Hydroponic gardening offers a wide array of benefits. By choosing to garden without soil, your plants can grow faster. Plus, it can save you both space and water. Understanding the various hydroponic grow systems with their different techniques will allow you to choose the option that works best for you.
Deep Water Culture systems are some of the most common. Often referred to as DWC, the systems are easy to use. It involves suspending a plant’s roots in a nutrient-rich water solution. An air pump oxygenates the water. In place of soil, you use a growing medium such as Vermiculite. Due to the use of an air pump, people sometimes call this system bubbleponics.
The best plants for the DWC system: a number of annual vegetables, such as chili peppers and tomatoes. Lettuce is another popular option.
The Nutrient Film Technique involves a film that goes across the tank, preventing the roots from completely submerging in the water. A water channel will allow nutrient-rich water to flow through the plant’s roots periodically. The plants stand in a water channel, often using net pots.
The best plants for the NFT system: green, leafy plants, including basil (and other herbs) and cucumber plants.
You can encounter a number of variations in hydroponic grow systems. We list some of the most common ones below. While hydroponics focus on water-based systems, keep in mind that geoponics
Aquaponics takes the idea of hydroponics and makes it more sustainable. There’s more water in the system, allowing for the introduction of aquatic life, including fish and snails. Their waste provides organic hydroponic nutrients to all of the growing plants. The plants help to clean the water, too, so there’s a symbiotic relationship forming inside of the ecosystem. Teachers use the systems commonly to educate students about sustainability and ecosystems. You can start with aquaponics by combining a fish tank with a hydroponic aquarium.
The best plants for an aquaponic grow system: many different plants can thrive in an aquaponics system. If you have a properly stocked and well-established system, you can use plants that have higher nutritional demands. This includes cauliflower, broccoli, beans, squash, peas, peppers, and tomatoes.
An aeroponic system is similar to NFT because the roots are suspended in the air rather than the roots being fully submerged. The main difference is that the root zone is misted with a nutrient solution regularly instead of using a water channel.
The best plants for aeroponics: strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes, mint, and basil.
Anthroponics is an organic system of hydroponics, utilizing human waste, including urine, to provide the nutrient source to the plants. The solutions of urine, which are commonly stored over extended periods of time, are pushed through a biofilter before being introduced to the system. The plants, then, absorb the water, cleaning the water at the same time. It has also been given the nickname, ‘peeponics.’
The best plants for Anthroponics: tomatoes, though it’s also possible to use leafy, green plants.
Cocoponics is a cross between hydroponics and geoponics. The plants grow in coco (coconut peat) with the help of hydroponics.
The best plants for Cocoponics: Cannabis is the most successful plant that has been tested using this system.
To learn more about other aspects of hydroponic gardening, see the following sections of our guide.