The Future of Hydroponics Through Technology

Oct 20, 14 The Future of Hydroponics Through Technology

Throughout the years, NASA has developed wonders that have helped in our daily lives.  Whether it’s the aluminum foil used in cooking, titanium frames for eyeglasses, or the advancements in aerodynamics that have reduced fuel costs in trucking, NASA’s quest for reaching the stars has made our daily lives easier.  As part of their long term goals, NASA looks to farming as a way to save money on cargo loads to the International Space Station (ISS) and as a way to make a more self-sufficient station in space.  This race to the moon, Mars, and the frontier of space promises even more advancements in a technology that dates back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

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Plastic or Fabric: Which Plant Pot is Better for You?

Oct 06, 14 Plastic or Fabric:  Which Plant Pot is Better for You?

Setting up a new hydroponics garden can leave you with the grocery store question of “paper or plastic,” although it’s actually a question of what kind of pot you should use for your plants.  Yes, fabric and plastic pots are just containers to hold whatever grow medium or soil you want to use, but the pot you choose has a direct effect on the health and well-being of your plants.  Knowing the pros and cons of each pot material and how they affect your plants can make a world of difference depending on your plant’s needs and growing environment.

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Ebb & Flow Hydroponic Systems

Sep 22, 14 Ebb & Flow Hydroponic Systems

A look back has seen us cover hydroponics systems that are either simple or advanced.  Let’s add a nice middle ground to the mix.  Ebb and Flow systems are simple, reliable, and low cost but require a little more work and maintenance than a drip system does.

Ebb and flow systems (or flood drain systems) are simple setups that use a flood and drain system to keep the growing medium moist.  Since the water pump does not run constantly, these systems are quieter and consume less power than nutrient film or direct water systems.  The trade-off is that water use is less efficient than in other systems.  Since the roots are not in constant contact with the solution, there is more water waste here than in other systems – which can, of course, be mitigated by recycling your water.  A growing medium is also required, which means regular cleaning and inspection for fungus or disease is necessary – this becomes an intensive task since the roots of every plant in the system tend to interweave.  Even so, the system is cost effective and perfect for short plants or leafy vegetables.  Ebb and flow systems are also really easy to build.

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How to Set Up a Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) System

Sep 08, 14 How to Set Up a Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) System

Drip and DWC systems are good options for beginners, but advanced growers may want a more formalized system for growing crops regularly. For larger scale projects, let’s take a look at the Nutrient Film Technique.  NFT systems use a very shallow stream of water and dissolved nutrients flowing over the roots of your plants to feed and water them.  The partially exposed roots and constant moving water keeps them oxygenated as well .  This shallow stream is little more than a film of water flowing via gravity down to the bottom of the channel, which gives the technique its name.

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Direct Water Culture (DWC) and You

Aug 25, 14 Direct Water Culture (DWC) and You

So you’ve taken a look at how to set up a drip irrigation system and decided that it’s not for you.  Well the good news is that there are plenty more hydroponics systems for you to experiment with.  So let’s talk about direct water culture (DWC) today.  DWC systems – also known as deep water culture systems – submerge the roots of your plants in a nutrient solution.  This sounds, at first, like a bad idea since you can overwater plants, but that’s where the all-important aeration component comes into play.  Aeration is simply the act of adding oxygen to the water to sustain the roots.  The way you aerate your system defines the type of DWC it is, whether you use a bucket reservoir, prefer bubbleponics, or enjoy a re-circulation system.

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How to Set Up a Drip Irrigation System

Aug 11, 14 How to Set Up a Drip Irrigation System

Let’s talk about drip systems.  With so many hydro systems available, why should you pick a drip system over a nutrient film or ebb and flow system?  Simplicity is one reason.  A drip system is really simple to set up and has been used in outdoor gardens and larger irrigation systems for a long time while film and ebb and flow systems require more careful monitoring and can be tricky to set up properly.  The second reason is water conservation.  When you’re building a hydro system outside, the run-off water can be returned to the soil cycle instead of down the drain like with indoor setups.  A drip system also carefully releases just enough nutrient solution to keep your plants healthy, so there isn’t any wasted water.  Other hydro systems use a lot of constantly flowing water to prevent stagnation.  With a drip system, you can even give specific amounts of nutrients to different types of plants on the same line.  Let me show you how easy it really is to set up a drip system.

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