If you are looking for an efficient and environmentally-friendly way to grow plants, then consider using the NFT hydroponic system. This system is ideal for people who want to grow plants hydroponically, whether you are a professional gardener or someone who wants to grow plants for personal use. In this article, we will take a closer look at the NFT hydroponic system and provide a comprehensive guide on how it works and its advantages and disadvantages.
The Basics of NFT Hydroponic System
The NFT hydroponic system stands for Nutrient Film Technique. It is a hydroponic system where a thin film of nutrient solution is pumped across the bottom of a channel, creating a film of water that circulates around the roots of the plants. This system is becoming increasingly popular among hydroponic gardeners because of its simplicity and effectiveness.
The NFT hydroponic system is one of the most popular hydroponic systems because it is relatively easy to set up and maintain. The main components of this system include a water pump, a reservoir, a channel system, a timer, and grow cups.
Setting up NFT Hydroponic System
Setting up an NFT hydroponic system is easy and requires minimal skill and expertise. The first step is to install the channel system and connect it with the water pump and reservoir. You should then fill the reservoir with nutrient solution and adjust the pH level to ensure it is in the range of 5.5-6.5.
After that, you can place the plants in the grow cups and insert them into the channel system. Make sure that the roots of the plants are not submerged in the nutrient solution. Next, you can set the timer to pump the nutrient solution to the channels for a few minutes every 15-20 minutes. This will ensure that the plants receive a constant supply of the nutrient solution, which is essential for growth.
Strengths of NFT Hydroponic System
|The NFT hydroponic system delivers a rapid and high yield of fruits and vegetables compared to other traditional soil-based cultivation methods. It is also possible to obtain up to 50% more yield with this system than with conventional soil-based cultivation techniques
|The NFT hydroponic system uses a closed-loop system that recycles water. This means that water is used more efficiently than in traditional soil-based cultivation, where a lot of water is lost through evaporation.
|Using the NFT hydroponic system eliminates the need for pesticides and other chemical inputs, which may be harmful to the environment. This system allows you to grow plants using organic or inorganic nutrient solutions and eliminates the risk of groundwater contamination.
|Less Space Required
|NFT hydroponic system provides the possibility of cultivating more plants in a smaller space when compared to traditional soil-based cultivation techniques. This is because the grow medium is eliminated, requiring only a channel system and a small reservoir for nutrient solution.
|High Control Over Growth
|When using the NFT hydroponic system, you can control the growth rate of your plants more efficiently by adjusting factors such as nutrient solution pH, nutrient solution strength, light intensity, and growth temperature. This control allows you to optimize growth faster and improve yield.
Weaknesses of NFT Hydroponic System
While the NFT hydroponic system offers many advantages, it also has some drawbacks that growers should consider before using it:
|A power outage can cause serious damage to your plants, as your NFT hydroponic system requires a constant supply of electricity to maintain the circulation of water and nutrient in your plants’ roots.
|Roots Susceptible to Drying Out
|If the water pump fails or stops working, the roots of your plants can dry out within a few hours, which can cause irreversible damage to your garden.
|Higher Cost of Setup
|The initial cost of setting up an NFT hydroponic system may be higher than that of traditional soil-based methods. This is due to the costs of purchasing the equipment necessary for the system. However, the long-term benefits that this system offers typically outweigh this initial investment and can result in increased yields and cost savings in the long run.
FAQs about NFT Hydroponic System
1. How often should the water be replaced in an NFT hydroponic system?
The water in an NFT hydroponic system should be replaced every two to three weeks or when the nutrient solution becomes unbalanced or depleted.
2. Do I need to adjust the pH of my nutrient solution?
Yes. The ideal pH range for hydroponic plants is between 5.5 and 6.5. A pH scale of 7.0 is neutral. It is essential to monitor and adjust the pH regularly to ensure that the plants are receiving the appropriate nutrients.
3. What types of plants are suitable for NFT hydroponic systems?
Most leafy greens, herbs, and strawberries grow exceptionally well in the NFT hydroponic system. However, you can also grow other fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. The system allows for flexibility in planting choices, and it is possible to cultivate a wide variety of plants.
4. Can I use organic nutrients in my NFT hydroponic system?
Yes. You can use either organic or inorganic nutrient solutions in an NFT hydroponic system. Organic nutrients are ideal because they help to maintain the health of the environment by avoiding the risks of groundwater contamination posed by chemical fertilizers.
5. What type of lighting is best for NFT hydroponic systems?
LED grow lights are the best type of lighting for NFT hydroponic systems. They provide full-spectrum lighting that stimulates plant growth in all stages, producing high yields with less energy consumption and heat output.
6. How much nutrient solution does my NFT hydroponic system need?
The amount of nutrient solution required will depend on the size of your garden and the number of plants you are cultivating. It is recommended to use a nutrient solution not exceeding 20 gallons for a 100 square foot area.
7. Do I need an air pump in my NFT hydroponic system?
An air pump is not required in an NFT hydroponic system because the nutrient solution is constantly flowing, providing ample oxygen to the roots. However, an air pump can be useful in providing additional oxygen to the root system and promote active plant growth.
8. How often should I inspect my NFT hydroponic system?
You should inspect your system at least twice a week to check if it is operating correctly, identify any potential problems, and make any necessary adjustments.
9. How to maintain proper water temperature in a NFT hydroponic system?
The ideal temperature for the nutrient solution in an NFT hydroponic system is 62-70F. To maintain this range, you can locate your reservoir in a cool, shaded area, or use a chiller to cool down the water.
10. How long does it take for plants to grow in an NFT hydroponic system?
Most plants usually grow faster in an NFT hydroponic system than in soil-based cultivation methods. Typically, it takes 4-6 weeks to witness the growth of small plants to the maturity level in the NFT hydroponic system.
11. Can I adjust the circulation of water and nutrient solution in my NFT hydroponic system?
Yes. You can adjust the rate of the nutrient solution in your NFT hydroponic system by setting the timer to pump the nutrient solution to the channels for a few minutes every 15-20 minutes.
12. How do I control pests in my NFT hydroponic system?
NFT hydroponic systems are typically less susceptible to pest infestations than soil-based cultivation methods. However, if a pest or disease problem occurs, it is essential to use organic pesticides that are safer for your plants and the environment.
13. Is it possible to automate an NFT hydroponic system?
Yes. You can automate your system with a timer, monitoring system, and a doser to regulate the nutrient solution and pH level automatically.
In conclusion, the NFT hydroponic system offers a sustainable, reliable and efficient way to grow plants on a large scale without relying on soil. With the right tools, equipment, and nutrients, novice and professional gardeners can successfully grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs all year round with minimal impact on the environment.
While there are some weaknesses to the NFT hydroponic system, such as the potential loss of plants in the case of a power outage, the system’s strengths far outweigh these drawbacks. Therefore, anyone who is looking to start hydroponic vegetable-growing should consider this system.
If you are interested in NFT hydroponic systems, you can start by researching and developing a thorough understanding of the technology. Take the time to experiment and test different forms of plant cultivation, and feel free to rely on a variety of resources to supplement your knowledge base and practice. Remember that successful gardening is about balancing effort, attention to detail and planning, upkeep and maintenance.
The future of green gardening appears clear and straightforward thanks to this technology. By putting forth some effort today, you can take steps toward a more eco-conscious tomorrow by generating sustainable crops, reducing the needs for large scale resource extraction & consumption, and helping the environment.
Note that the use of the proper nutrient solutions and tools is critical to the success of NFT hydroponic systems. Each element in this system plays a crucial role in keeping the plants healthy, making it essential to understand the interdependent relationship between each component. Lastly, the potential growth of hydroponics in agriculture and urban farming is vast in areas that lack classic fertile soil so the NFT hydroponic system needs to be one that you can trust and know its implications.