The Flow and Ebb of Hydroponics 

The ebb and flow hydroponics method is an easy way of growing vegetables, flowers and herbs without the use of soil. This system uses a container, referred to as a reservoir to hold nutrient rich water. The plants are flooded at regular intervals and the water drains back into the reservoir.

Ebb and flow hydroponics System 

Ebb and flow hydroponics is designed to inundate plants with nutrient rich water at regular intervals. A timer initiates the pump at regular intervals drenching the plants growing on the drain tray. The fluid then slowly drains back into the reservoir so that it can be recycled and re-used. 

Materials 

Ebb and flow hydroponics systems require a container to hold the water. Any non-metallic container will work. A fish tank, an old cooler or a plastic tub are a few of the options you have. A submersible pump that is large enough to flood your growing plants will probably be the most expensive item for this type of system. You will also need a plant tray to hold your non-soil medium and plants. 

Growing Medium

When you grow plants using hydroponics, the plants need to be supported. Dirt is never used but sand, vermiculite, perlite, rock wool or pea gravel support hydroponically grown plants quite well. Most of these growing mediums can be re-used once you harvest your plants, which reduces the cost of this type of hydroponic gardening system. With the ebb and flow hydroponics system, your growth medium rarely needs to be cleaned or replaced after harvest. 

Nutrient Water 

Hydroponic systems including ebb and flow hydroponics must have nutrient water that is pH balanced. The pH value tells you how acidic or alkaline is the solution. Almost all plants need a pH value between 5.8 and 6.5. If it is lower, your plants will not be able to absorb the necessary nutrients. If the pH is too high, your plants will suffer from a salt build up. 
All plants need nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and iron. Some species need higher or lower amounts of these nutrients. The ebb and flow system allows you to adjust your nutrient solution easily. When a specific type of nutrient is needed, you just add it to the reservoir. 
Types of Plants Since any vegetable, flower or herb plant can be grown using ebb and flow hydroponics, the most important thing to consider when choosing what you want to grow is the strength and stability of your growing tray. If you are growing lightweight plants such as lettuce, herbs or short-stemmed flowers, the tray and the support do not need to be very strong. If you are growing tomatoes, pepper or strawberries you will require a very sturdy support tray. 
Start with the proper growing tray to start with because once your plants start growing it’s going to be difficult to add additional support. 
Ebb and flow hydroponics is easy to operate, maintain and construct. This system will support many varieties of plants. Ebb and flow systems are great for beginners and experienced hydroponic gardeners.

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