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Getting To The Point – Hydroponics

Types of Hydroponic Systems

Thinking of hydroponics, you automatically imagine plants grown with their roots hung directly into water and having no growing medium. However, this is but a single approach to hydroponic gardening. What people often don’t realize is that there are many methods and variations of hydroponic gardening.


This is considered to be the most simplistic of all hydroponic systems. The wick system is more of a passive system where there are zero moving parts. Your particular growth technology nutrient solution is pulled up from the bottom reservoir into the growing medium using a number of wicks.

Ebb And Flow System (Flood and Drain)

In these hydroponic systems, the grow tray is temporarily flooded. Before draining back, the nutrient solution from a reservoir surrounds the roots. Generally, this is automated using a timed water pump.

Drip (Recovery or Non-Recovery)

Some of the most common hydroponic methods nowadays are dip systems. A timer controls a water pump, which pushes water and the growth technology nutrient solutions into a system of elevated water jets. A recovery system then will collects excess nutrient solution and returns it into the reservoir. A non-recovery drip system, however, does not have this feature, allowing it to avoid pH variations in the reservoir.

NFT (Nutrient Film Technique)

The NFT System is what people usually think about when “hydroponic systems” is mentioned. Because the Nutrient Film Technique involves a constant flow of your growth technology nutrient solution, no timer is used. The solution in a reservoir is pumped into the growing tray. The growing tray needs no growing medium. The nutrients nutrients in the flowing solution are absorbed by the roots. The downward flow returns to the reservoir and will be recycled.


Aeroponic hydroponic systems are considered a high-tech type of hydroponic gardening . Just like the NFT system, air is the key growing medium. The roots are hung in the air and misted using nutrient solution every now and then. Interruption of the misting cycles causes roots to dry out fast. Like other types of hydroponic systems, a timer controls the nutrient pump, but the aeroponic system requires a short cycle timer that activates the pump for a number of seconds every few minutes.

For those of us who are passionate about growing plants, these are great times indeed. We are no longer restricted by climate or season while enjoying our harmless pleasures. We can now grow practically any plant at practically any time of the year. Only our imagination is our limit. The basic but very effective hydroponic systems, along with modern horticultural lighting, have given our hobby a whole new meaning and opened up our options further than we ever imagined possible.

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