For those who may not have enough space in the backyard for a conventional garden, hydroponic gardening may be the answer to the problem. This is another type of indoor garden that originally made use of water as the medium for growth and cultivation of plants. Nowadays, hydroponics has reached new heights and there are currently a multitude of techniques and variations used by different hydroponic gardeners.
Most will argue that there are six basic types of hydroponic techniques and their difference is mainly in the growing mediums they use. The growing systems used today are aeroponic, nutrient film technique, drip, ebb and flow, water culture, and wick. Although there may be other hydroponic methods used, they are all basically a variation of these 6 hydroponic systems. This article will discuss three of them; namely, the ebb and flow, water culture, and wick systems.
Ebb and Flow System
Also called the “flood and drain” system, the ebb and flow method is one of the most effective hydroponic gardening techniques available today. This system makes use of a nutrient solution that is temporarily flooded into the growing tray before it is eventually drained and sent back to the solution holding tank. In order to continuously cycle the solution, a submerged pump with a timer is used. The timer is responsible for turning the pump on and off to prompt the flooding and the draining of the solution to and from the growing tray. Depending on a number of factors such as temperature, humidity, and the plants’ type and size, the ebbing and flowing cycle is repeated a certain number of times each day.
Water Culture System
Another simple hydroponic technique is what’s known as the water culture system. For this method one will need a number of components such as an air pump, an air stone, an air line, and a floating platform.
The floating platform serves as the foundation that holds the plants as their roots are suspended in such a way that they come in contact with the nutrient solution. In order for air to circulate inside, an external air pump is used to pump the oxygen through the air line. This line is connected to the air stone which in turn “bubbles” or aerates through the solution, providing the much needed oxygen for the roots.
The wick hydroponic system is probably the most common form of indoor gardening. This is a popular choice among gardeners because not only is it simple, but it is also a passive type of system that does not require any moving parts. This basic system only makes use of a wick to transfer the nutrients to the plants. One end of the wick is dipped in the nutrient solution while the other end is the one that delivers said nutrients to the growing medium.
One of the biggest criticisms of the wick system is that it may not be suitable for all types of plants. Some plants require more water than others and there are instances wherein the wick is not able to deliver sufficient amounts of nutrient solutions in a timely manner.