Recirculating Deep Water Culture (R-DWC)

Definition - What does Recirculating Deep Water Culture (R-DWC) mean?

In the world of hydroponics, a deep water culture (DWC) system is one in which a plant has its roots suspended permanantly in a nutrient and oxygen-rich water solution. In a recirculating deep water culture (R-DWC), the solution gets recirculated, rather than remaining static.

MaximumYield explains Recirculating Deep Water Culture (R-DWC)

Hydroponic systems can offer a number of advantages over in-ground gardening, container gardening, and other soil-intensive gardening options. One of the most important is that you’re able to grow plants without the need for any soil. All you need is water and nutrients, plus a few special pots that allow your plants to float in the solution and absorb nutrients through their roots.

There are many different types of hydroponic systems, but one of the most interesting is the recirculating deep water culture, or R-DWC. In this set-up, you have a container (reservoir) that holds your growing solution (water and nutrients), special pots to hold plants as they grow that float in the solution, and a means to both oxygenate the solution and recirculate it at the same time.

In most set-ups of this nature, you’ll need to balance the nutrients in the solution (and then maintain that level over time), and install an aeration system. Also called bubblers or air stones, aerators ensure that there is a good mix of oxygen in the water, something that plant roots require and would have naturally if they were grown in soil. Aeration does more than just add bubbles, though. It’s able to dissolve more oxygen into the water itself, fostering stronger plant growth.

There are other advantages to using a recirculating deep water culture, including the fact that these systems are not stagnant, so nutrients and oxygen are constantly recirculated and in motion. This ensures even dispersal of nutrients and water throughout the system. An R-DWC system can also help to keep temperatures stable, which is an important condition for healthy plant growth.

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