The word “hydroponics” is derived from the Greek words“hydro” (meaning “water”) and “ponics” (meaning “labor” or “works”). You are gardening without soil when you garden with hydroponics. When you grow plants and crops using a hydroponics system, on average, your plants will grow 30 to 50% faster than they do in regular soil. Their yield is also greater, since your plants do not have to search around in soil for the water and nutrients they need. Instead, the water and nutrients are delivered right to the roots with the hydroponics system.
There are many different types of hydroponics systems out there for you to take advantage of for your own gardening. Each of the different types of systems offer their own advantages. So whether you decide to build your own hydroponics system or purchase a kit or one already built, it is best to be familiar with what is out there before you get going. There are six basic types of hydroponics systems, though you should bear in mind that each one of those six basic kinds has tons of different variations. The six basic types of hydroponics systems are Wick, Drip, Nutrient Film Technique (N.F.T.), Water Culture, Ebb and Flow, and Aeroponic.
Let’s take a closer look at each:
Wick System: The Wick system is the simplest of all of the basic hydroponic systems. It is considered a passive system because there are no moving parts. The nutrient solution is pulled into the growing medium from the reservoir via means of a wick. The thing to think about with a Wick System is that if you are using large plants or plants that use up a lot of water, they may use up the nutrients faster than the wick can supply it. Coconut fiber is a good growth medium to use with a Wick system.
Drip: In a Drip system, a timer controls a submersible pump that drips the nutrient solution onto the the roots of each of the plants with a drip line. A recovery system allows the excess nutrient solution to be reused.
Nutrient Film Technique (N.F.T.): In this system, a constant flow of the nutrient solution is provided by the submersible pump, and it flows over the roots of the plants and then back into the reservoir and cycles through again. When using N.F.T., no growth medium other than air is usually used.
Water Culture: A platform, usually made of Styrofoam, floats directly on top of the nutrient solution in a Water Culture system. Inside, there is an air stone that has air provided to it via an air pump. The air pump bubbles air through the stone to provide oxygen to the roots of the plant. This is good for growing lettuce, but doesn’t do well with larger plants or plants that take a longer time period to grow.
Ebb and Flow System: A submerged pump floods the growing tray with the nutrient solution and then drains it back into a reservoir repeatedly, usually via means of a timer, in the Ebb and Flow System. It works well with a variety of different growth mediums, like gravel, Grow Rocks, or Rockwool. You can use individual pots for each of the plants, which makes it easy to move them around, when you are using this type of system. One drawback here is that it is vulnerable to power failure, which means if the power goes out and the timer and pump stop, your plants could suffer.
Aeroponic: In an Aeroponic system, the roots of your plants hang in mid-air and are misted with your nutrient solution every few minutes. To avoid the roots getting dry, a timer is used to control the mistings.
If you are looking to get started today, I very strongly recommend downloading my ebook to guide you through all of the steps necessary to get started with hydroponics.