Plants need nutrition for normal growth. Unfortunately, soil is quickly depleted if it is constantly used for cultivating crops. Hydroponics has replaced soil cultivation in depleted regions. A few years ago, few people were interested in hydroponic systems, but now they are in great demand. They are used both in large enterprises and in small private lands, and even at home.
What is a hydroponic system?
Hydroponics is a cultivation technique without soil. In Latin, the word “hydroponics” is translated as “working water.” Depending on the type of system chosen, cultures are located simply in air, in water or on a substrate. The substrate is a variety of materials (gravel, perlite, vermiculite, mineral wool, coconut fiber, etc.). From these fillers seedlings do not receive nutrition. The main objective of the substrate is to hold the roots of seedlings so that they do not fall and do not wash off with the solution when using the active system. Hydroponic systems are artificially created conditions for growing greens, vegetables and berries without soil in special containers, a substrate or on floating platforms.
Types of hydroponic systems
Hydroponic systems come in only 4 species, but there are a lot of modifications created on their basis. The method of arrangement and the features of caring for crops depend on the type of system chosen.
1. Wick System: This is a passive version of the hydroponic system, which in addition is considered the most elementary. Seedlings grow in a special substrate. For such a system, perlite, coconut fiber, and Pro-Mix are most often purchased. The liquid enters the substrate through the wick from a special reservoir and feeds the plant. The main problem with this system is that large, adult crops consume nutrients too quickly. But, if you control this moment, then you can avoid a shortage of minerals.
2. Deep Water Culture (DWC) or (DIY) Deep Water Culture Hydroponic System: This is a simple type of active hydroponic system. The base for the arrangement of seedlings is constructed of foam or similar material. Seedlings are placed on it, and it floats through the nutrient solution on the foam, feeding on water through the holes made in it. A special aerator enriches the solution with oxygen. Interesting! Water culture is a system that is most often used when growing lettuce. It is very simple to make such a system at home, for example, using an aquarium and a compressor. However, only some crops can produce a large crop with this kind of cultivation. And plants that grow tall are not grown at all by this method.
3. Periodic Flooding System: The hydroponic system of periodic flooding is usually equipped in green houses of various sizes for cultivating almost any type of crop. Its essence is that periodically the box where the crops are grown is flooded with a nutrient solution, and then it is drained. For these manipulations, a timer pump is used. Periodic flooding system The timer is set so that the solution is poured and drained several times a day. Different types of substrates (expanded clay, gravel) are suitable for this system but preferably not light ones, such as perlite, otherwise it will be washed with water. The main problem is that the system is dependent on electricity. If the electricity turns off, the seedlings can remain without moisture for a long time. In the case when gravel is used, perlite, which does not hold water well, the roots dry and the plants die.
4. Drip systems: This type of hydroponics is the most popular. The system has a timer that controls the submerged pump. Upon its inclusion, the solution enriched with elements drips into the root zone of all seedlings. Drop systems are produced reversible and non-reversible. In the reversal system, the remnants of the life-giving solution that did not absorb the culture are returned to the container for reuse. But at the same time, you need to constantly monitor the pH level, water temperature, because the remaining liquid flows into a common container with the solution and is able to change its composition.