Growing your own wholesome food needn’t require soil or compost. Hydroponics offers a solution to bountiful harvests in small spaces requiring no soil. Hydroponics is one branch of an exciting growing method called hydroculture – growing plants in mineral and water solutions, supported by gravel or perlite. Here are the 6 ways you can start your own hydroponics growing system.
- Wick Systems – This is a great method to start with because it uses pump/irrigation-free methods of feeding the nutrients to the plants. In this instance, a reservoir below the plants contains water and the mineral solution. Via a wick, the capillary movement of the plant’s roots will pull the minerals into the grow tray, where the plant can assimilate it.
- Deep Water Culture (DWC) – The plant is suspended in deep water that is well-oxygenated and enriched with minerals. An air pump and an air stone are necessary to provide the plant with the oxygen needed to prevent suffocation.
- Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) – This is an active system, it contains moving parts. This is the most commonly used growing method for large-scale agriculture. Plants are grown in a substrate like perlite or gravel (in some cases, no substrate is used – the roots are in the solution directly). The nutrient-dense water is then pumped to run in a stream over the roots of the plants.
- Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain) – The plants are grown in a substrate with a water reservoir below. Mineral-dense water is pumped and used to temporarily submerge the substrate, before running through and refilling the reservoir.
- Drip Systems – This active system uses an air pump, an air stone, and a nutrient pump. It moves the water from the reservoir below the plants upward, to drip down on the plants using a dri line and drip manifolds.
Visit your local GCA Garden Centre for the best advice and elements to put these systems together!
Note: The images we have provided are adaptations of the above systems, rather than the traditional system types. The images show how innovative one can be, in designing and constructing hydroponics systems, and how successful hydroponics can be.
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