Drip Hydroponic System – The most popular hydroponic system

Drip Hydroponic System – The most popular hydroponic system
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A drip hydroponic system uses a pump for feeding your plants with water and nutrients on a regular basis. This system makes use of small emitters for dripping the solution onto the plants. It is appropriate for use in outdoor gardens for delivering nutrients, and water to individual plants. The ease of setup and usage makes drip systems the most popularly used systems all over the world. They are a highly effective and versatile concept of a hydroponic system. These systems can be designed in a multitude of ways. Though they work efficiently for both smaller and larger spaces, they are very useful for large-sized plants that take up immense root space.

How to setup Drip Hydroponic System?

The best feature of a drip hydroponic system is that it is very flexible. It has the ability to scale well in accordance with the complexity and size of the operation. 

Basic elements for a basic Drip Hydroponic System:

  1. Drip Emitters: Based on how many plants you want to grow; you need to purchase a separate emitter for each plant. These emitters are available at hydroponic suppliers and garden centers. They offer extra control over the water movement.
  2. Thin Tubing: This tube is ideal for a drip emitter. You can easily get it from the market.
  3. PVC Tubing: These are the main lines that connect the reservoir water pump and the emitters. All the nutrients and water flows between the two points. The number of tubes, and the length of the tubes may vary on the basis of the complexity and the size of the setup. 
  4. A standard submersible water pump
  5. A garden timer
  6. A tray to collect all the excess water in the pot 
  7. A large-sized bin that will serve the purpose of a reservoir

Process for setting up Drip Hydroponic System:

  1. You need to begin by placing the pots inside the tray. 
  2. Now place the setup in a way that the run-off drains inside the reservoir. 
  3. For the gravitational force to work in this process, you need to leave a couple of inches above the reservoir.
  4. Now connect the pump power source to the timer and set it to execute daily for five minutes three times a day. 

How does Drip Hydroponic System Works?

The aerated and nutrient-rich reservoir pumps solution through a network of tubes to individual plants in a hydroponic drip system. This solution is steadily dripped into the growing media around the root system, keeping the plants well-nourished and damp. It works well with soil and growing media. The system develops water efficiency in the farming of crops. In place of spraying water to the plants, the system uses a slow dripping action to secrete the liquid. In this way, it ensures that the system uses very less amount of water. 

When using this system, you enjoy greater control over the nutrients and water that are supplied to the plants. A drip hydroponic system makes use of a network of feeder lines for delivering the water to the plants. This type of setup is best suited for farming operations that are carried out on a large scale. Due to which, drip hydroponics is superior to other commercial operations.

The system uses separate pots to water plants. A network tube is used that connects the reservoir to the plants. The pressure is applied to the water supply by way of a gravity-based system or a regular water pump system. There is one dedicated drip emitter for each plant.  

This emitter regulates the movement of water and makes the system more versatile. Based on the requirements, different flow levels can be specified for different plants so that the growing media gets adequate time to breathe in between flows. All drip systems make use of a timer system for regulating the movement of nutrients and water to the plants. These systems have a high level of automation. At the start, it may require a considerable amount of effort and planning, but once the drip lines are carefully installed, the entire system runs without any assistance. 

There are two ways in which the drip hydroponic system is installed:

  • Recovery or Recirculating Systems – The excess water is pumped from the growth bed back into the reservoir. This method is more common for smaller, at-home growers.
  • Non-Circulating or Non-Recovery System – The excess water drains out from the growing media in non-recovery structures and runs to waste.This is more common among commercial growers.Through non-recovery drip systems can sound inefficient, the use of water by large-scale cultivars is very conservative.

You will need to be attuned to changes in the pH of the nutrient solution while you are raising plants in a recovery drip system. Plants will deplete the solution’s nutrient content as well as change the pH balance, so rather than they will require in a non-recovery environment, the grower would need to track and modify the solution reservoir. Growing media may also become oversaturated with nutrients, so they need to be regularly cleaned and replaced.

Plants to grow using the Drip Hydroponic System

Drip systems are most suited for large-sized plants that need larger growing media and can easily store high amounts of moisture for extended periods. The following plants can grow using a hydroponic drip system –

LettuceRadishes
OnionsPeas
TomatoesCucumbers
MelonsZucchini
LeeksStrawberries
Pumpkins
List of plants to grow using the Drip Hydroponic System

Advantages of the Drip Hydroponic System:

Flexibility: Provides additional control over nutrient and water supply. This is a flexible system that you can scale based on your needs.The possibilities of system failure are very low.

Plant choices: A variety of plants can be grown with this system and hence one of the most commonly used hydroponic systems commercially.

Disadvantages of the Drip Hydroponic System:

Complex: The set up and working can be complex for home growers when compared to other systems.

Cost and Maintenance:The cost of maintenance is high especially for reservoir water. There can be some wastage if you use a non-recovery drip irrigation system. The maintenance in case of non recovery systems are high and time consuming. Both the systems require regular flushing and cleaning.

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