Hydroponics is a clever system for automated watering of plants. There are a range of systems that use hydroponics and its benefits there to be seen for intensive growing in greenhouses & indoors.
Self watering kit and hydroponic kit includes
- Ebb & flow Self watering kits – temporary flooding the root zone
- Aqua Culture – Plants floating on water
- Drip flow systems – water pumped through drip feeders
- Wick system – based on capillary action
Each of the above self watering systems involves growing plants indoors in an inert root material. Inert means that the material has no chemical or nutritional value such as quartz or clay pebbles. These materials have have a neutral pH and can not hold or store nutrients or fertiliser. With Hydroponics; soil is not needed or used. There is no need for soil to hold nutrients, water, micro organisms or roots in place. With Hydroponics the inert material takes the place of the soil in terms of holding and anchoring the plant’s roots in place. Nutrients & water are instead feed to the plant’s roots intermitently using the systems listed above.
With the occasional & intermittent feeding and watering of the plant’s roots the plants can benefit from a regular and controlled food and water supply. This means that growers can tailor the growing conditions specifically to the plants individual needs and because the growing medium is inert the grower can determine the exact amount of nutrients the plants are receiving.
In these self watering systems water flows in and out of the growing medium at set times and set frequencies. When water is flooded into the inert growing medium it pushes out old and stale air from the root zone area. The air is replaced with essential water and nutrients until the water is absorbed by the plants or drains away. As the water drains away fresh air and oxygen enters the root zone area ensuring high oxygen levels. This fresh oxygen is essential for root respiration and growth. The flow rate and frequency is set to the specific plants needs and ensures the roots never dry out and never become too wet or starved of oxygen
One great advantage of not using soil as a growing medium is the sear weight of soil. With soil being excluded from the growing system weight is not an issue and growers can grow indoors without fear of structural damage to buildings. This has extended hydroponics into roof gardens, balconies and multistory growing rooms. Self watering systems are generally used in conjunction with clay pebbles which are extremely lightweight.
Another great advantage of a self watering & hydroponic system is the fact that no water or nutrients are wasted. Unlike outdoor growing or use of soil growing mediums where much of plant nutrients and food are washed down out of the soil, in self watering systems all the nutrients that are not absorbed returns back into the reservoir until the plant’s rooting area is flooded again. This saves on both expensive water charges and costly fertiliser bills
Lastly these self watering kits can run fully automated for days or even weeks (depending on the size of your reservoir) meaning that you can easily grow plants indoors without regular maintenance. Growing Tomatoes, courgettes or other warm climate plants is made easy with feeding and watering taking place without any intervention allowing you go away on holidays or tend to other gardening tasks