Factors in Choosing Your Hydroponics System
There are many hydroponics systems used nowadays. However, choosing a specific hydroponics system depends on many factors such as the plants, location, facilities and many more.
If you’re new to hydroponics gardening or if the concept of hydroponics is still unfamiliar, you must be feeling overwhelmed by the many choices available.From hydroponic nutrient solutions, fertilizers, lights to the hydroponics systems themselves, it can be daunting to find the right one.
As someone new, you only have to remember that you don’t have to spend a lot on your hydroponic garden. In this article, you will learn more about the different hydroponics systems and where they will work best.
What Is Hydroponics?
Before discussing anything else, let’s first take a closer look at what hydroponics is. Hydroponics, simply put, is defined as the farming of different crops in water and without soil. As a result, it is ideal for indoor gardening because the plants receive nutrients from the water, not soil.
Crops farmed from a hydroponics garden are supplied with the same nutrient-rich solutions typically given to crops cultivated in soil. Moreover, these crops tend to have better quality and more substantial yields than crops grown from traditional farming.
While investing in a hydroponics garden may sound expensive and scary, it guarantees different benefits and high-quality produce than crops farmed in traditional methods.
Compared to traditional methods of planting or farming, the plants in a hydroponic garden are not exposed to different factors such as pests, fungus, and various animals, such as birds or wild animals.
As the hydroponic system controls the environment of these plants, the seedlings planted grow rapidly and healthier compared to plants in soil exposed to factors such as pests. This is only one of the many benefits of choosing hydroponic gardening over traditional gardening.
Factors in Choosing a Hydroponics System
If you’re looking to engage in indoor gardening, it would be best to consider the different relevant factors when choosing a hydroponics system for your home. After all, now that the market is filled with many types of hydroponics systems to choose from, people tend to purchase the first thing they see.
So, what should you consider when choosing a hydroponics system for your indoor gardening?
Before going to the market, you have to measure or assess your garden’s growing site. Considering the available space is vital since it will determine how many hydroponic plants your indoor garden can house. Moreover, this will determine the best type of plants you could grow in your indoor gardening setup.
For example, the smallest hydroponics system measures about 16 square feet. However, this measurement does not include the space used to house the water pump, the lighting system, the coolers, and the reservoir.
For beginners, it’s advisable to invest in a small hydroponics system. This will serve as a guide when you want to invest in a more extensive hydroponics system. Therefore, measuring your growing site and knowing how much you are willing to spend on it is necessary.
Automation includes the systems used for the water pumps, lights, and coolers. All of these are essential in a hydroponics system. However, there are two types of methods you can implement: automatic and manual systems.
When investing in a system for hydroponic gardening, it’s advisable to use an automated system. Doing so will guarantee that your hydroponic plants will be farmed efficiently.In addition, an automatic system controls and manages the water levels and the temperature, which relieves you from the burden of doing them yourselves.
As these automated systems work on their own, they know when and what to adjust according to the needs of your plants.
3. Expandability and Maintenance
If you’re a novice in hydroponic gardening, it’s best if you start with a small hydroponics system. Then, once you decide to expand, your hydroponics system should and also has to keep up.
Some small hydroponics systems are not customizable or expandable. This is why you should consider purchasing a hydroponics system that can handle the different changes you want to make.
Moreover, it would be best to consider whether or not your hydroponics system requires complete maintenance and monitoring. This is because some hydroponics systems tend to break once it is not maintained.
4. Price and System Costs
The last factor you should consider is the price. After all,a hydroponics system can be bought, built with existing parts, or can be constructed on your own.
However, for beginners, it’s best to choose apre-built hydroponics system. On the other hand, if you decide on purchasing a DIY approach, it’s best to be guided by professionals.
In terms of price, a DIY hydroponics system tends to be more expensive thana pre-built or store-bought one.However, the marketpresents a broader range of pre-built hydroponics systems. So, the only thing you will need to do is to study how it works.
Moreover, purchasing a pre-built hydroponics system also assures you that your hydroponics garden will run effectively. Compared to DIY, once you lose a single part or place it on a different system, your hydroponics system will be prone to breaking.
The Six Types of Hydroponic Systems
Now that you know more about the basics of hydroponics gardening, it’s time to look at the different types of hydroponic systems.
In general, there are six hydroponic systems:Deep-Water Culture, Basic Wick System, Ebb and Flow hydroponic system, Drip hydroponic system, Aeroponics hydroponic system, and Nutrient film technique.
Deep Water Culture (DWC)
The first hydroponic system is the Deep-Water Culture or DWC. It is the simplest hydroponic system as it uses only a machine that suspends plants in the air.
It is called a deep-water culture since the plants grown with this system are submerged in more water. Moreover, a DWC submerges the roots of the plant 24/7, unlike other methods.
However, one of the advantages of the DWC is its low maintenance nature. Once it is set up, you don’t have to monitor it continuously. Instead, it runs on its own. Moreover, a DWC system can also be made using materials at home.
However, it’s only disadvantage is its delicate temperature control. The temperature on a DWC should not exceed 68-degree Fahrenheit and not lower than 60-degree Fahrenheit. Lastly, the best hydroponic plants in this system are lettuce, basil, bok choy, and kale.
Basic Wick System
The Basic Wick System is another simple and easy to use hydroponics system. Here, plants are suspended on the top of the nutrient reservoir in a wick system. It doesn’t require much machinery, such as pumps, making this ideal for places without electricity.
As it is simple, it is the ideal choice for new hydroponic gardeners. In addition, it can also be installed anywhere. So, even in places without electricity, a Basic Wick System can work.
On the other hand, some of its disadvantages include it being usually humid. This makes the hydroponic plants more susceptible to rotting.However, it is ideal for plants such as rosemary, comfrey, and oregano.
Ebb and Flow
This system works by flooding the growing media with the solution from a reservoir located below that’s controlled by a timer. It is also equipped with a tube that controls the amount of water filled in each hydroponic plant.
Thus, in an Ebb and Flow System, the hydroponic plants are not exposed to water for a long time. As a result, this system is one of the most popular systems available.
Since this system can accommodate many types of crops, your only concern is the size of the net pots. However, this system requires constant maintenance to prevent your plants from rotting and getting diseases.Lastly, cucumbers and tomatoes are ideal for this system.
The drip system has two customizations: recovery and non-recovery. Recovery drip systems use the excess water drained and to be circulated again. On the other hand, in non-recovery drip systems, the excess water is thrown out as waste.
However, the only disadvantage of the drip system is that it requires maintenance. Moreover, it is also complex to install. Therefore, it is not advisable for first-time hydroponic gardeners.
Nonetheless, once you get the hang of it, many plants can be placed in this hydroponic system. In addition, plants that are too large for other hydroponic systems can be accommodated in a drip system.
The aeroponics system works by suspending the plants in the air while their roots are exposed to the nutrient reservoir. This system is often enclosed, which means it can hold many hydroponic plants at once. Moreover, it requires less water compared to other hydroponic systems.
However, this system is often expensive and requires a lot of maintenance. Moreover, a person cannot build this hydroponic system by themselves. This is because it requires many machines and pumps. Overall, it’s only advantage is its portability.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
The NFT suspends the hydroponic plants above the stream of a flowing nutrient solution. This process washes the plants’ roots. However, unlike other systems, their roots are not fully exposed to the reservoir.Therefore, only a portion of it is exposed to a limited flowing nutrient solution.
In an NFT, the water is constantly being recycled. However, it is advisable to drain it once a day. An NFT system doesn’t require large amounts of water and nutrients. In addition, it can also be customized to adopt a more modern design. Lastly, it can accommodate different types of plants.
However, its disadvantages include pump failure and overcrowding. Nevertheless, it is ideal for herbs such as basil, oregano, and rosemary.
With that said, now you know the different factors to consider when choosing the best hydroponics system for your home. In addition, you now have a clearer idea of the different types of hydroponics systems available.
Therefore, you can now make a more informed decision when selecting the right system for your hydroponic gardening.
Still, it would be best to remember that you can guarantee better yields as long as the hydroponic plants are paired with the appropriate hydroponics system.