NFT Hydroponic System: Hugely popular home hydroponic System

NFT Hydroponic System: Hugely popular home hydroponic System
NFT Hydroponic System
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The NFT Hydroponic System has a simple design that makes it hugely popular among home hydroponic growers. These systems are ideal for cultivating quick growing and small-sized plants that include varieties of lettuce, baby greens, strawberries, mustard greens, oriental vegetables, herbs, and kales. It can be designed in several ways. Whatever be the design, one thing common in all these systems is that they have a shallow nutrient solution.The system is a lot easier to install and operate. It is perfect to grow quick-growing plants and can be used for cultivation which requires a few weeks.

How To Set Up NFT Hydroponic System?

The Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) hydroponic system is a type of a continuously flowing system that uses water pumps for delivering the nutrients to plants.It is a recirculating system It is an active system that uses moving parts for its function. For the setup of this familiar and versatile hydroponic system, you would need several parts that include:

  • A water reservoir to store the nutrient solution
  • Tubes for the proper distribution of water between the NFT growing tubes and the nutrient pump
  • A nutrient pump
  • A channel to help in the growth of the plants. It is made using water-tight materials that include a PVC pipe, a round tube and a plastic film. 
  • Net pots to store growing media and plants. This will help begin seedlings in it.
  • A return system in the form of a channel or a tube to direct the used nutrient solution to the water reservoir
  • An Air pump
NFT Hydroponic System
NFT Hydroponic System

The Nutrient Film Technique hydroponic system has two primary components as the channel or grows tray and the water reservoir that needs nutrients and water. Place the net pots containing the growing media in this grow tray. It will help retain nutrients from the solution and hold the plants.

The placement of the grow tray is also important. Place it at an angle to allow the water flow to flow down in the direction of the nutrient return pipe. This will guide all the excess nutrient solution to another tube or channel from where it gets recirculated via the system.

Make holes on the PVC pipe to fit the seedlings, and net pots.

There are two different ways to place seedlings:

  1. Place them into the holes of the channel or PVC pipe
  2. Put seedlings directly into net pots to achieve greater stability and then place them inside the holes.

If you wish to grow an additional twenty to twenty-five plants of a size of lettuce, then you would need to add a gallon of water in it. To be on a safer side, it is advised to have a little more volume capacity compared to what is required.

NFT hydroponic system
NFT Hydroponic System

Oregon State University, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons (Image Cropped)

  • Nutrient film technique (NFT) systems hang plants over a pool of nutrient solution that runs constantly and washes over the ends of the root systems of the plant.
  • The channels containing the plants are tipped before flowing into the reservoir below, allowing water to flow down the length of the growth tray.
  • The water in the tank is then aerated by means of an air pump and an air stone.
  • Then, a water pump pumps the water rich in nutrients out of the river and back to the top of the pipe.
  • The roots of the plants in an NFT system are not submerged in water, unlike deep water culture hydroponics. The stream (or “film”) just flows over the ends of its roots instead. The tips of the roots will wick the moisture up into the plant, while plenty of access to oxygen is provided to the exposed root system.
  • The channels’ bottoms are grooved, so the shallow film will quickly run over the root tips. It often keeps the water from pooling against the root systems or damming up. Since water is continually recycled by nutrient film technology systems, it is prudent to drain the reservoir and replenish the nutrient solution every week or so. This guarantees ample feed is supplied to your plants. NFT channels must be angled to a slope.

Which Plants To Grow using NFT Hydroponic System?

The Nutrient Film Technique hydroponic system is ideal for a specific type of plant that is lightweight and grows fast. The NFT system is ideal for lettuces and other similar small-sized plants that get harvested quickly. Using it, people have cultivated perennial plants such as strawberries in commercial production and achieved a fabulous outcome.

The Nutrient Film Technique system isn’t ideal to cultivate bulky crops that need a lot of support. This is because the roots of the plant aren’t in a medium to effectively hold too much weight. For cultivating squash or tomatoes using this system, you would need a self-standing trellis system. 

Advantages of NFT Hydroponic System:

  1. Easy to maintain the plants: The Nutrient Film Technique hydroponic system is quite simple for the inspection of roots. It can easily figure out any sign of a disease in the plant, or inadequacy of feed due to scarcity of medium.With the Nutrient Film Technique, the roots of the plant can easily maintain an even conductivity and pH. This happens due to regular feeding that prevents the deposition of salt.The NFT system is quite convenient to disinfect hardware and roots when compared to other types of systems.
  1. Cheap and affordable:   This technique requires low consumption of nutrients and water. It is an environment-friendly technique that helps reduce the chances of contamination in groundwater.You can easily avoid issues related to cost, disposal and supply. This is not the case in media-based systems

Disadvantages of NFT Hydroponic System:

  1. Limits the type of plants grown:Not appropriate to cultivate plants that have large-sized tap-root systems. The roots of fast-growing plants can cause a blockage in the channels
  2. Sensitive to changes in supply and environment:If the movement of nutrient solution pauses, then it can cause the roots to get dried fast.Being exposed to intense sunlight, can cause the channels to heat up fast compared to the root zone.If the pump damages in the summer season, then it can result in the death of crops in just a couple of hours.  Saline water isn’t the ideal selection for the NFT due to the reduction in the salinity of the recirculating water.
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