Hydroponics Setup

Choosing to set up a hydroponics system to grow plants is a fun and rewarding experience. Plants grown in a hydroponics system grow faster and yield more than their counterparts that have been growing in soil – on average, 30 to 50 % more, in fact! There are many ways to go about getting your own hydroponics system going, as well as a lot of information about the process for you to consider in order to make an informed decision about what type of system you choose to buy and how you use it.

Your hydroponic setup or system will fall into one of two major classes – passive and active. In passive hydroponics systems, there are no moving parts and the process occurs naturally. In active hydroponic systems, there are moving parts like air pumps that make the process happen. Stemming out from there, you will find 6 different basic types of hydroponic systems: Wick, Drip, Water Culture, Ebb and Flow, Nutrient Film Technique (N.F.T.) and Aeroponic. The type of system you choose will depend on your purposes, your skill level and your budget. If you have enough know how or patience to learn that know how, you can build any of these hydroponic setups yourself from scratch, at home, using easy to find and readily available materials. If you do not want to build it yourself, then you can also easily find hydroponics systems that come in kits that you can assemble and use that way.

Water and Nutrients
The Wick system is the most simple of all the hydroponic setup types. It is also a great example of a passive hydroponic system. In a Wick system, the nutrient solution is drawn up to the growing tray and roots of the planet via a simple wick structure stuck into the nutrient solution reservoir. It requires no air pumps or other mechanical or moving parts to work, but it is not well suited to very large plants or any types of plant that require a lot of nutrients, because the plants may use up the nutrients available in the water before the wick can draw more up to the roots.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have the more complicated and active hydroponic setup types, like the Aeroponic system. The Aeroponic setup is the most complex and high tech of all of the basic types of hydroponics systems. In an Aeroponic system, the roots of the plant hang free in mid air. The nutrient solution is delivered to the roots via precisely spaced out mistings at regular intervals. The misting is controlled via a timer so you can be sure that the roots never dry out, as that would harm the plant. In an Aeroponic system, no other growing medium is used aside from air.

Regardless of what type of hydroponic system you choose to go with, you will need several items in order to get started with growing. In addition to the hydroponic setup of your choice, you will need starter cubes, seeds, a nutrient solution, and a good lighting source. Lighting is very important to all plants, not just those grown hydroponically, so it is important to make a good choice. Fluorescent lights are usually adequate for the average small home grower, but high intensity discharge lights are more effective. Your nutrient solution is basically just fertilizer mixed with water, and very easy to make, and for starter cubes, you can use any available on the market, though it’s suggested to stay away from peat pots because peat pots have a tendency to absorb and retain too much water and drown seedlings. Once you’ve made all of your choices, you are ready to get your hydroponic setup going and enjoy the benefits of soil-less gardening!