Compare the process benefits and disadvantages of the various types of hydroponic systems and select the one that best suits your requirement.
Hydroponics can be done in various ways using different types of hydroponic systems. A system consists of a structure to hold the plants (container, pipe or channel), a tank to hold the nutrient solution (reservoir) and a pump to circulate the solution. Home growers can also use a simple system without a pump.
The different types of hydroponic systems can be classified into four categories.
In this method the nutrient solution is stored in a container in which the plant is placed using some grow medium. No circulation of nutrient solution is required.
The size of the container is selected as per the type of plant grown and its water requirement. The container used is large enough to contain enough nutrient solution to suffice at least for a month or more.
As the level of the nutrient solution drops down additional amount may be added as per the requirement. In this system it is difficult to monitor the inevitable changes in parameters like PPM and pH and make necessary corrections.
This system is good to start experimenting with hydroponic technique of growing plants.
In deep water culture hydroponics systems the plants are held on a raft floating in a tank containing the nutrient solution that is around one meter deep.
Good aeration arrangement is required for this system as the water can get stagnant.
This system is ideal for commercial growers and is still better when integrated with fish farming.
However in case of integration a good water purification system has to be added to the setup to remove all unwanted contaminations.
In the nutrient film technique hydroponics systems the plants are held in pipes or channels. The nutrient solution is made to flow continuously through the pipes or channels from the reservoir using a pump.
As no water accumulates in the pipes or channels continuous power supply is required to run the pump. This system is good for commercial growers but not ideal for home growers without guaranteed continuous power supply.
Horizontal as well as vertical systems are possible in this hydroponic cultivation technique.
Requirement of electronic timers and power backup system adds to the cost of this system.
In ebb and flow hydroponic systems the nutrient solution is pumped in the channels holding the plants to a specified level and then allowed to drain back to the reservoir tank.
The cycle is kept on repeating using timers to turn the pump on and off. This system is also dependent on consistent power supply and may not be ideal for home growers all over the world.
Investment in good quality electronic timers and power backup is an additional burden which adds to the overall cost of this system.
The deep flow technique hydroponics system is a hybrid system which combines the techniques used in all the other systems. In this system a certain level of nutrient solution is always maintained in the channels holding the plants.
Nutrient solution is circulated in the system once or twice a day using a pump to compensate for the consumption. The nutrient solution maintained in the channels can suffice for few days in case of power supply problems.
Moreover in case of emergencies nutrient solution can also be transferred from reservoir to starting point of channels manually as well.
Among all the types of hydroponic systems the deep flow technique hydroponics systems are among best suited hydroponics systems for beginners and home growers.
One need not worry about continuity of power supply. You can be back after a few days outing and be assured your plants will be in good condition.
There is no need of additional timers and power backup resources making this system the most affordable and economically viable.
Knowing about the different types of hydroponic systems has given you a solid foundation on how hydroponic cultivation is done.
There are detailed posts on the other aspects of hydroponics on this site that we recommend for upgrading knowledge.
You can now surely decide on the best hydroponics systems for beginners from the above information.
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