An Overview of Hydroponic Setups
Before getting into the four primary types of hydroponic setups, we want to explain what this is. This system is designed for growing plants to ensure watering is done in an effective manner but without under or over watering. Obviously, when most plants are not watered enough or they are watered too much, they die. However, using one of the systems below, this problem can be eliminated forever. Keep in mind that there are other systems to consider but the four listed have been proven the most successful.
- Egg and Flow – These systems are also referred to as “flood and drain”. In this case, individual potted plants would be arranged on top of a drain table, one designed to hold about two inches of water. On occasion, nutrients would be added to the water, which then floods it. As a result, the potted plants are watered from the roots up, getting both water and needed nourishment. The greatest benefit is that runoff water and nutrients end up back in the reservoir. Repeating this three to four times a day would ensure a highly efficient and effective system.
- Top Drip – Hydroponic setups for this type are also known as “Bato buckets”. Of all hydroponic setups used around the world, this one is considered the most common. Although the setup could be used for growing plants at home, it is more often associated with commercial use. For instance, within large greenhouses, the top drip system is designed with feeder lines and a bottom reservoir. Again, the nutrients and water would be maintained in a reservoir but occasionally, a pump would force the solution up through small tubing that trickles out from each plant’s base. Again, water and nutrients are reused and for effectiveness, the cycle should be repeated three to four times daily.
- Deep Water Culture – These hydroponic setups are also referred to as lettuce rafts, which of all systems are the least expensive and easiest to build and operate. Although the system is simple, it does not lack on ability. In fact, for growing leafy vegetables such as lettuce, as well as small peppers and herbs, this is an excellent choice. In addition to being ideal for residential use, these hydroponic setups are also used in schools for educational purposes. The way these systems work is that small net pots sit inside a Styrofoam raft, which then floats on a shallow pan containing water and nutrients. Roots will grow through the pots and down into the solution. With this aeration is needed so an air pump and bubbler would also be used.
- Wick System – The last of the hydroponic setups we want to mention is the wick system, or system with “autopots”. Many people love these hydroponic setups because they are so easy to operate. While extremely easy to build and use, keep in mind that these hydroponic setups work best with plants that take longer to grow. For instance, patio tomatoes, figs, and even African violets would benefit most. The only consideration with this particular system is that you would not see the fast results as you would with the other hydroponic setups. However, for consistent and reliable growing solutions, the wick system is ideal.