Ebb and Flow Hydroponics
image by www.gtghydroponics.com
If you want to jumpstart the growth of your plants, a hydroponics system is the way to go. Plants are grown in water that is high in nutrient content. This, coupled with proper lighting, can help plants grow faster than they would in the ground. There are many types of hydroponics systems. This article describes a simple ebb and flow system.
Place the reservoir bucket under a durable table. The reservoir can be a trash can, a Rubbermaid container, or any other container made of plastic. It must be non-metal since metal oxidizes and can cause nutrient problems. Take an ebb and flow tray and place the fill and drain kit inside it. The ebb and flow tray must also be plastic and non-transparent. It must be strong enough to contain the plants, perlite, and water. Arrange the tray so the drain is located above the reservoir bucket. An ebb and flow hydroponics system can be located indoors, in a greenhouse or in the sun. Lighting must be controlled indoors. The system requires a convenient source of water.
Place the water pump inside the reservoir tank. This can be an aquarium power pump. Allow water to carry over into the ebb and flow tray. The timer on the pump should be set so water flows into the ebb and flow tray two to four times a day, depending on plant size.
Fill pots with perlite and include the plants. Position plants inside ebb and flow trays. Fill reservoir tank with sufficient water to fill ebb and flow tray. Never run flood cycles for more than half an hour each time as this may damage plant roots.
Add nutrients gradually. Nutrients and water should drench the perlite and overflow in each cycle to wash out salts that may build up. Monitor the pH level to suit the requirements of the plants.
Situate the growth lights above the hydroponics. Use timers to have the lights on for 12 hours, then off for 12 hours. Do this consistently until plants are in full bloom. Remember to change the nutrient solution every couple of weeks for optimum growth.