The Automatic hydroponic System brings water, air, and nutrients to the roots of plants, and the plant can concentrate its energy to grow green parts. With Hydroponics you do not use soil, but plants are implanted and rooted in stone wool or clay pebbles inside the Plantsteps.
Growing on the Plantsteps
When growing plants on hydroponic grow modules - Plantsteps the plant roots grow out from the net pots and get nutrients from the water flowing in close loop inside the system. The Water Flow Rate can be adjusted by tuning pump flow valve or by changing to a more efficient water pump.
Water flows in the Plantsteps usually with thin, about 5-15mm high water film. This irrigation technique is called NFT. Water height inside the Plantsteps can be adjusted by changing the tilt angle of the Plantsteps and by trimming the roots of large plants.
Growing on Nursery Level
Nursery level with water tank are SupraBase -unit, the base unit for Supragarden -system. It can be a starting base for even 6 PlantSteps. It can be used also for growing with several hydroponics techniques like NFT, Flood & Drain and Drip Feed.
The hydroponics techniques listed below all have different benefits and one should select the fittest method according to plants, size and their growing phase in case.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) is perfect for salads and herbs, but great also for most household plants that like water.
A stream of water flows inside PlantSteps body and come back to Nursery level where waters plant roots. With NFT you can use even constant water flow and optimize growing speed of lettuce etc.
Ebb and flow
Also called Flood and drain -system. There water level is raised some 10-45 millimeters, time-to-time, according to timer setup. Typically 5-12 times during the day and none during the night.
Ebb & flow is good for young plants who do not have yet roots reaching outside net pot.
Deep Water Culture means that plant roots are growing in the water tank. Plants live in net pots at the PlantSteps holes on nursery level. This is an efficient way to grow big fruit plants like chilies and tomatoes.
With DWC you have to make sure water gets enough oxygen or plant roots will drown. This can be done by pumping the water often, almost constantly, or by adding an air pump and an air stone to the system.
COMBINATION OF MANY
You can also combine these hydroponic techniques. PlantSteps can be using NFT and Nursery level Ebb&flow and also DWC together with big plants on Nursery level corner holes. You just divide water rise pipe from the pump to two lines. One going to the top of PlantSteps and one going to Nursery level connection. For lower line a valve may be needed to adjust water flow equally for both levels.
You can find more information about hydroponic growing techniques from the internet. Like Aquaponics, where the aquarium is the water tank and fish waste is the nutrient source for plants. That is the real local and organic food.
Read Next - Fertilizers for Hydroponic growing