Hydroponics, Aquaponics, and Indoor Growing | The Organic Garden Center

Posts tagged ‘reservoir’

Ebb & Flow Systems

Ebb and Flow SystemsI just finished a water change(w/c) on our 3’x3′ ebb & flow table. An ebb & flow system, sometimes called a flood table, consists of a a wide, shallow, plastic, watertight table about 5 to 10 inches tall, sitting atop a reservoir which has enough capacity to hold all the water and nutrient to fill the table above. For example, our system, made by American Hydroponics, has a a square shaped table 3’x 3’x 5″ deep, and the reservoir, made by ActiveAqua, holds 25 gallons of nutrient/water solution.

ebb-flow-1Inside the reservoir sits a submersible pump which pumps water up to the table. Drilled into the flood table is a standpipe, when the water fills to the height of the standpipe, the water/nutrient flows back into the reservoir making a continuous loop. The pump is controlled by a simple timer, our system runs for 15 minutes, every 2 hours. This is a type of recirculating system. The plants grow in net pots, as the name implies, the bottom half of the pot is made of mesh, which lets water pass through to nourish the plant’s roots, yet with enough strength to hold the plant and media. There are several types of media to choose from, were using an expanded clay pellet called Hydrocorn, made by Gold Label, but we have been quite pleased with Growstone, made out of 100% recycled glass. We have also used Rocks, a super heated shale that won’t float in water, and can be purchased in smaller bags for smaller grow set ups, made by Sunleaves.

ebb-flow-2What’s nice about growing in our store is we get to use a variety of different products from manufacturers who are smart enough to send us samples to try. We get hands on experience which enables us to recommend, to you, the things we like . This time I am using nutrients from Cutting Edge Solutions. They offer a 3 part nutrient mix and, following their instructions, it’s pretty easy to use. They also have 3 other supplements which add calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Because we’re attached to a large aquarium shop, we are using de-ionized (DI) water, most of the industry uses reverse osmosis (R/O) water, but I’ll leave that discussion for another day.

Our ebb & flow plants are happy; if they could talk they would thank me for changing their water and nutrient today.


Vertical Gardens

ogc-vertical-gardenI want to talk a little about a hydroponic system in our store. I’ve just done a water change (w/c) on our Vertical Garden (vertigro.com); it would be a great system for anyone tight on horizontal space, a complete system that would be pretty good for beginners. It’s almost a hybrid of three types of hydroponics, a built in reservoir, soiless mix/coco coir, and top watering. How it works is a series of planters filled with soiless mix, perched atop each other, and top fed from planter to planter below, supplied with a water nutrient solution, pumped up by a submersible pump, from the reservoir on the bottom, and controlled by just one timer.

Verti-GroAll you need to do is add light, everything else, submersible pump, soiless mix and even powdered nutrient is included. You could set it up outside, but here in Chicago, you would have to bring it in seasonally and always make sure you secure it from strong winds. ¬†We are using this system to grow strawberries, the type that send out runners. It’s a natural, you plant the mother plant on top and she sends out runners to the pots below. Strawberries thrive in nutrient solution more to the acidic side, we’re set our pH at 5.2. I think we’ll have to be patient, I am not expecting any fruit for quite a few months.