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    Hydroponic Gardening Growing Techniques

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    sangbmt

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    Hydroponic Gardening Growing Techniques

    Post by sangbmt on Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:07 pm

    You might be overwhelmed by the number of hydroponic growing techniques you find, but they are all relatively easy to understand.

    Selecting one for your garden is a matter of matching how much you want to spend with what you are trying to grow. Any large garden is most likely going to require the use of a timing mechanism to automate watering, and so all methods except the wick system and the water culture system are vulnerable to power outages. Your plants may dry up if the power goes out and the automated pump fails to function.

    The simplest of the hydroponics growing systems is the water culture system. In this system, a platform usually made of Styrofoam floats on a bed of water that is fortified with nutrients. The plants sit in containers on the platform, with their roots freely dangling in the water mixture. The water mixture is constantly aerated with an air pump and an airstone, similar to what you might find in an aquarium.

    The water culture system is often used in education and can be a great classroom project or introduction to hydroponics, since it is easily set up and can be assembled from old aquarium parts. Unfortunately, the water culture system tends to drown most plants since the roots are constantly submerged in water. It works very well with growing leafy lettuces, however, since they love drinking up all the water they can get.
    Wick Systems
    The wick system is the only other method of growing plants hydroponically that does not require a timer.

    In the wick system, the plants are placed in a tray filled with the growing medium and connected to an aerated nutrient solution via a wick, which slowly brings water and nutrients up from the solution into the growing medium. While reliable, the wick system is insufficient for larger plants whose water and nutrient demands are too great for the slow pace of the wick to fulfill.

    Ebb and Flow Systems

    The ebb and flow system is kind of like the rising and falling of the tide.

    Plants are placed on a tray filled with your growing medium, and a tube runs from this growing tray to a reservoir of nutrient solution. Controlled by a timer, an electrical pump moves solution from the reservoir to the growing tray, saturating the growing medium. When the pump shuts off, gravity pulls the solution in the growing tray down back into the reservoir through the tube.
    Drip Systems
    One of the most popular systems for growing hydroponic vegetables, especially commercially, is the drip system.

    The drip system is similar to the ebb and flow system; a pump is attached to a tube leading from the reservoir to a drip manifold. The drip manifold branches out into smaller drip tubes that are positioned over the plants. An automated pump and timer drip the nutrient solution onto the plants and the growing medium as often as your plants require it. The run-off from the dripping is collected back in the reservoir, ready to be re-used.

    Aeroponic Systems and Nutrient Films

    Neither aeroponics nor the nutrient film technique uses a growing medium.

    In the nutrient film technique, the nutrient solution is continuously pumped into the growing tray and rushes over the roots of your plants before being drained out back into the nutrient solution reservoir, ready to be drawn up by the pump and into the tray again. No timer is needed.

    In aeroponics, the plants are usually held suspended in the air. In intervals controlled by a timer, a fine mist containing water and nutrients is sprayed onto the roots, usually for a few seconds every few minutes.

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    Whitney Segura is the founder and owner of Mini Greenhouse Kits, a United States based manufacturer and distributor of greenhouses, composting equipment, garden containers, hydroponic grow systems, and greenhouse accessories.


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