebb And Flow System (Flood and Drain)
These hydroponic systems call for the grow tray to be temporarily flooded. The nutrient solution from a reservoir will first surround the roots before it drains back. Generally, this is automated using a timed water pump.
Drip (Recovery or Non-Recovery)
Dip systems are some of the most widely used hydroponic methods today. A timer controls a water pump, which pushes water and the growth technology nutrient solutions into a system of elevated water jets. A recovery system then will collects excess nutrient solution and returns it into the reservoir. A non-recovery drip system though doesn’t do this, which means it can prevent variations in the reservoir’s pH level.
NFT (Nutrient Film Technique)
The NFT System is what most people imagine upon the mention of the words, hydroponic systems. The Nutrient Film Technique relies on a consistent flow of your growth technology nutrient solution, which means a timer is unnecessary. Coming from a reservoir, the solution is pumped into the growing tray. In the growing tray, no growing medium is necessary. The nutrients nutrients in the flowing solution are absorbed by the roots. The downward flow returns to the reservoir and will be recycled.
Aeroponic hydroponic systems are considered a high-tech type of hydroponic gardening . Similar to the NFT system, the growing medium is mainly air. The roots are suspended in the air and nutrient solution is used to mist them from time to time. The roots can dry out very quickly whenever the misting cycles are interrupted. As with other hydroponic systems, a timer automates the nutrient pump, except that the aeroponic system needs a quick cycle timer that sets off the pump for a few seconds every few minutes.
For those of us who are passionate about growing plants, these are great times indeed. We are no longer restricted by climate or season while enjoying our harmless pleasures. Now, we can actually grow whatever plant we want, anytime we want. Only our own ingenuity can limit us. The basic but very effective hydroponic systems, along with modern horticultural lighting, have given our hobby a whole new meaning and opened up our options further than we ever imagined possible.