Types of Hydroponic Systems For First Timers

Posted on: 21 September 2015

Gardening is both a hobby and an art form, and those who have been at it for awhile understand that incorporating new methods helps you achieve better results. If you've decided to test your green thumb, you may want to consider using hydroponics as you start out. Hydroponics is a process in which you cultivate plants without using soil of any kind. Here are the types of hydroponics that are most common to know before heading out to the hydroponic store.


This system is set up with a bottom tank that is filled with nutrients and a top level that has your plants which are anchored in sand or pebbles rather than in soil. The bottom tank features a pump that triggers the flow of nutrients into the top level that holds the plants and works on a timer so that your plants are not overfed. The pump is attached to a hose that works on a drip system to feed your plants, which allows any excess nutrients to drain back into the bottom tank for reuse. If you choose this system, you have to watch your plants during the drip process to make sure that each one is getting the proper amount of nutrients. You will also need to buy a small device at the nursery that lets you test the pH balance of your plants to ensure they are at the correct level for whatever type of plant you are growing.


With the water culture hydroponics system, your plants are anchored in a container and the roots float in water that has a blend of nutrients which receive a constant supply of oxygen from an air pump. This type of hydroponics is best utilized when you want to grow lettuce or salad leaves as they need the most water to grow. A water culture system typically features tanks similar in size and build to aquariums.


With the wick system, your plants are placed in a top tray and a tank is set up below them with two wicks that send a flow of nutrients into the tray. Unlike the the recovery drip system, the wick system doesn't require a timer to trigger the nutrient flow because the wicks are so tiny that the amount of nutrient solution that is sent to the tray that holds your plants is small enough that a constant flow is necessary to ensure adequate growth. You would select the wick system if you are growing smaller plants that don't require a lot of nutrients to grow and thrive.