Hydroponics means growing plants without soil in an aqua-based medium. There are various techniques and systems with which hydroponic plants can be grown such as Deep Water Culture, Ebb and Flow, Drip System, Nutrient Film Techniques, and Wick System. Each of the hydroponics systems has its own technique to provide plants with water, food, and oxygen. We will discuss in detail about Wick Hydroponics Systems in this article.
This is a passive form of hydroponic system in which, plants are kept in a separate container. They do not have direct contact with the nutrient reservoir. Around three to four (or more, depending on the size of container) wicks are made of absorbent fibrous material like nylon rope or cotton. One end of these wicks is partially buried in the container where plants are grown while the other end is kept dangling into the nutrient reservoir. With the help of capillary action of the wick, nutrient solutions is absorbed and carried to the substrate/growth media where plants are grown.
How to set up homemade wick hydroponics systems:
Get two storage totes and several feet of nylon rope. Use an air pump to oxygenate nutrient solution. Keep one tote over the other. Use bottom one as nutrient reservoir and top one to hold plant containers. Drill ½ inch hole beneath each plant container and allow nylon rope to hang down from there to the nutrient reservoir. Use 50/50 mixture of perlite and vermiculate as media in plant containers to wick water and nutrients from nylon rope.
- Compact arrangement makes wick hydroponics systems best suited for small garden spaces.
- It is very easy to set up and requires no professional guidance.
- This system requires minimal cost and gives highly efficient results in terms of flourishing and well-nourished plants.
- Because of the wick action, nutrients and water reach plants at a constant rate and there is no threat of over watering or over fertilization of plants.
- Many plants do not grow well when provided with water constantly. Roots of raspberries and pepper tend to decay if the media is not dry for some period of time.
- Supply rate of nutrients with the wick is way too slow for bigger and faster growing plants like cactus, aloe, and roses.
- Because of constant moist and humid conditions, this hydroponics systems is susceptible to rot and fungal infestations.
Keeping all the advantages and disadvantages in mind, one thing cannot be denied that wick hydroponics systems is ideal for beginners as it is not very expensive and is relatively very simple!