Hydroponic System

Definition - What does Hydroponic System mean?

In horticulture, hydroponics is a form of agriculture where plants are not grown in soil, but rather in trays or grow beds fed by a constant flow of nutrient solution.

A hydroponic system refers to the tools and equipment that are packaged together in order to grow plants hydroponically. Currently there are six main types of hydroponic systems:

  • Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
  • Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain)
  • Aeroponics
  • Wick Systems
  • Drip Systems
  • Deep Water Culture (DWC)

In all of these hydroponic systems, the medium that anchors the plants is inert and provides absolutely no nutrients. Instead, the nutrients for plant growth come from a specially prepared nutrient solution. There are also combinations of these systems that growers are coming up with, commonly referred to as hybrid systems.

One last type of hydroponic system that should be mentioned in aquaponics, which combines raising fish and plants in one system. Furthermore, hydroponic systems can also be further classified as sand culture, gravel culture, water culture, and vermiculaponics.

MaximumYield explains Hydroponic System

There are six basic types of hydroponic systems that all work on the same principle: they are a soilless method of growing crops. In some hydroponic systems, plants are anchored with an inert matter into long trays or solo containers and are fed by a nutrient solution that is either pumped or wicked to the roots of the plants. In other systems, no media is used at all, and the plant roots are dangling in water or pure air.

Additionally, hydroponic systems are divided into two categories: passive and active. A passive system, such as the wick system, doesn't involve any electronics, rather, the nutrient solution is wicked or gravity-fed to the roots. An active system uses a pump that recycles the nutrient solution to the roots and is gravity-fed back to a holding tank.

Of the six types of hydroponic systems, the most common of these is the active system of ebb and flow in which the nutrient solution is pumped to the roots of the plants that are grown in long, narrow trays that are slightly sloped. In this system of tilted trays, gravity returns (recirculates) the nutrient solution back to the holding tank where it is recycled by the pump. The entire system then repeatedly recycles throughout the growth life of the plant.

The choice of hydroponic system made by the grower ultimately depends on their skill level, how much space they have available, and what they can afford.

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