Blog Post Here: https://university.upstartfarmers.com/blog/all-you-need-to-know-to-choose-a-hydroponic-design
Whether you’re totally new or just adding on to an existing system, you need overview of all your choices. (Take an in-depth course on grow methods: https://university.upstartfarmers.com/courses/1030-choosing-your-production-model)
But first, let’s review the basics of hydroponic design.
There are 3 basic parts to almost every hydroponic system: a sump tank (sometimes split into one sump tank and one mixing tank), a growing container, and a pump.
The Kratky method is one exception to this – it keeps the solution in the growing container with no pump and uses a measured amount of formulated solution.
There are 5 main types of systems that use and arrange these parts in different ways:
DWC – Deep water culture. DWC systems use a floating raft to hold plants over a solution tank. This is great for tropical regions because of the great temperature stability in the root zone but can have problems with dissolved oxygen levels.
NFT – Nutrient film technique. NFT systems use a series of shallow troughs and are very common method in greenhouses on a single horizontal plane. It’s cheap to build up front but not very space efficient.
ZipGrow™ – ZipGrow™ and other vertical tower systems use vertical planes to grow in 3-dimensional space rather than a single horizontal plane. These types of systems are more space efficient with lower operating costs, though upfront costs tend to be higher.
Aeroponic – Aeroponic systems grow plants primarily in air, using a fine mist to deliver solution to plant roots. Aeroponics are cool and can be cost effective, but are a nightmare to manage.
Media-based – Media based systems are any system that uses an aggregate or fiber media in a container. These could be media beds and Bato buckets are the two most common methods here. These are great techniques for large statured crops that need a lot of root support, but aren’t always space efficient.
The four main factors to choose a technique are:
00:26 Primary parts of a hydroponic system
02:41 Types of hydroponic systems
03:57 DWC – Deep water culture
04:27 NFT – Nutrient film technique
05:09 Vertical production
06:26 Media based technique
07:15 Getting started/Picking your system
09:04 “Can I do this myself?”
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