Ebb and Flow hydroponic systems or reservoir systems are one of the easiest to build and maintain. Simplicity and low cost in setting up make it ideal for home hobbyists. Basic setup consists of a growing tray for plants in containers. Usually used with pebbles, perlite and rockwool gardening mediums. Reservoirs filled with water and hydroponic nutrient solutions are placed under the growing medium. A timer controls the amount of water pumped back into the growing tray. The draining action helps provide a steady flow of oxygen to the plants roots. An overflow drain is installed to regulate water height and avoid overflow.
Building Ebb and Flow Hydroponic System
The following hydroponic supplies are required for an Ebb and Flow hydroponic system
Root protection requires a growing light that shields your roots from light. Plastics are preferred to metals and wood due to its light weight and durability. A thorough check of the growing medium is required to make sure that water drainage is complete. Root rot, pests problems and molds are the main problems encountered by improper drainage.
Any non-metallic plant pot with drainage holes will suffice for a simple ebb and flow system.
Ebb and flow systems need no special type of growing medium. Clay pebbles (sometimes called grow rocks) are usually used, they don’t need to be mixed with other mediums. Due to frequent flooding cycles, it is advised that water retention be avoided.
Support for the tray suspended above the reservoir is needed. The setup of the indoor system would dictate if a simple table or milk tray, or a customized support is required. Something sturdy is what you need for supporting the full weight of your setup. Always include the weight of the water and nutrients in planning. Taking note the mature size and weight of the plants should also be considered. Changing the supports would present an impossible if not very difficult scenario once the plants reach their full growth size.
Any large plastic can be used as a reservoir (rubber tubs and trash cans are also ideal). Rust is the main problem with metal containers.
Two drains are required for your garden, a drain for the water to return to the reservoir and one for the overflow drain. Fill pipes also serve as a drain pipe, allowing it to run up the same way it came down. Overflow pipes should be designed at the desired maximum level of water for the indoor hydroponic garden system. Be sure that the overflow pipe is large enough to accommodate the amount of water to be pumped out of your grow space. Ideally a figure of 125% to 135% of the amount is desired. This assures a optimum flow of nutrients for the growing medium and avoids salt and mineral to buildup.
Pump size depends on the indoor hydroponic systems needs. The amount of water and distance are factors to be considered for the size of the pumps. Aquarium pumps can be used for most small scale systems.
The type and cost of timers depends on the specific setup of your gardens need. Hobbyists usually employing a single time schedule can work with a cheap timer readily available at a Home Depot or Lowe’s type store. Larger more sophisticated timers are needed for advance or large scale ebb and flow systems this allows control for more than one section at a time.
Flexible Plastic Tubing
Transparent flexible tubing’s should be avoided to prevent algae build up. Ordinary flexible tubing’s may also be used.
Care of Ebb and Flow Hydroponic Systems or reservoir systems are one of the easiest to build and maintain. Simplicity and low cost in setting up make it ideal for home hobbyists. Basic setup consists of a growing tray for plants in containers. Usually used with pebbles, perlite and rockwool gardening mediums. Reservoirs filled with water and hydroponic nutrient solutions are placed under the growing medium. A timer controls the amount of water pumped back into the growing tray. The draining action helps provide a steady flow of oxygen to the plants roots. An overflow drain is installed to regulate water height and avoid overflow.
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