Learn About Hydroponic Gardening
At HydroponicGardening.com, you’ll learn all about hydroponic gardening, including the different types of hydroponic plant growing systems, growing media, nutrients, test equipment and more!
The actual hydroponic growing “system” is the foundation for successful hydroponic crop production. The primary difference between hydroponic system types is the method in which the nutrient solution is delivered to the plant roots. Major variations include, but certainly aren’t limited to: Ebb & Flow, also known as sub-irrigation and “ebb and flood”; Nutrient Film Technique (NFT); Passive and Circulating Deep Water Culture (DWC); Raft Hydroponics; Tower Hydroponics; and others. Most modern hydroponic systems recirculate their nutrient solution in a closed loop, where the solution is constantly monitored and adjusted for optimum strength and pH. Some older hydroponic systems are known as “drain to waste,” where the nutrient solution is not recycled, but is allowed to drain into a field or collection tank.
While hydroponic plant cultivation doesn’t require soil for growing plants to obtain necessary nutrients, the growing media in many cases acts as an alternative anchor for the plant root system, especially those that produce fruit like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc. A true hydroponic growing media is nutritionally inert, which means it offers no nutritive value to the plant and does not interfere with the control of system variables such as pH.
Since hydroponically grown plants derive none of their nutrition from the earth, a comprehensive selection of nutrient components or plant foods must be provided by the user. These plant nutrients are blended together in a nutrient reservoir, which holds properly balanced nutrient solution, which is then fed to the roots of the plant by a variety of different methods. In most systems today, used nutrient solution is recycled back into the nutrient reservoir for use in the next irrigation cycle.