When thinking of hydroponics, you immediately imagine plants growing with their roots hung straight into water without any growing medium. But this is only one type of hydroponic gardening. What people usually don’t know is that there are different methods and variations of hydroponic gardening.
This is considered to be the most simplistic of all hydroponic systems. The wick system is more of a passive system where there are zero moving parts. Your particular growth technology nutrient solution is pulled up from the bottom reservoir into the growing medium using a number of wicks.
Ebb And Flow System (Flood and Drain)
These hydroponic systems call for the grow tray to be temporarily flooded. Prior to draining back, the nutrient solution from a reservoir will surround the roots first. This is usually automated with the use of a water pump that comes with a timer.
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, on the other hand, avoids this, preventing variations in the reservoir’s pH balance.
NFT (Nutrient Film Technique)
Each time hydroponic systems is mentioned, people usually think about the NFT system. Because the Nutrient Film Technique involves a constant flow of your growth technology nutrient solution, no timer is used. 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 leads back into the reservoir where it will be recycled.
Aeroponic hydroponic systems are known as a high-tech type of hydroponic gardening. Similar to the NFT system, the growing medium is mainly air. The roots are hung in the air and misted using nutrient solution every now and then. Interruption of the misting cycles causes roots to dry out fast. 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 enjoy growing plants, these are interesting times indeed. We are no longer dependent on the climate or season in pursuing our pleasures. 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.