Ways to Grow with Hydroponic Systems

Hey guys, today we are talking about every type of hydroponic systems, their strengths and weaknesses. If you’re thinking about getting into hydroponics, the goal of this video is to talk about and let you guys know about each and every type of hydroponic system so you know which system works best for you. We have a lot to go over so let’s get started. When we were talking about hydroponics, we are talking about any plant that has grown without soil. This could mean it’s being grown in rock wall gravel, liquid, hydro tons or cocoa. The fabric pot with coco coir mix with perlite is technically a hydroponic setup. It may look like soil but it is not. Coco coir is made from the fibers of coconuts and perlite is chunks of volcanic glass. This alternative medium which does not contain significant chemicals minerals, organism is what makes it hydroponic. A lot of people are choosing hydroponics because growing in soil can lead to a lot of random chemical concentrations, minerals, insects, bacteria and other factors that cannot be controlled.

Whether good or bad, a hydroponic setup allows you to feed your plants to exact mixture of nutrients for a well-balanced feed. It’s been proven that a hydroponic system can be incredibly rewarding for monster yields and a shorter grow cycle. Another great advantage of hydroponics is that you can automate your light and watering schedule. This is going to free up your day and minimize your maintenance on your grow. So, there are three main types of hydroponic systems; there’s Ebb and flow, flow there is drip and then there is deep water culture.  Ebb and flow, this method is super reliable and is used in a lot of commercial grows. What it basically is, is your plants it and a tray that’s suspended over a reservoir. Your tray and reservoir are connected via a pump and once or twice a day the pump will send nutrient-rich water into your tray flooding it. Once that’s done, the pump will turn off and the tray will drain back into the reservoir. Hydroponic systems are flexible and can come in different irrigation methods. The nutrient film technique or NFT, also falls under the ebb and flow category. In an NFT system, a trough holding your plants is suspended over your reservoir at a slight incline. The top of the trough is connected to a pump that will send water to the top to float down to the end draining back into your reservoir. Along the way, will water all of your plants. An NFT system is great for smaller plants like lettuce or herbs, but has a harder time supporting bigger plants.

So, here are the strengths and weaknesses of an ebb and flow systems. For its strength it’s very reliable there are very few moving parts which means there’s less maintenance and repair. They’re also very easy to setup and you it’s very easy to inspect that all your plants are getting fed at the same time. The drawbacks of an ebb and flow system is that it uses the most water out of the three hydroponic system just because it needs to flood the entire grow tray. This also means you’ll be using more nutrition to match the water ratio. If you’re in a drought inclined area like California, this could be a pricey option. Also remember that your Ebb and flow system has to be above a reservoir. If you’re growing in a smaller tent or have a lower ceiling, this could be a challenge because the raised plants may come in close contact with your lights and can result in heat stress or light burn.

All right, drip systems just like your ebb and flow system your plants will need to be above a reservoir. From the reservoir, a pump is connected to a hose that branches out to tinier little hoses that go directly to your plants to feed them, water and nutrients. From there the water that runs off from your plants goes directly or drains back directly to reservoir making it a recirculating system. So, a drip system is like the versagrow system and a slightly more unorthodox system, would be like the window farm system I made a few videos ago. And of course, you can always build your own out of polyurethane tubing, the principles are very similar. A drip system is great for feeding a large number of plants, plus it uses the least amount of water compared to other hydroponic systems. That means lower water bills and using less nutrition. The drawbacks of a drip system, is that it has more components to it ,it’s going to take more time to install because you have to connect each of these little hoses to the main hose,  and then you have to make sure that each of these outlets is directly at your plant depositing water to it  And over time these little hoses can also get clogged due to natural build-up . That means you have to routinely check that your hoses are fully going and flowing. And between each grow, you actually have to flush out the hoses with a cleaning solution to reduce that build-up that we were just talking about.

Okay for a little househydroponic system we have deep water culture system or a DWC. A DWC system is a self-contained system that’s designed to feed one plant in each individual bucket, there will be an air stone that provides a constant oxygen supply to the plants roots so they don’t drown in the water. The plant is placed inside of a net or fabric pot which sits on top of each bucket. By having the plant sit in a nutrient bath that is constantly being supplied with oxygen, the plant can have access to food at any given second. Like any other hydroponic system there are lots of different variants and forms of deep-water culture systems. There are recirculating DWCs where all of the buckets are connected to a network that is controlled by a brain bucket. For larger perpetual growth there are DWC raff systems where the entire grow tray is flooded and aerated 24/7, while the plants are grown on top of a wrap that sits above the water. But for the sake of not complicating things we will be talking about the traditional single bucket DWC system.

The advantage of having a DWC system, is that your plants will have a dramatic increase in yield and you’ll see a huge production of root systems to help it and take all the nutrients its submerged in. A DWC system is great for those who can only have a few numbers of plants, but want to maximize their yield. This system is also ideal for grow spaces with limited ceiling heights. A DWC system is amazing for incredible yield but it does have a few of its own drawbacks. A DWC plant because it’s constantly submerged in a nutrient bath, it’s very reluctant to be transplanted into soil or a solid medium, just because of the roots has never built up a tolerance to be put in a solid medium. Another drawback is that you must always, always, always have an extra water pump or an air pump on hand at all times. If an air pump fails a whole entire crop cannot as quick as 48 hours, because if there isn’t a constant supply of oxygen to the root system, a plant can suffocate within days. Another big concern is that if you’re generating a lot of co2 in your grow room you must pump air from outside of your grow room because pumping co2 into your root system is a fatal mistake.

 Root disease is also a huge concern when growing in a DWC system. Because your plants are constantly submerged in a recirculating system, your water temperatures must be maintained at 62 to 68 Fahrenheit. Anywhere above 72 Fahrenheit and you risk cultivating root disease and also dissolved oxygen levels drop dramatically. Anywhere below 60 Fahrenheit and you risk your plants metabolic rates changing. DWC system is more for an advanced grower who can recognize and diagnose plant problems quickly. A DWC system has a lot of benefits but it has its own complications. And that’s all through hydroponic systems, how they work and their strengths and weaknesses.  I’ll do a quick recap on all the hydroponic systems so that you know which system is best for you. Keep in mind each situation is different and these hydroponic systems are flexible but these are just the general outlines. Ebb and flow systems are great hydroponic systems because of its minimal costs and needs. It’s easy to set up and automate with very little adjustment needed to get the system working right. It uses a lot of water versus two other grow systems and it generally uses a larger grow room or grow tent. So, if water is a concern then go with its automated drip system. With a hydro ton as the grow medium you can constantly feed your plants with a small stream of water without the fear of over watering. The roots are constantly aerated because they’re being fed from the top down and drained back out which pulls air into the root system. Just be careful not to use any organic nutrients that can clog up your tubes. 9: 45. Scheduled maintenance checks are required for drip systems. This system requires a medium to large grow area as well. So, if space is an issue, a deep-water culture system is the next best option. This is an awesome single plant setup because a DWC system are self-contained in their own bucket, each of your plants roots are submerged and nutrient rich aerated water. The aeration comes from an air pump that pulls air through the air zone into the bucket. The little air bubbles are trapped in the root systems so your plants don’t drown, yes plants can drown. The yield on a perfectly tuned DWC system are massive, but with the advantage also comes with its own complications. A DWC’s must have its air pumps constantly working. If the pump fails and goes unnoticed all of your plants can die rapidly. Don’t let these challenges stop you from trying a hydroponic system. The harvest from a hydroponic system is highly rewarding, in general you’ll get a higher yield, a better quality and a faster harvest time.

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