What is Hydroponics? A Modern Introduction

What is Hydroponics Farming? We will answer that in the following article. Make sure you read to the end. as we begin with history.

The history of hydroponic farming can be traced back to 1627 with Francis Bacon’s work on water culture but not until around 1929 when a University of California at Berkeley scientist, William Frederick Gericke began to publicly promote the use of solution culture in agricultural production. The earliest large-scale success of hydroponic farming was in the 1930s on Wake Island, a rocky island in the Pacific Ocean used as a refueling station for Pan American Airlines. Hydroponic farming techniques were used extensively in the soilless island to grow vegetables for airline passengers.

What is Hydroponics?

Basically, hydroponics is simply the production of crops in a soilless medium. In hydroponic farming nutrients dissolved in water are either delivered directly to plants roots or through an inert medium such as rock wool.

In conventional farming, plants grow their roots deep into the soil to find the necessary nutrients needed to grow. In hydroponic farming, the liquid nutrients are delivered directly to the roots hence saving the plant’s energy and time required to grow the roots. This energy is redirected to foliage, fruit, and vegetable production.

In hydroponic farming, the farmer has total control over the plants. They are in control of availing water, oxygen, and nutrients hence ensuring that the plants get the required nutrients and in the correct amounts. Not only does this speed up growth and maturity, but the farmer’s schedule is more stable and hence able to plan accordingly.

Hydroponics solves most of the current problems, soil quality, and water availability, facing the agricultural sector. Hydroponics has been used to grow foods where they previously couldn’t grow.

In hydroponic farming, there are generally two techniques used; plants roots are suspended directly in the nutritious solution hence availing the roots with abundant nutrients and oxygen. In the second technique, the plants’ roots are anchored on an inert medium such as rock wool which has an open structure hence providing a highly oxygenated root zone.

Types of hydroponic growing substrate/ inert media

Having known the different types of hydroponic techniques, the next obvious decision before setting up a hydroponic system is which growing medium to use. Hydroponic medium is inert and can’t grow anything on its own and its major function is providing support and anchorage for the plants.

There are different media and their applicability differs from one growing technique to another.

  • Expanded clay aggregate: These are baked clay pellets which are inert and a neutral Ph. The clay pellets are fired in 1,200 of which causes expansion making them porous hence suitable for hydroponic systems.
  • Rockwool: Is composed of granite and limestone which is melted and spun into small thread-like cotton candy. It can be formed into cubes, slabs, sheets, or flocking. Rockwool is an inert, porous non-degradable medium that easily absorbs water. The ph should be balanced, by soaking in ph balanced water, before us.
  • Coco-fiber/chips: Although the coconut fibers are organic, they are one of the best-growing media since thy breakdown and decompose without providing any nutrients to the plants growing. Apart from being inert, coco coir has a neutral ph and holds moisture well at the same time allowing proper aeration for the roots. The difference between coco coir(fiber) and coco chips is the size of the article where coco fibers have small sized particles compared to coco chips. The larger the particle size, the better the root aeration.
  • Perlite: This is a volcanic mineral rock that has been superheated to expand it and hence becoming more porous, lightweight and absorbent. Perlite has a neutral ph and an excellent wicking action. It can be used alone or mixed with other substances such as granite. Perlite is lightweight and it tends to float around hence not a good choice in flood and drain systems.
  • Vermiculite: Is a silicate mineral which is expanded by superheating it. Vermiculite’s properties as a growing medium are similar to perlite with the only difference being that vermiculite has a high cation-exchange capacity hence it can hold nutrients for later use.
  • Grow stone: Are made from recycled glass. Grow stones are unevenly shaped, porous and have a good wicking ability of even up to 4 inches above the water level.
  • River rock: It’s common and easy to find in many home improvement stores. River rock is inexpensive and comes in irregular rounded shapes hence making them suitable for aeration and drainage in the roots. Since the rocks are nonporous, they are unable to hold on to moisture around the roots hence they are applicable when mixed with other media to improve drainage.
  • Floral foam: It’s a lightweight and porous material. Depending on the hydroponic growing technique used, the floral foam may get waterlogged very quickly and it can also crumble easily causing a mess.
  • Sheep wool: This is a promising renewable growing media. In comparison to other media such as coco coir slabs and rock wool, sheep wool had a greater aeration/ air capacity of 70%which decreases to 43% with use and water capacity increased from 23 to 44% with use. The study showed that sheep wool yielded the most compared with other substrates.

Other popular growing media include rice husks, sand, gravel, and water absorbing polymers among others. In case you plan to use naturally occurring substrates, it is recommended you sterilize the media before use to avoid contamination

Which nutrients are added to the solution?

The grower provides all necessary nutrients required which could have been otherwise got from the soil. The greatest advantage of hydroponic farming is the ability of the farmer to control and provide tailor-made nutrients to the plants.

The type of nutrients added depends on the type and requirements of a particular crop. The grower is also at liberty to choose if they want to pursue organic farming by adding organic nutrients or otherwise.

Hydroponic nutrient mixtures are usually available in many stores and most of them come with the basic mineral nutrients required for a plant to grow. The major minerals needed for plant growth include Nitrogen, Copper, Sulphur, Molybdenum, Boron, Chlorine, Potassium, Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Manganese, and Phosphorus. Others like Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen are absorbed from the atmosphere.

The temperature of the nutrient solution is also critical. Warm temperatures of about 68-72 degrees provide optimal growth.

Advantages of hydroponic farming.

  1. Steady production: The greatest advantage of hydroponic farming over traditional methods is that it gives the farmer total control over crop production hence stable production. Elimination of weather influence ensures productivity all year round.
  2. Use less water: Although hydroponics use water as a solvent, its uses the least amounts of water since most of it is recycled thereby reducing water expenses for the farmer.
  3. Early maturity: Due to the controlled and tuned-up growing environment, plants grow and mature faster than in traditional farming. This means earlier harvest which translates to more profits for selling on the off-season and more planting seasons in a year.
  4. Free of soil-borne diseases: In hydroponics, it’s easy to detect and control crop diseases before spread. Soilless technology also ensures there’s no possibility of contracting the many soil-borne diseases.
  5. Use less space: Since hydroponic farming systems encourage intensive farming, less space is used to produce more food.
  6. Use fewer nutrients: Since the delivery of nutrients is controlled and directed directly to the target roots, efficient use of nutrients is maintained unlike in the traditional farming systems where most nutrients are lost in the soil or taken up by the weeds.
  7. Saves on labor costs: Most of the hydroponic systems use a timer for nutrient irrigation thus eliminating the need for manual irrigation. In hydroponics, there is usually no crop maintenance works such as mulching, tilling, or weeding.

Disadvantages

  1. Water-based organisms could spread through the grow area causing crop damage.
  2. The initial set up is expensive and some technical expertise is also required in growing the crops on hydroponics.
  3. Hydroponic systems are vulnerable to power outages as pumps rely on power to run. Power outages may lead to drying out of plants due to lack of moisture.

Setting up a hydroponic system

In adapting to this new way of farming, you need to consider tools and supplies that are a must-have when operating your hydroponic system. The most common and crucial supplies and tools in hydroponic farming systems include:

  • Air and environmental supplies: These include, bug screens, duct tape, and thermostat. They are important in controlling the environmental conditions around the plants.
  • Accessories: They are the basic components of the system which include timers, water and air pumps, meters, tubing systems, clamps, trays, reservoirs, and fittings.
  • Lighting equipment: These include fluorescent bulbs that are important for indoor growing.
  • Pest control supplies: These include insecticides and sulfur evaporators Wilmond Sulfur Burners that are instrumental in keeping harmful insects away from plants.
  • Reinforcing tools: These supplies are used in reinforcing your system for stability. They may include ballast, hangers, cords, filters, and sockets.

Before setting up a hydroponic garden, there are two main considerations:

  1. Grow area: You’ll need to clear up a small area which can fit the basic components of the system and the grow table. The area should have optimal lighting away from any shade.
  2. Type of hydroponic system: Apart from the varying setup costs, each system requires a different level of expertise and technical know-how.

Regardless of the system, all hydroponics has need few basic components:

  • Hydroponics Growing tray

    This is basically the container holding the plants. The area provides plant support and access to the nutrient solution. The growing area also protects the roots from pests, excess heat, and light which can damage the roots. Size and shape of the growing tray depend on the type of hydroponic system and the type of plants you intend to grow. Many containers can be used but care should be taken when dealing with metal containers because of their corrosive tendencies.

  • Hydroponics Reservoir

This is the container holding the nutrient solution. It is from here that the solution is pumped either periodically or continuously, depending on the system, to the grow tray. Reservoir tank can be made from any container provided it doesn’t leak, holds enough solution and is clean. The size of the reservoir container depends on the size of the growing area.

  • Hydroponics Submersible pump

The pump located in the reservoir pumps the nutrient solution up to the growing chamber. Choice of pump capacity depends on the size of the growing area to be fed and height from the pump to the growing tray.

  • Hydroponics Delivery system

These are mostly PVC pipes used to deliver the solution from the pump to the growing chamber and from the chamber back to the reservoir. Depending on the type of system, the delivery system might be composed of individual drip pipes or sprinklers.

  • Hydroponics Timer

This is a basic clock timer which is connected to the submersible pump. The timer switches on the pump at regular intervals depending on how it’s set. Timed nutrient irrigation ensures that crops are well nourished at all times.

  • Hydroponics Air pump

Air pumps are used to pump oxygen into the nutrient solution. This ensures that roots receive sufficient oxygen for optimal growth.

  • Hydroponics Lighting

Plants require enough lighting for growth. Depending on the location of your setup, it’s important to ensure the crops get sufficient light. Check out a list of Top 5 fluorescent grow light bulbs.

Conclusion

This is a complete guide to Hydroponics Farming that I use and will cover everything not covered in this blog.

Hydroponics Tips

How to Build a Hydroponics System

Steps to build your own Hydroponics, DIY Tips.

You have decided to build your hydroponics system, but you are wondering where to start. Don’t fret, we have all been there. We are here to help you. First of all, there are a lot of inspirations available online that one can scout through, in books at your local library and in gardening magazines.

Once you get your inspiration, plan your system and formulate all the requirements for the same. The time it will take to complete your project depends on the complexity of the Hydroponic System you choose to build.

 

How to build a hydroponics system

In order to build a hydroponics system, the steps you might need to follow will include:

-Plan your system

-Reserviour/Nutrient Tank

-Pumps

-Plant Containers

-Plants

-Transplanting

-Nutrients

-Delivery System

-Grow Lights

 

Step 1- Plan your system

planning hydroponics

 

All hydroponic systems require a nutrient reservoir, a bed or containers to hold the plants and plant nutrients. Depending on what type of system you choose there will be specific additional parts needed.

Before you start your project, formulate a plan to analyze your needs and ensure you have all the necessary parts required for the implementation of your plan. One of the pre-requisites for the development of the system is analyzing where to install the system.

The hydroponic farming system can either be placed outside or inside, based on one’s preference. In climates with extreme temperatures, one must place the system inside the house and ensure all vital nutrients and light are being supplied to the plants.

While placing the system outside, one should also ensure that the system is well-protected.

Evaporation rate- The rate of evaporation should be kept in mind to ensure optimum availability of water and nutrients. Wind Barrier can also help protect the plants from external factors. Analyzing your setup and plan will ensure that your hydroponic system is well-built.

 

Step 2- Reservoir/ Nutrient Tank

All Hydroponic Systems use a reservoir to hold the nutrient solution that feeds your plants.
This container should be opaque to prevent exposure to light of any kind. Light may cause algae to grow to require replacement of the solution.

The reservoir will need to be sterilized to prevent exposure to disease-causing germs. When your hydroponics system is completed, allow a mild chlorine bleach solution to cycle through your system for about 30 minutes. Empty the solution from the system and allow it to dry completely before adding plants.

The reservoir, or the nutrient tank, will ensure the smooth nutrient supply to the plants through the use of air pumps, and thus should be carefully chosen.

 

Step 3 Pumps

Some types of hydroponic systems require a submersible pump, while others might need Air Pumps. These pumps should not rest on the bottom of your reservoir.

You can use a PVC pipe, a sterilized piece of flat non-sedimentary rock or a small plastic container with holes cut out to support your pump inside the nutrient tank. Air bubbles, used in some systems, also work best when they are not resting on the bottom.

 

Step 4- Plant Containers

Net pots are specifically designed for hydroponic gardening. Rock wool, pea gravel, and sand can be used instead of net pots when building your hydroponic system. Styrofoam can be used to support plants if a passive saturation or wick system is used. Net pots work best for NFT systems as the open holes allow complete nutrient saturation of the root bundle.

The system can also consist of growing tubes made out of PVC pipes. The tubes can have a drain outlet attached to the nutrient tank for easy disposal.

 

Step 5- Plants

Plant seeds

You can grow your plants from seed or purchase seedlings from a nursery. Hydroponics can be used to sprout your seeds. A growth medium like perlite will be needed to support the seedling until a sufficient root bundle has grown.

Some seeds may require an overnight soak in vinegar or water before they will sprout. Review the seed package carefully or research the plant to identify if it may need soaking.

 

Step 6- Transplanting

Rinsing your seedlings before transplanting them into the growing bed is important. It doesn’t take much to clog a pump or bubbler, which will cause additional work later. Carefully remove the seedling from the sprouting medium and shake gently. Rinse the root system with water before placing it into the pot or growing bed.

If planting seedlings or a sprouted seed, it should be ensured that the roots of the plant are clean and devoid of any soil. Any residual soil may clog the pores and will lead to the plant not growing optimally.

 

Step 7- Nutrients

The nutrients essential for any crop to grow are:

C, carbon

H, hydrogen

O, oxygen

N, nitrogen

P, phosphorus

K, potassium

Ca, calcium

Mg, magnesium

S, sulfur

Cu, copper,

Zn, zinc

B, boron

Mo, molybdenum

Fe, iron

Mn, manganese

Cl, chlorine

 

The common nutrients, like Oxygen, Hydrogen, and Carbon Dioxide, are supplied through water and air. Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium, are supplied mainly through fertilizer in a combination, commonly referred to as N-P-K. Other deficiencies in your plant can also be analyzed and fulfilled with specific nutrient-based fertilizer.

A very common approach to nutrient supply in Hydroponics, Hoagland’s solution, can also be checked here for reference.

 

Step 8- Delivery System

A hydroponic nutrient delivery system is easily formulated and customizable when building your hydroponic systems. The major role of a delivery system is to plum the nutrient solution to get to the plants’ roots in the growing chamber, and back to the nutrient tank or reservoir again.

Typically the simplest and best materials to use for the nutrient delivery system are a combination of standard PVC tubes and connectors, standard garden irrigation tubes and connectors, as well as vinyl tubes.

 

Depending on the type of hydroponic system you seek to build, you may want to use drip emitters or sprayers. While they can be useful, they also can clog. So if you do, make sure you have extras you can quickly swap out while you clean the clogged ones. The step to choose emitters is entirely optional and can be omitted if not needed to ensure a lower cost of production.

 

Step 9- Grow Lights

While building a hydroponic system indoor, it becomes extremely difficult to supply plants with enough sunlight in order for them to conduct photosynthesis. In cases like these, glow lights are used. These lights, mostly time-controlled or manual, can help the grower to provide a spectrum of light responsible for the conduction of photosynthesis. The process of photosynthesis helps the plants grow, and thus are extremely essential to ensure the plant is getting enough sunlight or artificial light for the process.

 

It is easy to build your hydroponics system. The reward will be homegrown vegetables and fruit and the satisfaction of a job well done.

 

See how to build your own hydroponic system.

 

Types of Hydroponic System

There are basically 6 types of Hydroponic Systems:

  1. Wick System

  2. Drip System

  3. Ebb and Flow

  4. Aeroponics

  5. Deep Water Culuture

  6. Nutrient Film Technique

 

FAQ For Hydroponics:

Q1. Which one is better, Grow Light or Natural Sunlight?

Q2. What is the ideal water temperature for Hydroponics system?

Q3. How do Hydroponics systems work?

Q4. How to clean Hydroponics Systems?

Q5. Which nutrient is essential for the rapid growth of Hydroponic Plants?

Ebb and Flow Hydroponics Gardening System Explained

Cost-Effective Food Production

What is Ebb and Flow Hydroponics System?

An Ebb and Flow Hydroponics System is commonly known as flood and drain gardening. This basically means that you flood the roots of a plant with a nutrient solution (hydroponic solution) and allow the excess to seep out of the system.

This is intrinsic to air circulation to the roots since, during the flooding process, air is forced out of the ebb and flow system.

On the other hand, the pores, between the material (pebbles) hosting the roots, create a vacuum effect that sucks up oxygen-filled air as the water drains out. A thin nutrient film is also left accessible for plant roots.

This system is well suited for small-scale farmers and can be fitted booth indoors and outdoors. It favors the growth of several plants including the zucchini, tomatoes, chili peppers among others.

This hydroponic system is a suitable option when one wants to transfer germinating plants to a more controlled environment. It is a reliable agricultural means since it has a timer and monitoring is not really required unless the solution runs dry.

Constructing the Ebb and Flow Hydroponics model promise to bring with it, a sense of accomplishment to the owner rather than buying an overpriced model from the agricultural stores.

This DIY project is also a safety measure against contaminated or genetically modified foods.

Ebb and Flow Hydroponics
image source Growers House

Requirements for Ebb and Flow Hydroponics System

You will need the following for ebb and flow hydroponics diy:

  • 4 Rectangular containers 50 cm by 30 cm by 40 cm
  • Reservoir
  • A timer that turns the pump on/off
  • Pump
  • 8 Plastic pipes each 20 cm length 3.5 cm diameter
  • two plastic pipes 120 cm length, 10 cm diameter. Each with one closed end
  • Hosepipe
  • Overflow tank 120 cm by 30 cm by 50 cm
  • Gravel,
  • Pebbles
  • Solid slabs.
  • A drill with a 3.5 cm diameter drill bit.

The Construction and Setup of the Ebb and Flow System

  1. Select a suitable location for your garden. It is essential that the weather calamities, such as storms, hailstones, excessive sunlight, among others, do not interfere with the system.
  2. Drill two holes on parallel sides of the container each 3.5 cm. One will be to pump in fresh solution into the hydroponic while the later will allow for the excess to flow back into the reservoir.
  3. Drill another hole on the underside of each of the containers. This will allow for drainage of to the overflow tank.
  4. Drill four holes measuring 3.5 cm diameter along the 120 cm length pipes
    5. Place the rectangular containers in series over the slabs and put the overflow tank under the system.
  5. Connect the piping. Start with connecting the smaller pipes to the rectangular tanks one on either side. Then plug the holes of the two larger pipes with adjacent pipes. Finally, connect one of the larger pipes to the reservoir and the other hose to the pump.
  6. Now place the pebbles uniformly into the four sections and add a uniform but thicker layer of gravel over the pebbles.
  7. Add the hydroponic solution to the reservoir under the stipulated ratios.

Notice that in the above design; we have overflow from the pipes and some more from under the containers such that the system works efficiently. An alternative would be to drill bigger holes and use larger pipes from the system to the reservoir and omit the holes on the underside of the container entirely.

How does Ebb and Flow Hydroponics System Work?

The pump will raise the solution through the horse pipes, through the plastic pipes, and into the rectangular slots. The water level in the container sections will rise evenly for the allocated time.

Once the maximum water capacity is reached in the containers, the excess will flow into the outflow pipe and back to the reservoir by gravity. The water will then sip slowly percolating through the gravel through the pebbles into the overflow tank. This water can be recycled in the system to facilitate an economically sensitive system. This cycle should restart about three to four times each day.

image source Visual.ly

Ebb and Flow Hydroponics watering schedule

The system is easy to maintain, and regular PH tests are expected. High PH levels can be corrected by adding distilled water to the solution and for low PH, add small amounts of the hydroponic solution until it levels out. Note that a balanced solution is different for each plant. Change the hydroponic solution every two weeks less to ensure consistency in plant nutrient supply

You can choose to plant the plants in pots and incorporate them into the hydroponic system. However, if you are considering adding a plant to the network, know that different plant growth stages require different chemical balancing. For example, a plant that is just germinating may need a lower phosphoric content as opposed to one that is flowering.

If you notice that the containers have low water levels even after pumping, you may consider lowering the height of the system. This problem translates to the Head Velocity of the pump.

If a pump is rated 2 meters Head, it means that it can only raise water to 2 meters height and anything more will cause a strain in its workload. It is, therefore, advisable to use a pump whose Head is rated twice the height of your hydroponic scheme.

If a pump is rated in PSI (Pounds per Square Inches), you should multiply the figure by 2.31 to get the Head.

If you wish to expand the system, all you have to do is repeat the above procedure. If you have extra vertical space, you can adjust the setup to run diagonally with the reservoir at the bottom. The solution in this setup will be expected to rise evenly in the containers and the reservoir. on the other hand, you can use a smaller setup, say two containers, for a similar space.

Conclusion on Ebb and Flow System

Hydroponics is a tried and tested system. You need not have a big space to do this type of farming. The process of constructing one such system is rough $ 180 and should take at most one day to build. A hydroponic aquarium can be erected in a similar way but the pumping frequency has to be higher, and the system has to be cleaned a little more often. Remember to watch this amazing video below.

Best Indoor Hydroponic Grow System

We are going to review the Best Indoor Hydroponic Grow System available on the market today. Well, Hydroponics has flourished in the last twenty years.

It refers to the method of growing plants without soil. While it has become popular only recently, experiments in soilless cultivation were conducted back in the late 1600s.

Today, there’s still hydroponic research being conducted, and as the demand for growing plants indoors increases, there’ll be new and more efficient methods developed. We are obviously much further ahead today in our hydroponic research, with much more efficient nutrient-rich solutions than those used back in the 17th century.

Hydroponics has been growing, it’s being used by commercial growers. Without soil, it eliminates the need to deal with weed infestation or with pests like insects.

People who live in arid climates and deal regularly with consistent water shortages have relied on hydroponic cultivation because it requires much less water than traditional soil cultivation.

People who have difficulty getting the seeds and fertilizers needed to successfully grow soil crops also rely on hydroponic cultivation. In addition, NASA has developed self-sustaining space stations that are no larger than 30 square meters. This research will be used for future endeavors such as planet colonization.

Living in urban areas where there isn’t much room to grow sustainable crops has pushed people into hydroponic gardening.

Hydroponic gardening is a great step toward sustainability. Having your own hydroponic garden makes you self-reliant. You don’t have to depend on the produce sold at local markets. Hydroponic gardening is also environmentally friendly. You can grow your plants on a windowsill or balcony.

Today there are thousands of products on the market that offer products and services to help you successfully set up a hydroponic garden.

Top 5 Best Indoor Hydroponic Grow System

These reviews of the top 5 hydroponic growing systems are based on research into the many websites that speak about and sell, hydroponic products.

The reviewer also considers feedback from customers about these products. Whether for small or larger growing systems, you can check them out on your own to determine your specific needs.

Sites that were reviewed include Amazon.com, Supercloset.com, htgsupply.com and the hydroponicum.com, though others were also reviewed for this article.

1. Superponics 8 Hydroponic Grow System

indoor hydroponic growing systems
Image source: Supercloset.com

The Superponics growing system utilizes aeroponic technology, where the roots are suspended in the air, and they receive the nutrients needed to grow through a fine mist.

Aeroponics is a technique in hydroponic growing that has yielded great results in plant growth, specifically in the time that it takes to grow plants. This system has two separate hydroponic growth systems operating simultaneously. So, if one feeding source fails, the other keeps working, to ensure a higher success rate.

Plants are submerged in water (bottom feed oxygenation) and are fed nutrients at the top (top feed watering). This double feeding technique encourages rapid rates of growth and higher yield success rates. It has been tested to be 5 times faster than growing with soil, and twice as fast as other systems.

Included in the kit are the Superponics 8 reservoir, and Eco Air air pump (which does not require oiling or any other maintenance), a water pump that filters water through the plants at the rate of 132 gallons per hour, and an analog feeding timer.

The water pump boasts a quiet operation and is the core of this growing system. Pumping constantly at 132 gallons per hour, it is automated when it is plugged directly into the analog timer. The timer is set by you, the gardener, based on what you are growing- either fruits, vegetables or plants. A handy booklet comes with it to help you set the timer for each growth product. There are also use videos on YouTube describing how to use the Superponics 8 Hydroponic Grow Systems.

Eight cups are provided with this system to enable the grower to harvest up to eight plants at a time.

A nice thing about this system is that it comes fully assembled – especially for those of us who do not take pleasure in the assembly stage of a product. The five separate parts are already put together, and in reviewing this product, it appears to be very easy to clean and maintain.

Another advantage is its built-in fail-safe system where if one aspect of the system malfunctions, such as bottom-feeding, the plants are still being nourished enough to grow at the top.

 

 

Watch this video about the Superponics 8 Hydroponic Grow System.

2. General Hydroponics Aero Flo, 30

indoor hydroponic growing systems
Image source: generalhydroponics.com

The General Hydroponics Aero Flo Growth system uses aeroponic technology. A fine mist of nutrient solution feeds the plants. The nutrient solution is specific to which plants are being grown.

It has been shown that using a nutrient-rich mist solution produces higher yields than other hydroponic growing techniques, such as bubble growing. What is key in aeroponic growing is the ingredients that are used in the mist – a proper balance of oxygen, water and nutrients are necessary for successful growing percentages.

The Aero Flo 30 is large, at about 7 feet long and about 2 feet wide. It comes with a stand upon which the 30 plants are grown. This system comes with a 17-gallon reservoir and three “growth chambers” that are each six feet long, and are spread side by side. Each of the chambers fits 10 cups in which the plants receive the nutrient solution. The growth chambers are specially designed to provide the exact nutrients needed by each plant.

Housed within the reservoir is a 120-gallon water power pump which constantly filters and helps to spread the nutrient mist to each plant.

One of the hallmarks of the Aero Flo system is that little maintenance is needed for the nutrient solution. The water pump and reservoir take care of this, ensuring the exact combination of water, oxygen, and nutrient is fed to the plants.

What is great about this system is that it has few parts, and very little maintenance is required.

The Aero Flo system claims to yield stronger, more resistant plants as well as a higher yield. It comes with feeder cups for either 30 or 60 plants.

Net cups, as well as the nutrient solutions, are included.

 

3. Black Magic Performance Hydroponics

Black Magic is aimed at the more industrious consumer who wishes to build their hydroponic system one part at a time.

The Black Magic company provides information about DIY hydroponic growing. It also provides high-end nutrient-rich products and accessories needed for a high-yield hydroponic garden experience.

One of the products they offer is the Black Magic All-Purpose Supplement. It’s a nutrient formula with ingredients from the sea, plants, and soil. It’s a supplement intended to enhance nutrient formulas and stimulate higher growth rates. It can also be used by itself as the nutrient ingredient for active hydroponic gardens.

Another product from Black Magic is the Seed Starter Tray which includes peat plugs that stimulate starter seed growth. This product is used when transplanting is being done and can help ensure plant sustainability after the transplantation process is over.

For larger greenhouse operations or for personal hydroponic gardens, Black Magic provides a Pro Peat Blend that comes in a large size. Its ingredients include Coco Coir, composted bark, and sphagnum peat moss. The new trend in hydroponic gardening is cloning. It involves taking samples of currently growing plants and reproducing them in a different growing cup. Pro Peat Blend has been shown to be extremely advantageous to people who wish to clone their plants, fruits or vegetables.

Black Magic does not provide hydroponic systems. Instead, they have products designed to stimulate more aggressive growth and supplement nutrients that come with gardening systems. If you are growing plants, fruits or vegetables that require attention and encouragement to grow, it may be worth your while to check out Black Magic Products.

Price: Depends on the product.

 

4. Current Culture Undercurrent 4XL

The Current Culture Undercurrent system is a water-intensive system that circulates hundreds of gallons of solution underneath plant roots every hour. For aerobic growth, the system uses dissolved oxygen.

The circulation of water is constant, and the pH is maintained constant throughout the system. The water and nutrient pump constantly pushes out and pulls in the nutrient water solution throughout the plant root system by means of negative water flow pressure, so that equal amounts of nutrients are dispersed to each plant.

The plant lids are made of plastic and reflect light away from the plants. The lids are white, replacing black lids that were used in earlier hydroponic growing systems. The white lids are better, since the plants are kept cooler, and a cooler environment helps to stimulate growth.

The system also has side entry air ports which enable the grower to inspect the plant roots without disconnecting air lines. This makes inspection easy since it can be done without interrupting the feeding process.

A great thing about the Current Culture Undercurrent system is that it is modular, so the hydroponic grower can add more plants to the system whenever they wish.

The standard system comes with an air pump, a return pump, an in-line filter, an air hose, a float valve with a reservoir adapter kit, a garden hose drain adapter, as well as a 9-inch air diffuser disc.

This model has two rows, to feed four plants, but it is expandable, as mentioned earlier.

The water flow through the pumps is stored in an 8-gallon container.

5. Super Bubble Flow Buckets Hydroponic Grow System

indoor hydroponic growing systems
Image Source: supercloset.com

This system is suggested as an alternative to traditional systems. It combines bubble buckets and ebb-and-flow bucket technology. It is fully automated and designed to be easy to use. The nutrients are circulated at the roots while a constant flow of air is maintained above the plants. Each bucket is six and a half gallons in size, so as to fit plants that have a larger root mass.

A water reservoir is at the top of a system of six buckets. The water from the reservoir fills each bucket simultaneously, and when it reaches a set level where the return lines are located, the water flows back from the bucket to the reservoir, completing the system of constant water flow. There is bubbling in each bucket, made possible by Super Bubble’s air pump, which provides bubbling, oxygenated water into each of the six buckets.

The system under review facilitates six buckets, but there are also twelve and 24-bucket systems available. Each system comes with a three-year warranty and a customer support center.

The science behind this fully-automated system is oxygenated water. Many other systems in the market also use bubble flow technology.

 

 

Super BubbleFlow Bucket Hydroponic System

There are many advances in hydroponic technology, and as it becomes more popular (and in some climates, a necessity), advancements will keep coming.

Bubble-flow and aeroponic technologies are the most successful today. Both of them have proved to be successful in growing plant life without soil. Based upon your budget, it appears either system would work well.

These technologies can also sustain as many as 40 to 60 plants while ensuring equal distribution of nutrient-rich water-based solutions to each plant. Another consideration is convenience: many systems today are automated and do not require constant management during the growing process.

This appears to be one of the best aspects of current hydroponic growing system technology. With time, we are likely to see even more advancements in this growing sector of the market. And it is likely that prices will go down, as competition increases.