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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. This is only one kind of hydroponic gardening however. What people often don’t realize is that there are many methods and variations of hydroponic gardening.

Wicks

This is considered to be the most simplistic of all hydroponic systems. The wick system is a passive system, which means none of its parts are moving. 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)

These hydroponic systems call for the grow tray to be temporarily flooded. Before draining back, the nutrient solution from a reservoir surrounds the roots. 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 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 people usually think about when “hydroponic systems” is mentioned. 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 roots absorb the nutrients from the flowing solution. The downward flow goes back into the reservoir for recycling.

Aeroponics

Aeroponic hydroponic systems are considered 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 can dry out very quickly whenever the misting cycles are interrupted. 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 controlled by the season or climate as we pursue our harmless joys. It is now possible for us to grow practically any plant any time of the year. Only our imagination is our limit. 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.

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