There are several ways to grow plants. The popularity of hydroponic cultivation is growing, that is to cultivate the plants without using the land, or to call it in another way “out of the ground”.
Basically in hydroponics, plants grow inside an inert substrate (generally non-organic and without nutrients), made up of materials that can vary from expanded clay, perlite, coconut fiber, rock wool or simply water (DWC). The nutrients the plant needs are supplied directly to the roots through a solution based on water and mineral salts.
When designing a hydroponic cultivation, it is necessary to take into consideration various factors such as the type of plant (eg tomatoes, strawberries or salad), the place where it will be grown (indoor or outdoor greenhouse), the size of the system or the environment.
All these factors influence the choice of the type of techniques to be used and consequently.
Hydroponic Cultivation Technique in DWC
DWC, acronym of Deep Water Culture, that is cultivation in deep water is a hydroponic cultivation technique which consists in growing plants in a highly oxygenated solution based on water and fertilizers.
It is possible to grow large plants with a minimum use of substrate, it is enough in fact a handful of expanded clay in which to take hold of the young seedling and support it until the roots coming out of the pot will be able to develop in the solution. This is why deep water cultivation can be considered a cross between traditional hydroponics and aeroponics.
The benefits of growing in DWC can be summarized in:
- Accelerated growth: as the greater concentration of oxygen at the roots stimulates the absorption of nutrients and the metabolism of the plant
- Production increase: plants grown in DWC have higher yields than those grown on the ground
- Minimum use of substrate: it will no longer be necessary to move large volumes of earth or other substrates as a minimum amount of expanded clay is enough to grow large plants
- Little maintenance : there are no drippers that could become clogged or water pumps that in the event of a malfunction block the irrigation of the plants. Even in the case of a blackout, plants grown in DWC would survive
La coltivazione in acqua profonda si presta meglio in quelle sistuazioni dove la temperatura può essere controllata, in particolare quella dell’acqua, per questo motivo si prestano bene ad essere utilizzati in indoor per la coltivazione di piante di medie o grosse dimensioni. Sono invece meno indicati nei luoghi molto caldi, a meno che non si utilizzi un sistema di regrigerazione della soluzione come un chiller.
A variant of deep water cultivation are the so-called floating systems, used mainly for the cultivation of salads, where the plants are housed on panels that float inside a tank. The roots grow immersed in the solution, which must be oxidized by movement pumps or aerators.
Have you seen our DWC systems? Starting from RDWC2!
Hydroponic Cultivation Technique NFT ( Nutrient Film Tecnique)
It is based on the principle that the root of the plant grows and develops in contact with the veil of water that flows continuously, in this way it is continually enriched by the gaseous exchange with the oxygen present in the air and the roots thus absorb the nutrients and the oxygen present in the solution.
Generally these systems are composed of perforated ducts, connected to a storage tank and a pump that constantly maintains the solution in circulation. It is important that the pump always works, in case of an arrest the solution would cease to reach the roots that could dry in a few hours.
This system lends itself well to different types of plants, from salads, to strawberries or larger plants, in fact it can be adapted the size of the channels and the distance of the holes, as well as the arrangement in space in particular when you want to exploit it vertically.
Hydroponic Cultivation Technique Dutch pots
It is a plastic vase, with a square or rectangular base, with a particular shape that allows its arrangement along a drain line that leads to an accumulation tank. From this, through a pump, the solution is distributed from above to each vessel, irrigates the roots and flows back through the discharge channel.
In Dutch pots the roots of plants grow in clay or perlite, materials with good draining power that let in them a lot of air and then oxygen. Through the drippers the plant receives the necessary water and nutrients. A symphonic present at the bottom of each vase makes sure that there is always a few centimeters of solution available, which in the event of a blackout would be a reserve giving the farmer more time to intervene.
Another big advantage is that they can be assembled in a personalized way, it is possible to vary the distance between them, they can be arranged on different floors or easily moved from one place to another (for example indoor can be transferred from the room of vegetative to that of flowering)
This system is quite easy to implement and lends itself very well to use in both domestic greenhouses and commercial greenhouses.
Hydroponic cultivation technique on coconut sheets
Coconut is a substrate with excellent characteristics for growing in hydroponics, has a good water retention, protects the root system and at the same time offers an excellent passage of air and therefore a better oxygenation.
Before being used for this purpose, the coconut fiber is washed and filtered, then dehydrated and compacted into blocks or slabs which make it convenient for storage. These before being reused must be rehydrated, at this point the fiber will absorb the water increasing in volume up to 5 times.
Being an inert substrate, therefore devoid of nutrients, these must be provided through a nutritive solution, which will be administered at intervals of time through drippers with a series of daily clutches.
Another big advantage is the possibility of being reused and being able to grow for 2 or 3 cycles with the same substrate.
The coconut slabs lend themselves to the cultivation of all the plants, and in particular they are very popular in the cultivations of strawberries. The plates can be arranged on channels or air supports that make the work of the grower easy as well as harvesting.
There is therefore no perfect system or better than others, depending on your needs and experience each farmer will find more functional a system than another.
We at Growrilla Hydroponics recommend starting with the type of crop that meets your needs and expectations. There is no perfect system or better than others, it is important to evaluate well the various aspects that may influence the choice of the system is to fully understand which technique will be able to best express the potential of your hydroponic guard.