To grow something using a “hydroponic” method simply means that rather than using the earth as a base, the grower is using water.
There are several types of hydroponic methods, each has it’s pros/cons.
- Deep Water Culture System
- Ebb and Flow System
- Nutrient Film Technique
In aeroponic growing, they plant itself it suspended in a “closed system” (i.e., the roots are not exposed to light and are covered) above a table. The table itself will have a series of spayers that will mist the root ball in several predetermined intervals during the day. The plant itself grows above the “closed system.” See photo illustration below.
This photo was taken from https://greencamp.com/aeroponics/. While it is a cannabis growing site, they do have a wonderful DIY instruction on how to set up an aeroponics system which can be used for plants other than cannabis.
Deep Water Culture
This type of system is generally found in a basic horticulture class. The roots are suspended in a container and held up by a substrate such as foam. The container is filled with water which contains all of the nutrients needed for the plant. A bubbler is added into the container to supply oxygen to the roots.
Ebb and Flow System
Our personal set up is known as an “ebb and flow” method. Our plants are placed in a growing medium (which we will also discuss, because it makes a world of difference which we found out the hard way) in a deep table and several times a day the tables are flooded with water which contains various nutrients that are added on a schedule, usually in weekly intervals.
Nutrient Film System
Nutrient Film System is a system generally made up of PVC pipe. There are holes cut out of the pipe on the top equidistant from each other for each plant to rest in. Water, fortified with nutrients, is pumped and flooded into the PVC pipes in a continuous loop so as to continually hydrate the root system of the plants.