The drip hydroponic system is the most used hydroponic system worldwide, be it by home gardeners or by professional farmers. This system is quite easy and it needs very few materials. The drip system is also flexible and effective. Basically, this system works by dripping liquid nutrients on the roots of your plants.
The drip system can be designed easily, no matter the size. However, the drip system is most suitable for bigger plants that need a lot of room for their roots and you won’t need big water volume for this system. The drips will easily flow all over the root area, no matter how big. Additionally, if you use more planting medium for bigger plants, they will retain humidity better than the small ones and they usually aren’t too fussy about getting a lot of water all the time.
What you need
- A tray for roots
- A container for liquid nutrients
- A fountain pump or fish pond pump
- A timed switch
- Planting medium
- Pipes to transport water from the pump to the tray
- Flexible pipes to re-transport liquid nutrients back to the container
- Alternatively, paper clips to make holes in the pipes to drip out the nutrients
The drip system works quite simply. Water and liquid nutrients is pumped from the container through the pipes to over the planting medium tray. Liquid nutrients then drips down onto the planting medium and the roots, and the excess will go into the holes that are connected to pipes back to the container. It’s important to note that container should at least be 6-8 inches bigger than the tray to ease the way for excess water and nutrients.
There are two types of drip hydroponic system:
Circulatory Drip System
For home gardeners, this system is used very frequently. This system refers to the continuous use of excess water and nutrients from the first cycle in the next cycles. This system is also called the recovery system because it’s very effective in repairing the used excess nutrients to get circulated back into the system.
This circulatory drip system may cause changes in the pH or the nutrient level of the liquid as the cycles go. So, it’s important to check and recalibrate the pH and nutrient level of your liquid regularly.
Non-Circulatory Drip System
This system is used more because of the easy process and well-proven result. However, it’s used more by home gardeners but not professional farmers. Professional farmers have their own way to calculate special cycles to time their watering time as specifically as needed. They water them long enough to wet the planting medium plus the clear water.
Liquid nutrients or water in this non-circulatory drip system tend to be more neglected because there is no circulation or movement happening. You can refill the container with regulated pH liquid nutrients and water. The condition of your liquid nutrients will not change so you won’t need to check and recalibrate regularly like you do in the circulatory system. Just make sure to give enough stir to the liquid in the container so the heavier minerals won’t stick to the bottom.