Systems Used

There is no particular system that is right or wrong growing hydroponically.  The choice really comes down to personal preference.

Here we aim to show you as many options as we can, although it won't cover the whole gammet as there are many setups created by various people that work just as successfully.

However some of the basic concepts are outlined and shown below.


Jiffy Pots

Jiffy pots are small round discs of cocoa peat that have been compressed.  On one side of the disc there is a slight depression, this is the side that the seed is inserted into for propagation.  By placing the disc in a saucer of water and waiting approx 5 minutes (give or take), the disc absorbs the moisture and expands.  Once it has expanded and is soft and pliable gently press the seed into the insertion sector.  By keeping these little pots moist and in a warm place they are ideal for propagating seeds for the coming season.  As you can see by the photos below the root system of the seedling just finds its way through the pot, so when you are ready to plant, just place the seedling, jiffy pot and all into where you want it to grow.  You do not need to remove the seedling from the jiffy pot.



Capillary Table

A capillary table has several valleys along it's length in which the nutrient solution runs, it has an absorbent layer that lies over these valleys and acts like a wick to draw the moisture to the top of the table.  By placing a protective layer on top of this, thus preventing foreign objects falling into these small channels.  The plants are placed on top of the table and the wicking action enables the plant to take up what moisture it may need.  The amount of solution fed into the capillary table is regulated by a Smartvalve (see Autopot Site) The solution can be fed by either a gravity tank, or using a reservoir and small pump.



Manual - Self Watering Pots

    Self watering pots are an easy way to set yourself up with a hydroponic garden.  As they have a  basin attached to the base of the pot and an opening that you can see how much water is in this base they are ideal for anyone who doesn't mind watering manually and of course can be purchased in various sizes depending on what you wish to grow.






N.F.T. - Nutrient Film Technique

     A Nutrient Film Technique (N.F.T.) is exactly what the name implies.  It is a thin film of solution that flows along the bottom of the channel, thus watering the plants which are in small net pots inset along the channel.  These pots sit lightly touching the base of the channel and the media within them acts like a wick drawing the moisture and nutrients up to the plant roots. A small pump like those used in fish tanks, is placed in the reservoir which holds the nutrient solution, from here it is pumped up to the channels which are positioned in such a way the  flow of solution can carry through from one channel to another.  The slight angle the channels are placed on assist in the continual flow eventually returning to the reservoir tank.





Flood & Drain

As the name suggests flood and drain is the exact principle used with this type of growing.  The garden bed (trough, channel, etc) is flooded with the nutrient solution at various times throughout the 24 hour cycle and once flooded, it gradually drains away back into a reservoir that holds the solution.  The most common approach to this type of system is the use of a small pump that pumps the solution from the reservior to the garden bed.

Drip System

A drip feed system, can be incorporated in many ways.  The plants are drip fed at set times required.  The plants may be in any form of container; be it a self watering container that will catch any surplus run off the plant does not require at the time, to a container that may be channel like and allow the surplus run off to return to a reservoir.


Aeroponic systems aren't seen very often, but basically the principle of this technique is when the plants are suspending from some form of attachment and the root systems are misted or watered with nutrient solution.  It goes to prove that plants can be grown without any media, so long as they have some form of support to hold them upright.  As shown below the plants are suspended by a hook from an overhead endless chain which rotates and at intervals passes each plant through a nutrient spray chamber. 





The autopot system is a brilliant concept in which the feeding of the nutrient solution is plant generated. It has a smartvalve that activates once the level of the solution drops to a certain point, thus allowing the reservoir to fill again to a set level.  The plants take up the solution as they require, so there is no wastage and not until the plants have used what is in the reservoir does the valve allow more solution into the reservoir.  For more thorough and indepth information regarding this ingenious system please see our links page and visit the Autopot site.






  Aquaculture is simply the ability to be able to grow plants in water.  They do not require media, however some form of support such as a vase so long as the root system has adequate solution.  Many people use this idea as a decorative display within their homes, simply adding marbles can give an added appeal.





With all due respect to this technique, it is best to cover it on a page of it's own.  It is a system well worth thinking about, especially if you do have the room and the benefit of utilizing fish within your self sufficient lifestyle.