Hydroponics is the means of growing plants without soil. Plants are anchored using a hydroponic grow media, which can be any inert matter. In some cases, plants aren’t in contact with any media whatsoever and are suspended directly in the nutrient solution.
What are the different types of hydroponic systems?
The most prominent hydroponic systems today are:
- Ebb and Flow- Also known as flood and drain, these systems are becoming less common but are still very effective. This type of system does not keep plant roots suspended in a nutrient solution, but rather a hydroponic grow medium. The nutrient solution then floods the tray, and then drains out, leaving the grow media saturated.
- Deep Water Culture- Commonly referred to as DWC, this is the easiest and most cost-effective system to use. Plants are housed in a net pot, and a reservoir holds the nutrient solution, which will be recirculated to keep plants constantly submerged.
- Aeroponics- In this hydroponic system, roots are suspended in air, and plants are fed by misting the root zone with the nutrient solution. The main point here is that roots are exposed to ample oxygen, which allows them to uptake more nutrients.
- Hydroponic Drip Systems- These systems are geared more towards commercial growers, because it can be difficult to achieve an efficient scale for small hobby gardens. Nevertheless, they are an effective system, that allows the grower a high level of control over feeding and watering.
There are some key differences between areoponics vs hydroponics, which we explore in depth in our blog post. Check it out to learn more!
What is the best hydroponic system for indoor growing?
The best hydroponic system will be different for different growers. If this is your first hydroponic system, we recommend you go with a DWC hydroponic system. These are regarded as the simplest hydro systems, and since growing under this method can be complicated, we want to make it as easy as possible. If you feel confident in your hydroponic abilities, aeroponic systems are the most technical available and can be lots of fun to grow with, and cultivate some great plants
You can check out our list of the Best Hydroponic Systems currently on the market. This will help you tremendously with your buying process!
How do you set up a hydroponic system?
The first step in setting up your hydroponic system is finding an ideal location. If you are using a grow tent, this will be much easier, as the mess of growing is contained and the system can easily be moved.
If you plan on growing in a spare bedroom, consider the environment you will be growing in. Plants have specific humidity, temperature, and light needs. It is important your environment is conducive to growing quality plants, especially for the price you are paying for a hydro system.
When you purchase a complete hydroponic kit, set up is very easy. Just follow the instructions, and place the reservoir under the grow tray. Install the water pump, air pump, and any other necessary components, and start growing!
What are the pros and cons of hydroponics?
There are several advantages hydroponics has over traditional soil gardening, one being the ability to make better use of space. Hydroponics also allows those who do not have access to good soil to grow indoors. The most notable benefit of hydroponic growing is the explosive growth rate plants see when compared to soil plants. Plants can grow 20% faster, and yield 25% more. So, while you may not be able to grow as many plants hydroponically, you will see quicker and heavier harvests!
The main disadvantage of hydroponic growing is the cost of the system. This should be seen as an investment, as the yields from hydroponic gardens are unrivaled. Another downside is the learning curve of growing in one of these systems. If you are already an indoor grower, switching to hydroponics will be much easier. The most important inputs to monitor in the environment are water, nutrients, lights, humidity, and temperature. If one of these falls out of the desired range, it can have detrimental effects on your plants.
How much are hydroponic systems?
Because there is much variety in hydroponic systems, there is no way to really set a price range. You can get a very simple deep water system like the the Active Aqua Root Spa 5 Gallon, 8 Bucket Hydroponics System for under $200, but there are much more advanced systems that can deliver better results like the Current Culture Under Current Evolution 9 for $1,850. The price you will pay for a hydroponic system will depend on how many plants you want to grow, the type of hydroponics, and the quality and technology of the system you decide on.
Here at Hydrobuilder, our complete hydroponic systems include the reservoir, pumps and tubing, growing containers, and growing medium. If you are unsure which system is right for you, visit our learning center and check out our full breakdown of hydroponics, or give our experienced growing staff a call today at 888-815-9763!