While “hydroponics” is part of our name, these days most of our hobbyist and craft indoor gardeners grow in soil or coco coir, and hand-water using a wand or watering can. They get great results, and it works well on a small scale.
Many Commercial Accounts, however, run hydroponic systems. Why? Most point to an increased rate of growth and reduced labor costs. Plus, with the right setup, your plants will mature up to 25% faster & produce up to 30% more than the same plants grown in soil.
Here’s the thing – there are common 6 ways to setup a hydroponic system (and there are others):
- Wick Systems
- Deep Water Culture (DWC)
- Nutrient Film Technique (NFT).
- Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain)
- Drip Systems
While each system has its unique features and benefits, Drip Systems have become widely adopted by growers of all sizes for the ease of set up, low maintenance, low system cost, and consistent, high quality harvest outcomes.
Enter FloraFlex™ Drip Hydroponic Systems
Over the past couple years, a California company called FloraFlex, has quietly created a full line of hydroponics and drip gardening products that have gained wide acceptance across all sectors of growers, hobbyist to commercial.
The brand has two primary dynamics: it’s simple to put a system together to fit any grow space, and; it has a very modest cost of entry.
Hydroponics Drip Systems 101
Looking at the “Anatomy of a Hydroponic Drip Grow System” graphic at top as a reference, the process starts at the bottom, with a Reservoir within which nutrients are mixed with pH balanced water for distribution to all plants.
Within the Reservoir a small submersible pump pushes the mix to a Bubbler Head (red circle at top), which distributes the nutrients to plants via ¼” tubing attached to nipples on the bubbler.
The pump is controlled by a multi-session timer, which creates a nutrient flow 4-6 times a day for 30 seconds to one minute.
The feed tubes attach to a “T” fixture, which splits them into two feeder lines that attach to a “FloraClip” (the Xs in diagram) which clips onto the PotPro Pots (green squares) and enables the nutrients to be distributed evenly over the “FloraCap” (orange squares) with many drain holes over the grow medium.
Then, depending on the grow medium you’re using, the nutrient drain-off either goes directly to waste or returns to the reservoir via the flood table supporting the plant.
Automated Hydroponic Drip Grow Mediums
In a classic hydroponic system, there are 3 basic hydroponic grow medium options: rockwool, coco, and pebbles.
BUT, in a straight automated drip-grow system, you can use any grow medium you like, organic soil to enhanced soil mixes and coco.
Just keep in mind when you use this type of medium versus true hydro mediums, you must drain to waste due to the salt build-up that occurs, which would compromise your nutrient solutions were you to recirculate it.
There are many ways to set up a FloraFlex drip-irrigation system - call us or stop by one of our 4 MA stores for help getting your installation squared away.
What We Recommend You Do To Start Growing With A Drip Hydroponic System
Our Store Manager in Seekonk suggests the following to those wanting to embark on a hydroponic drip system garden.
1. Grow a single strain or flower type within the system: don’t run different strains or you’ll find it hard to control your nutrient flow.
2. Use a quality coco product. Many of us like Canna Coco with the Canna Coco 2-part base nutrient.
3. Adjust your water/nutrient flow to have just a little trickle of an overflow each cycle – no need to waste nutrients. Adjust as plants react.
- Run the pump 4 times per day
- Organics typically clog pumps – not recommended
- Watch pH levels – adjust per your ’recipe’
- Add microbes after pH has been established
4. Do not recirculate plant overflow back to reservoir: drain to waste.
5. Use a scrog (net) to support your plants since you can’t stake them – we have sizes to fit all tents and grow rooms.
For example, an 8-station system with 8” pots, tubing, bubbler and clips will run around $135-150, including a pump (timer and flood tray if needed are additional). Many options are available!
Just come into any of our 4 MA Hydro super-stores or call us anytime. (888-529-9025)