Systems by Growing Method
A hydroponic system contains your plants and delivers water and nutrient solution to the roots. Delivery of the nutrient solution is typically provided by either a nutrient film (NFT), an ebb and flood, dripper emitters, misted chamber (aeroponics) or circulated through a deep water culture.
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Progrow sell hydroponic systems, spares and accessories for all the common and well proven types of Hydroponic horticulture. One of your first considerations when choosing a hydroponic system will be which method of growing do i employ? Factors for this decision may be determined by the space you have or which type of growing media you want to use. All the Hydroponic systems Progrow sell will give you improved yield over that of soil grown plants, and of course watering of your crop is largely automated providing all the elements the plant needs for optimum growth at each watering. A hydroponic system is the logical solution to growing indoors under lights over soil grown plants yields typically 3x that of soil grown plants.
Nutrient Film Technique
Nutrient Film technique or more commonly NFT depending on your source is attributed as being discovered by Dr. Alan Zhang in china in the 1920s or as reported by Time magazine in 1937; “Last week a new science was given a new name. Hydroponics, by its foremost U. S. practitioner, Dr. William Frederick Gericke of the University of California.” Time Magazine, March 3, 1937. Professor Gericke conducted many experiments growing plants without soil and also recorded some wonderful time-lapse photography of his plants. Dr Alan Cooper of the Glasshouse crops research station and author of ‘The ABC of NFT’ is another name attributed to the development of Hydroponics and more specifically Nutrient film technique. A well designed Nutrient Film Technique system must have the correct channel slope, the right flow rate and the right channel length. Manufacturers such as Nutriculture have spent many years perfecting their systems to meet optimum performance.
So how does an N.F.T system work? Very simply as the name suggests a thin film of nutrient solution is pumped from a reservoir down a channel or ‘table’, plants are placed in the channel or table typically in rockwool blocks. the nutrient solution is then returned to the reservoir tank to be re-circulated. Spreader matting is placed in the channel or on the table to help the spread of nutrient solution and to aid root growth, the system is completed by a top sheet providing a dark chamber for root growth and passage of fresh air. Progrow have sold Nutriculture’s well known Grow tank (GT) systems since our inception, they are very simple to set up and use meaning they are a great introduction to the world of Hydroponics for the novice indoor gardener. Nutrient Film Technique provides rapid plant growth because of the good availability of oxygen and nutrient solution to the roots, with good management of the p.H and E.C and regular reservoir tank changes N.F.T can give excellent results, meaning higher yields of high-quality produce and a longer period of cropping. Nutriculture’s Grow Tanks and N.F.T systems in general are low to the ground meaning they are well suited where space is an issue, they are made of rigid plastic designed for the harsh environment of an indoor grow room.
The systems we list here are hobby Aeroponics systems, Aeroponics by definition provides a high pressure mist to the root zone, the roots of the plant are suspended in this misted chamber with little or no media. High pressure emitters for this type of system are incredibly expensive and not viable for the hobby market, they also require expensive high pressure pumps, pipe work and fittings. Our Aeroponics systems section contains systems from Nutriculture and General Hydroponics Europe (GHE), these systems work on a similar principal to aeroponics but each uses a different method. General Hydroponics Europe have made their excellent Aeroflo systems for many years, plants are suspended in channels rich in highly oxygenated nutrient solution. GHE achieve this by pumping water at high pressure into the chambers at intervals between the plants, it is then returned to the reservoir tank to be recirculated. These systems are incredibly well made and provide explosive plant growth. Nutriculture’s Amazon system ‘mists’ the roots with emitters that sit in a chamber where the roots are suspended, again providing explosive growth and of course very little waste due to the lack of growth media.
Ebb and Flood
The principles of ‘Ebb and Flood’ also go back as far as mans history much the same as the use of Nutrient Film Technique, plants are grown in soilless media, most often expanded clay pebbles. The plants stand on a table or chamber that is periodically flooded to a high fill level and then drained back to the reservoir tank, flooding the table approx every 3-4 hours regulated by a timer. Nutriculture provide four sizes of Ebb and flood system, the system consists of a reservoir tank and ‘grow chamber’ with delivery pump and fittings to provide the inlet and high fill level drain. The grow chamber can be filled with clay pebbles for single large specimen plants or plants can be grown in individual pots and placed on the chamber, ideal for smaller plants. As with N.F.T an Ebb and flood system provides a large amount of fresh air to the roots with the exchange of nutrient solution at each ebb and flood. These systems have been used for decades of reliable use, Nutriculture themselves holding the record for the ‘worlds longest tomato plant’ grown in an Ebb and flood system. The IWS modular grow system takes the principle of ebb and flood a step further with their system of individual modules for each plant, plants are planted into large net pots with clay pebbles and sit in the module, the pots are then flooded via a system of pipework from a reservoir tank, reversing the pumping process to drain the nutrient back to the reservoir. This process is handled by the IWS ‘Brain’ which utilises float switches to ensure the correct flood level and time. These modular systems work well for medium to larger indoor grow rooms and are very adaptable, Progrow supply all spares and accessories for the IWS system.
Drip Irrigation Systems
Drip irrigation systems provide regular timed delivery of nutrient solution to the root zone from a reservoir tank through a balanced system of pipework and dripper line to an emitter or dripper stake. This type of irrigation provides the user with the ability to apply incredibly specific waterings and application of nutrient making it one of the most productive methods of growing plants hydroponically. Nutriculture manufacture the Atami Wilma dripper system, this versatile system can be used with rockwool or clay pebbles, nutrient solution is delivered to each plant from the reservoir tank via a stake emitter providing even and precise watering to each plant. Recognising the efficiency and results of Drip Irrigation Progrow have developed the ‘Run To Anywhere’ System (‘RTA system’), this is an extremely productive and reliable dripper system. Most large scale commercial Hydroponic production of plants will use ‘run to waste’ as their preferred method as it provides the best results with the best use of water and nutrient solution with less waste than previous mentioned methods. The RTA system combines the benefits of precise even watering with the productivity of run to waste as a system of growing. Nutrient solution is applied to the plants by the ’Nutrimatic’ intelligent timer and delivered evenly through a Top-spin dripper manifold, having run through the growing media it is collected in an ‘RTA tray’ where it drains to waste or a reservoir tank. The RTA system is provided with the excellent airpot but can be used with any normal pot, Air-pots grow the perfect plant for indoor environments, typically compact, sturdy and well branched to support fruit and flowers, this system is a particular favourite of ours for customers looking for the optimum method of growing hydroponically. The RTA system is very adaptable meaning you can grow from one plant to 36, we also list our ‘Topspin dripper kits’ which provide all the equipment you will need from pump to dripper to provide up to 96 plants with evenly distributed drip cycles. Progrow are experts in Drip irrigation, we provide all the spare parts and accessories for drip irrigation systems along with the knowledge to ensure the best system for you should you need some help. Last but not least in this section we must mention two more systems from General hydroponics Europe, the Waterfarm and Aquafarm dripper system. These excellent dripper systems are best suited for single plants, nutrient solution is delivered from a reservoir tank through a ‘drip ring’, this highly oxygenated nutrient solution passes through the clay pebble growing media back into the reservoir to re-circulate. Progrow have sold many Aquafarms and waterfarms over the years, including them in our first starter kit, they are an excellent system for those growing on a small scale or for the first time.
Progrow have decades of experience helping customers choose the right system for them and also ensure they able to use it to obtain the best results, we pride ourselves on our professional approach to the service we provide and are on hand to help you choose the correct hydroponic system.