Hydroponic Drip System – All You Need To Know
Image by Jatuphon Buraphon from Pixabay
Hydroponics is a relatively simple and trouble-free method of growing plants. Farmers are also quickly adopting soilless plant growing technology. There are numerous hydroponic techniques; the system that is best for you is determined by space, light availability, water availability, and plant species. The hydroponic drip system is an efficient way to produce high-quality produce, and it is becoming popular among urban farmers who lack access to large amounts of land.
The drip system, one of the six hydroponic systems available, aids in the direct supply of water and nutrients to the plant. Drip irrigation reduces water loss by supplying water directly to the plant root system.
Hydroponic drip systems can be designed in a variety of ways, ranging from small to large systems. However, they are especially useful for larger plants that require a lot of root space. This is because you don’t need a lot of water to flood the system, and drip lines are simple to run over longer distances. Furthermore, using a larger amount of growing media for larger plants retains more moisture than smaller amounts, which is especially beneficial to large plants because it is more forgiving to the plants. Forgiving means that the plants are less sensitive to watering times, so they don’t stress out if they don’t get watered on time for whatever reason.
Rather than spraying or dripping water on the plants, the emitters secrete the liquid in a slow dripping motion. This ensures that the system uses as little water as possible. You have complete control over how much water and nutrients are supplied to the plants. The water is delivered to the plants via a network of feeder lines. This configuration is best suited for large-scale growing operations. This is why commercial operations prefer drip hydroponics to other systems.
Pros of a Drip Hydroponic System
The following are the main advantages of hydroponic drip systems that make it a popular growing method.
1.Drip hydroponics saves water
Because it only delivers the amount of water that the plants require, drip hydroponics is one of the most water-efficient hydroponic systems. This minimises water loss due to evaporation and overwatering.
2.Nutrient use efficiency in drip hydroponics
Drip hydroponics only delivers nutrients that the plant requires, reducing nutrient loss and costs.
3.Drip irrigation improves plant nutrient uptake
The nutrients are delivered directly to the root area of the plants, making it easier for the plants to absorb them and increase their nutrient availability.
4.Drip hydroponics is straightforward
Drip hydroponics installations can be simple or complex. A simple setup makes it possible for anyone to start a food garden.
5.Implementation is inexpensive
Drip hydroponics does necessitate some specialised equipment, but it is not prohibitively expensive. You can make a drip system out of household items with a little creativity. It is possible to implement technology in the system, but this will increase the initial setup cost.
6.Scalability is a feature of hydroponic drip systems
Most drip hydroponics systems can be implemented on a small or large scale. Many of the systems are modular, which allows you to start small and scale up as your experience or needs grow.
7.Drip hydroponics’ adaptability
Drip systems can be installed in horizontal or vertical growing formats, providing options for those with limited space.
8.Drip hydroponics provides a higher level of control
You can control the amount of water and nutrients delivered to each plant using drip hydroponics. Control can be either manual (controlling each dripper rate) or centralised (using timers).
Cons of Hydroponics Drip System
Before deciding whether a drip system is right for you, you should be aware of some potential problems and issues with drip hydroponics.
The following are the main disadvantages of a drip hydroponics installation.
1.Drip hydroponics pipe kinks
Drip hydroponics delivers nutrients to each plant via small diameter pipes. Because some of the tubing for these pipes is flexible and soft, there is a risk of kinks or pinching, which will restrict nutrient flow to the plant.
2.Drip hydroponic system blockages
Drippers or emitters, as well as narrow diameter pipes, can become clogged by obstacles or salts and minerals from nutrients. These obstructions can cause restricted flow to the plants. A total blockage will halt delivery, starving the plant and causing stress or even death.
3.Plants can quickly dry out
Because drip hydroponics only delivers the water and nutrients that the plant requires, a loss of water delivery due to a blockage, a pump failure, or an outage of electricity can cause your plants to die quickly. The nutrients they have absorbed will sustain them for a short time in the substrate, but it will quickly dry out.
4.Drip hydroponics has pressure issues
Gravity-fed drip hydroponics may require some tinkering to get the system’s pressure set up correctly to reach plants at the far end of the system.
Common drip hydroponic system types
Flood and Drain Systems:
These are also known as Ebb and Flow systems. They function by flooding the growing area with nutrient solution and then draining it away. This process is repeated on a regular basis, usually every few hours.
Drip irrigation is one of the most common hydroponic systems. They work by slowly dripping nutrient solution onto the plant roots.
Another popular type of hydroponic system is aeroponic systems. They work by suspending plant roots in the air and then misting them with nutrient solution.
How to Install a Do-It-Yourself Drip Hydroponic System
The various parts of a drip hydroponic system include
The container – To hold your plants and reservoir, you will need a container. The number of plants you want to grow will determine the size of the container.
A medium for growing – The plants will be raised in this. Rockwool, perlite, vermiculite, grow stones, and coco coir are examples of common growing media.
A nutrient solution – To feed your plants, you will need a nutrient solution. You can either make your own or buy an organic nutrient from a store.
A pump – The nutrient solution is moved throughout the system by a pump.
An air stone – The nutrient solution is aerated with an air stone to keep it from becoming stagnant.
A small drip hydroponic system can be set up quickly and easily by following these few steps:
- Decide where to put your system – It needs to be in a space with good ventilation and lots of sunlight or grow lights.
- Establish a reservoir – Both water and nutrients are kept in the reservoir. It’s crucial to pick a reservoir that can hold as many plants as you intend to grow. Additionally, holes must be drilled in the reservoir for the plants.
- Set up your growing space – This could be anything from a straightforward plastic tray to a more intricate PVC pipe system.
- Add nutrients and water to the reservoir – Make sure to fill the reservoir with distilled or filtered water. A nutrient solution must also be added to the water.
- Place an inert growing medium inside the growing space – The grow media will be used to cultivate the plants. Perlite or Hydroton clay balls are two examples. As soon as you’ve placed it, make sure it’s moist and in the growing area.
- Plant your seedlings or seeds – Your seeds or seedlings can be planted after the grow medium has been set up. Make sure to bury them in the nutrient solution by planting them deeply enough.
- Construct the pump – The system’s water and nutrients are moved around by the pump. It’s crucial to pick a pump that is the proper size for your system.
- Set a timer to activate and deactivate the pump as necessary.
- Install the tubing – Once the pump is installed, tubing must be used to connect it to the grow area. Use only food-grade tubing that is non-toxic and free of toxins.
- Add an air stone – The nutrient solution is aerated with the help of the air stone to keep it from becoming stagnant.
- Start the pump and see how your plants develop!
- Keep a close eye on the system to make sure the plants are receiving enough water and nutrients.
The Plants That Are Best For Hydroponic Drip Systems
In a drip hydroponic system, both large and small plants can be grown. You can use a variety of growing media, including rock wool, clay pellets, coconut coir, and gravel. Through its slow watering system, the drip hydroponic system helps to hydrate even the largest plants. The following plants work best in drip hydroponic systems:
How to Care for Your Hydroponic Drip System
It is crucial to monitor your drip hydroponic system after installation to make sure everything is operating as it should. Here are some pointers for keeping your system in good shape:
Keep an eye on the nutrient solution: Test it frequently to make sure the right levels are present.
As needed, add nutrients – If the nutrient solution runs out, you’ll need to add more.
To keep the pumps and filters from getting clogged, clean them frequently.
Check the pH – To make sure the pH level of the nutrient solution is within the correct range, you should check it frequently.
Use fresh water to flush the system – To avoid salt buildup, you should flush the system with fresh water on a biweekly basis.
Regularly check the plants for stress or disease symptoms, and if necessary, correct the situation. Make sure they are growing properly and in good health.
When the plants are finished growing, harvest them to begin the cycle over with new plants.
It is not difficult to maintain a drip hydroponic system, but it is crucial to monitor it regularly to make sure everything is working properly. You can make sure that your system functions effectively and generates healthy plants by paying attention to these suggestions.
A drip system is a hydroponics technique that is very flexible and practical. It is suitable for a variety of plants and herbs and gives you more control over the supply of nutrients and water.
Additionally, once properly configured, the system essentially runs unattended and autonomously.