Basic Hydroponic system - Drip System (3/6)


Drip System

Drip systems are widely used by different growers because they are very effective for growing hydroponically, low maintenance and produce little waste.

 

How It Works

The drip system works by constantly dripping nutrient solution onto your growing medium. The nutrient solution is pumped from the reservoir through tubing, which runs along the top of the growing medium, where the solution then drips out. The solution soaks through the roots and drains to the bottom of the container and drips back into the reservoir. The system can be designed in several ways, making them very versatile depending on the size of your system. Drip systems are especially helpful for larger plants that require a lot of root space because large volumes of water aren’t necessary and it is easy to run drip lines over larger spaces. There are actually two main types of drip systems:

 

Recirculating drip systems

Recirculating drip systems, also know as recovery systems, are the most common choice for home growers. As the name implies, recirculating drip systems work by recycling the nutrient solution after it has already been used to wet the roots of the plant. While these systems cut down on waste, it often leads to great variations in pH levels, as well as the strength of the nutrients. Therefore, it is important to regularly check the pH levels when you use this system and maintain a balanced nutrient solution.

 

Non-recirculating drip systems

Non-recirculating drip systems are more common for commercial growers. Though it may seem like this system would waste water, it actually requires very little of it. This is accomplished through precise timing of their watering cycles. They use adjustment timers that cause the system to water the plants long enough to wet the growing medium to a level that causes the medium to absorb the solution, but not cause much runoff. They occasionally flush the growing medium to prevent the buildup of nutrients.

Generally, non-recirculating drip systems require less maintenance. This is because they do not reuse the nutrient solution, and therefore, growers do not have to be as diligent about checking the pH levels of the nutrient solution. As long as you do not allow mineral elements to settle at the bottom of your reservoir, your nutrient solution will remain balanced.

 

Building Your Own System

To build a drip system, you will need the following:

  • A container for your plant’s roots
  • A container to act as your reservoir
  • A fountain pump
  • A light timer
  • Tubing
  • Growing medium

 

You will start by drilling a hole in your plant container that is big enough to run tubing through. Then, create a hole in your reservoir that can receive the other end of the tube. Run the tube between the two, and attach one end to the pump. Place the plants above the reservoir; you could put them on a table, and put the reservoir under it. Place the tube so that it runs along your plant’s growing medium, then poke small holes in it to allow the water to drip into the roots.


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