Once you’ve got familiar with how hydroponic method works, your next interest will probably be how to set up a hydroponic grow system in your residence. You’re lucky because this article will discuss everything you need which starts from the materials, techniques to choose from, advantage of hydroponic over soil and some safety tips. These are the essential stuff you should consider on how to set up a hydroponic grow system.
How to Set Up a Hydroponic Grow System: 11 Basic Things You Should Have
Usually whenever we hear the word ‘set up’ we immediately think of the materials or equipments that we must initially have in order to proceed on whatever activity we are planning to do. True to its meaning, we really need to check for the availability of the following items before we continue in making our own hydroponic system at home.
- Growing Medium – perlite, pebbles, rockwool, etc.
- Nutrient mixture/solution – grow and bloom formulas, supplements
- Drain system (especially for Ebb and Flow technique)
- Plant trays
- Basin or bin (must be water proof, to be used as reservoir)
- Knife, cutter, scissors (must be done by adults)
Those are the vital materials on how to set up a hydroponic grow system although you might need some depending on which method you desired to select.
How to Set Up a Hydroponic Grow System: Choose Your Method
There are different techniques you can choose from and your decision depends on what type of plants or vegetables you’re trying to grow. Check which one below best suits you.
- NFT or Nutrient Film Technique
This method is commonly used by small-scale or non-professional hydroponic growers wherein plants are allowed to grow in channels where their nutrient supply flows through. The thin film of nutrient solution gives moisture to the roots of the plant as it flows. The basic set up for this technique is that the top part of the plant is maintained moist while the roots are openly exposed to the nutrient solution.
The ideal feeding rate for most NFT channels (also known as gullies) is about 1000mL per minute to keep the moisture in the plant roots. Usually, a NFT system involves a primary basin wherein the nutrient solution is mixed, rationed through the gullies and gets back again to the primary basin. These days, there are available automatically adjusted basins that can smoothly maintain the freshness of your plants as long as proper aeration and pH adjustment are applied.
Nutrient Film Technique is best applied for short-term crops such as herbs, lettuce or other leafy crops. Nowadays, larger NFT gullies are used in a lot of places around the world for long term crops like cucumbers and tomatoes. If you would ask what benefit you can get from using NFT, one obvious advantage is that since the plants are grown in a non-soil environment, the crop is readily clean and washing won’t be required which gains the appreciation of everybody from growers, to grocers, chefs and lastly consumers.
- The Drip System
This method is ideal to use for long term crops. It also uses drip emitters that delivered the nutrient supply necessary for the plants to grow. This is done in timed system usually about 10 minutes per hour but may still vary depending on the plant’s stage of development as well as the amount of light supplied. The drip system gives nutrients, oxygen and water the plants need by flushing the growing medium.
The perlite tray is one method of drip system that is becoming known to use by growers especially for lettuce and herb production. Its width is about 24 inches, length 10 to 14 feet and set up on a sloped position. In this method the nutrient solution is constantly dripped in at the higher end of the tray which trickles down through the perlite to the lower end of the tray. This procedure is also known as the combination of NFT and drip techniques.
- The Ebb and Flow Method
This technique, also known as flood and drain method, just floods a growing area for at least 5 minutes and then the nutrient solution flows away which then be stored in a basin or reservoir that is just beneath the grow table. The Ebb and Flow method uses growing method such as clay pebbles, perlite or rockwool.
- The Float Method
This technique usually uses long and rectangular basin or reservoir which is made of cement or wood and edged with a tough poly liner. Plants in net pots are put in the holes that are made in foam board so that it floats on the water surface. That condition allows plant roots to suspend on the nutrient-rich solution.
All of the above stated procedures are the commonly used ones. Still each one differs from the other making you realize which technique best applies on your situation. You may further study how to set up a hydroponic grow system depending on what technique you chose.
How to Set Up a Hydroponic Grow System – Why Choose Hydroponic System Over Conventional Soil Planting
- The nutritional value of the vegetable you are trying to produce is increased since you can control the environment where it’s growing.
- This method allows you to grow plants or vegetables regardless of what weather or season it is on the outside environment.
- This technique gives the high efficiency you’re expecting since you can control the amount of light and water that must be supplied on the plants or vegetables.
- It saves a lot of space.
- Produces low to zero number of sick or damaged plants or vegetables.
- Saves a lot of water.
- Plants or vegetables need not be cleaned.
Given the great advantages of hydroponics system over soil, you may be getting more and more interested in knowing how to set up a hydroponic grow system and doing it as soon as possible.
How to Set Up a Hydroponic Grow System – Lighting Safety Tips
Opt for digital ballasts and matched power cords.
- Make sure of the wall’s outlet reliability as well as the wiring and circuit boxes.
- Spend your money buying lighting controllers.
- Segregate each electrical stuff like power cords, ballasts and power interfaces. Make sure they make no contact with water.
- Make sure your hydroponic garden is away from pets and children.
Learning how to set up a hydroponic grow system includes knowing the safety guidelines that must be followed in order to get the best expected results of the procedure.
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