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Complete Hydroponic Systems

The term "hydroponics" refers to growing plants in a water-based solution that is rich in nutrients. This method does not involve soil, as the root system gets its support from an inert medium like clay pellets or rockwool. The roots have a direct contact with the nutrient solution and are also in touch with oxygen, all of which contributes to proper growth. You need multiple hydroponic supplies, from grow lights to containers.

Deep Water Culture

The reservoir method, or deep water culture, is probably the easiest hydroponics method. Its main benefit is the lack of spray emitters or drip to the clog, which makes this system perfect for organic hydroponics that use organic nutrients, as this variety is more prone to clogs. In the deep water culture, the roots suspend in a nutrient solution, and an aquarium air pump oxygenates it, preventing the roots from drowning. The Styrofoam platform, on which the plants reside, floats on the water, and if you do not allow light to enter, there is no algae growth.

Aeroponics

Complete aeroponic hydroponic systems means that the roots suspend in the air, and you need to spray them with a nutrient solution, either from a fine spray nozzle or by using a pond fogger. The mistings happen every few minutes, and this system is usually automatic, with a timer controlling the system. If anything interrupts the cycles, the roots can dry out quickly.

Ebb and Flow

The flood and drain, or ebb and flow, system functions by flooding the area where the plants grow with a nutrient solution at specific, determined intervals that a timer controls. Afterwards, the solution drains back into the reservoir. This system works best with plants that can handle short periods of dryness, as the root system grows larger when searching for extra moisture. The ebb and flow system is compatible with many growing mediums, including granular rockwool, gravel, and grow rocks.

Drip System

Complete drip irrigation hydroponic systems are simple and very common. A timer turns on the pump that drips nutrient solution onto the base of each plant via a small drip line. If the system is a recovery type, the excess solution runs off back to the reservoir for further use. Non-recovery systems do not collect the excess water. A recovery system uses the nutrient more efficiently, but this system also needs more maintenance, while the non-recovery system requires a more precise timer.

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