Plsc 211 Article
By: Gregory Axt
Plant Science 211, Fall 2010
North Dakota State University
Characteristics of Hyroponic Systems
The Wick System
This is the simplest type of hydroponics systems, it has no moving parts and is really basic! The plants and growing medium are all placed in what is called an upper bucket. After this, an absorbent material is inserted in near the growing material(roots) and out the bottom side of the upper bucket. After all of this, the upper bucket is then placed into a lower bucket which is partially filled with nutrient solution for the cloth to absorb and carry up to the roots. The plant will then absorb the nutrient solution as needed.
This system falls under the wick system for its simplicity. Plants are placed in individual hole punched into a styrofoam board, the plants and board then float on top of the nutrient solution which is put into one big container or tank. The plant roots are completely submersed into the water and get no oxygen this way. Therefore the plant and roots get their oxygen from an air pump that pushes air through a tube to the air stone placed inside the tank.
This system is third in the category of simplicity, pots with the plants and growing medium are placed into a tray that are above containers filled with the nutrient solution. Water is pumped from the nutrient filled containers which are directly below the plants but on a timer. The Idea is to keep the solution up to a level two inches below the top of the growing medium, but at the same time keep it filtrating to the containers it is pumped from. When the solution completely drains from the soil medium the pumps will kick in to submerse the soil medium with the nutrient solution, this is a continuous cycle.
The NFT system is a little more complicated than the ebb and flow, but is basically the same principle. What sets it apart is that it doesn't need a timer since it is run twenty four/ seven, and rely's on a continuous flowing stream of the solution. The plants are typically placed in tubes and put in a tray slanted for the water to flow through by gravity into the conatainer, the pump then carries the water from the container back through the system continuously.
The Drip System
This is a fairly simple system as well but has a few more parts to it than the others. The drip system works like an irrigationm pivot, water is pumped throught tubes that drip directly above the plants, and as the growing medium is saturated it drips the water back down into the container the solution is being pumped from and run through the system again repeatedly.
The Aeroponic System
The Aeroponic system is a little more complex, it requires the pplants and roots to be suspended completely in the air with no growing medium. Once the plants are set, misters spray the typical nutrient solution into the air to moisten the plants roots and then drain the unused moisture of back into the solution to be recycled. This has to be done quite frequently since the roots dry out quickly, but is rather effective!