Another common question is whether a single or a modular system should be implemented. Undoubtedly, it is safer, to begin with a singular system, in order to keep things simple until you increase your confidence. Once you have experience with the operation and maintenance of a deep water culture hydroponics system, you can go for a modular system to scale up your cultivation.
Another question that is quite common is how often growers need to change the nutrient solution. The answer to this question is subjective, as it depends on the plant type, stage of growth and the size of the water reservoir. In any case, a good guide is that a nutrient solution should be changed a minimum of every two to three weeks. Some planters may choose to re-adjust the nutrient balance of the existing solution instead of replacing it. This, however, is more difficult to control and may not give the desired results.
For larger plants with longer roots, it is more acceptable to submerge only part of the root structure in the nutrient solution, as the plant will still be able to obtain an optimal quantity of water and nutrients.
Regular monitoring and adjustment of the pH and PPM/EC of the nutrient solution is necessary to ensure that plants are able to grow to their full potential. Fluctuations outside the desired ranges can lead to nutrient lockout, deficiency or toxicity, which can lead to plant stress or death. The pH of the nutrient solution should typically be maintained between 5.5 and 6.5. During vegetative growth, it is better for the pH to be on the higher end of this range, whereas it needs to be on the lower end of the range during flowering stages.
Next make up your nutrient solution and add it to the reservoir.
As mentioned earlier, leaving an exposed portion of the roots on top of the water surface is healthy for plant growth to reduce the risk of root rot. It also allows a margin of safety to prevent the stems from becoming submerged. Stems and foliage will not tolerate even well oxygenated water like the roots are able to.
Deep water culture hydroponics provides an efficient and sustainable way to grow a large variety of plants that can be used for food in the kitchen, or for commercial production by food producers.
The temperature of the water reservoir is an important aspect of a deep water culture system. In general, the optimum temperature needs to be between 60°F (16 ° C) and 68°F (20 ° C), to make sure your plants remain healthy and able to absorb an optimal quantity of oxygen and nutrients. A higher temperature will reduce the amount of dissolved oxygen available in the water, causing plant roots to be at risk of drowning, even if it is being actively oxygenated. A decrease in temperature may trigger the plant into seasonal changes, negatively impacting the desired growth.
A good way of suspending the grow nets or baskets is to cut a sheet of Styrofoam to the size of the top of the reservoir. You can then cut holes in this so that the net pots sit securely in these holes.
What Is Deep Water Culture Hydroponics? Deep water culture hydroponics is a method of growing plants where the roots are suspended in an actively oxygenated solution of water and nutrients,
You can have many buckets/containers, and they must be connected the big central reservoir.
The most significant advantages are that you can scale big, and you only have to add water, oxygenate, and calibrate the central reservoir. Water and nutrients that feed the plants will be circulated from one bucket to another.
The easiest method you can start with a first Deep Water Culture is to get a full system kit online. Here is a great one.
The air pump is connected to the airstone with an airline and is used to provide the air volume. The airstone is made of rock-like material and has small pores which create small bubbles that will rise to the top of the water. You can also use a soaker hose, which creates smaller bubbles than airstones.
Typically, you should grow 1-3 plants per bucket. More than that and it can bring a threat of the roots clogging the air stone, and less oxygen absorbed per plant.
While in other systems, plant roots are hung, exposed in the air and are watered continuously, in the deep water culture, they are sunk in the water which has been oxygenated 24/7.
This video shows you how falling water looks like.
- Accelerated growth thanks to superior uptake of nutrients and oxygen from the nutrient solution. For example, you can grow lettuce and harvest in 30 days instead of 60 in soil
- Aerating the roots improves plants’ absorption and increase cell growth rate within the plants
- Because the plants are submerged in deep water culture nutrients, there’s no need for much fertilizer
- Once you set it up, it requires little maintenance. There are no nozzles, feeder lines or water pumps to clog
- Very little moving parts and assembly
I don’t want to sound general, but that does depend on the type of system used, its size, kinds of plants grown, their growing phase.
Deep Water Culture (DWC) is considered the purest form of Hydroponics. Though the concept is simple, there are many ways to use and build the deep water culture using different materials.