Ebb and Flow

Last Updated: August 9, 2018

Definition - What does Ebb and Flow mean?

An ebb and flow system, also known as a flood and drain system, is a popular hydroponic growing system where there’s an intermittent water flow over plants grown in an inert medium.

MaximumYield explains Ebb and Flow

The most basic of ebb and flow systems uses a single pump to deliver nutrients to plant roots, with gravity used as a return. To start out, the entire grow tray should be filled with the medium, and then the plants can be placed in the trays.

Like all hydroponic systems, plants grown in an ebb and flow system derive all of their nutrients from the nutrient solution. The inert medium the plants are grown in is simply there to anchor the plants.

Any grow medium that doesn’t float can be used in an ebb and flow system, but the most common choices include clay pebbles, stonewool, and rinsed gravel.

The medium should not contain any nutrients, so a gardener should not use any organic matter with the ebb and flow system.

The advantages of the ebb and flow are many, but for the most part they will anchor the plants and hold them stable as the nutrient solution flows over the roots.

One drawback with the ebb and flow system is that roots can become entwined, which can make them difficult to remove and create an environment that welcomes pathogens.

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