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Hydroponics system using no medium

Posted by planter_geek 8 (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 11, 08 at 20:14

I've been reading here about the different types of hydroponics systems. I had been looking for the different hydroponic system types on google. I've also read a lot of the HowtoHydroponics book that was suggested by another member.

The N.F.T. (Nutrient Film Technique) and the EBB AND FLOW
(FLOOD AND DRAIN) look most appealing to me. From doing a little research on this forum and the internet, it seems that N.F.T. is the most common type and possibly the best type of hydroponics. I read this.

"There is usually no growing medium used other than air, which saves the expense of replacing the growing medium after every crop. Normally the plant is supported in a small plastic basket with the roots dangling into the nutrient solution."

I've never seen this type of system NOT using a medium, and wonder what makes it possible. Wouldn't a medium make it more stable, and how is it possible to not have one? Do most people use one or not? Also I read that the

2. EBB AND FLOW (FLOOD AND DRAIN) <- Is this what people often call the flood system? What is EBB? Why would it have problems (according to the website) with power outages and not the N.F.T. type?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Hydroponics system using no medium

I use a modified aeroponics/ DWC system and the only reasons I use medium is to hold the plants upright when they're little and to keep water from splashing out the holes.
That's why I say you can grow anything in a 2" net pot.

RE: Hydroponics system using no medium

  • Posted by egnilk66 Southern California (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 17, 08 at 12:44

I think the medium also gives the plants something to hold they're not falling out of their pots.

RE: Hydroponics system using no medium

In many hydroponic applications the medium is mostly a method of supporting the plant's weight. It often functions as a way of retaining nutrient solution, but in some applications this is considered a "bonus".

As long as there's a way to support the crown of the plant, keeping it stable, there isn't any need for a medium.

In my DWC system the medium is there just to support the plant. The roots grow down into the solution and that's where they get all the food and water they need. Anything stored in the medium isn't important once the plants are big enough.

In NFT systems in particular, and often in other applications, the plants are supported by neoprene collars. These are basically little neoprene disks with a cut from the side to the center so that it can fit around the crown of the plant like a skirt. This collar is slightly larger than the hole the plant is lowered into, so it holds the plant in place.

Also, pretty much every hydroponic system is going to have problems with power outages. Aeroponic systems and NFT are especially vulnerable. Ebb and Flow can go a long time, particularly if the power goes out right after a flood cycle. DWC can probably go the longest without power, but it still won't go forever.

Only Autopots and wick hydroponics can really run without power for long (both require no electricity at all).

RE: Hydroponics system using no medium

I'd imagine its possible to use 2 reservoir and drip method to minimize electricity. You can lift up the full reservoir and it drains slowly to the bottom one and when its almost empty switch them. Takes a little effort but it can possibly go a few days without touching it. If you don't plan on using much electricity a ups could run them a long time if the power goes off. I've seen drip systems saying they only have a 3w pump that goes off on a timer so its not even full time.

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