Which Hydroponic Systems are Better Than Soil Gardening?
Are you someone who has attempted to grow any vegetable in a garden or flower pot and think that growing in soil is the only way to garden? There really are some great-affordable non-soil growing systems available to the DIY home gardener. I’m talking about growing your plants hydroponically.
In its simplest form, hydroponics is a way that plants grow from the aid of nutrient-infused water that reaches the roots of a plant. Plants actually grow faster and healthier with hydroponics compared to soil growing. Many people experiment with growing plants in plastic storage containers, a very low-budget option. After realizing that their plants grew faster and more robust compared to their soil growing experiences, many growers move onto buying a more sophisticated hydroponic system.
Here’s a list of the most popular hydroponic systems:
· Deep Water Culture
· Floating Raft
· Drip Growing
· Ebb and flow
As stated earlier, deep water systems are the type where the net pot which contains the plant and has holes to allow for root growth, sits on top of a covered lid. The plant roots begin to grow and expand into the nutrient-infused water. An air stone is added to the water to create air bubbles that bring oxygen to the plant’s roots.
A floating raft system is very simple in its design and requires no moving parts. There is a floating Styrofoam raft with net pots inserted throughout the raft. Each net pot contains a plant and the roots will grow larger into the nutrient-water. There will be a gap between the bottom of the net cups and the water after a few weeks though. The lower parts of the root continue to feed on the water as the roots area exposed to air will absorb oxygen. This eliminates the need for an air pump.
An aeroponic system uses a submersible pump which causes a misting action. The mist-water-nutrient will cover the plant roots for a certain amount of time. The pump will then shut off for a certain time limit, allowing the roots to absorb oxygen.
The drip-growing system will have small water tubes that will release small amount of nutrient-water onto the top of the net pots. This water travels downward and reaches the plant’s stem and top of its roots.
With a hydroponic wicking system, it requires no moving parts. The plants are grown in a water- soluble media. There are wicks placed between the nutrient solution and the grow media. These wicks will carry the nutrient into the growing media.
An aquaponic system is actually two systems in one. You will usually see a tank that contains fish. The waste from the fish travels through the water into another bed of gravel or other growing media which contains the plants. The growing media must be able to clean/filter out the fish waste after the plants feed on the waste water. This naturally filtered water then flows back into the fish tank. No nutrient solution needs to be added because of the fish waste.
Ebb and Flow systems are ones that allow the nutrient water to fill up an enclosed area. The plant roots take in the nutrients. The water is then drained after a certain time to allow oxygen to reach the roots.
As you should see by now, there are plenty of hydroponic system options to choose from. The deep water culture system seems to be the most popular. This type of system requires an air pump and it makes very little noise. You will find deep water culture systems inside of grow boxes and grow tents. These boxes and tents capture the light and remove certain plant odors for the medical cannabis growers. When comparing hydroponic growing to soil growing, any of the custom hydroponic systems will out-perform plant soil growing.