Deep Water Culture; What is it? and what are the benefits?
Deep Water Culture
Deep Water Culture is among one of the most favourite methods of hydroponic systems used by indoor and outdoor growers alike and rightfully so with all the benefits such as:
- Phenomenal Yields (up to 33% more than its soil counterparts!)
- Simple ingenuity made to suit all levels of expertise from beginners and experienced growers.
- Easy DIY Set Up leaving the grower the opportunity to build their system as to their space requirements.
- Extremely effective method of growing
What exactly is Deep Water Culture?
Deep Water Culture earns its name in the method of which it works. The plant itself is held within a growing media inside of a net pot leaving the roots suspended in a pot of nutrient solution (Deep Water) aerated with an Air Pump via airline pipe then diffused using an air stone, delivering oxygen directly to where it matters most; the roots.
There are various types of DWC System that of which I will walk you through later. For now, I would like to tell you the benefits of the System and exactly ….
How is it DWC Systems are so effective
Being it that DWC plants roots are suspended in `round the clock` aerated solution, gives the plant all the fundamentals to grow into a monster. This is because plants utilize oxygen in order to perform Aerobic Respiration, which is the process of turning food into the all-important life force of the very energy it needs to grow. While the leaves and stems produce their own oxygen through the process of photosynthesis, the roots cells need to find their own source of oxygen, normally through the miniscule air pockets of the earth, to maintain vital functions. This is why growers add perlite and vermiculite into their soil systems, as to give the roots a healthy supply of oxygen.
Another big factor in nurturing a plant to its full potential is creating the perfect environment of PH and EC to host the root system in. Having the Correct Ph, correct water temperature and a substantial amount of dissolved oxygen in the root zone will create perfect conditions for nutrient uptake to take place. DWC Gives the grower the versatility in environmental control to maximise a plants growth to its full potential.
Also, in addition to receiving gastronomical amounts of dissolved oxygen in a perfectly curated environment, plants grown hydroponically also are fortunate enough to have nutrient solution readily available to utilize, giving the plant no need to waste energy on growing its root system in search for water, leaving all focus to growing bigger and stronger stems and leaves, leaving new hydroponic growers astounded with shorter vegative times of around 15-25% and a sizable increase in yields of up to 33%!
Types of Systems
RDWC – Normally consists of multiple DWC Pots that are inter-connected in a way that allows re-circulation of the nutrient solution amongst the collective of plants housed to each pot. This in turn allows that the Ph and EC Levels remain uniform throughout the entire system, giving every plant as much potential as the other all whilst creating an easier to maintain environment than a singular DWC system.
DWC – A standard DWC, has many different names with one of which we refer to as the bubble pot system, is usually a lone container filled with aerated nutrient solution, normally housing one, but sometimes multiple plants without re-circulation. The benefits of using a lone Bubble Pot for a single plant would be that you can tune in to the needs of each single plant and tailor the environment dependant to each own.
Bubbleponics – This method is also known as a top feed system. This is a standard DWC system with the added benefit of having running water being fed from the top of the roots, leaving the roots to absorb both the nutrient solution and the oxygen it dissolves in the process. The dynamics of this system are better suited towards seedlings, as their roots will not be mature enough to reach the nutrient solution below.
Things to Monitor!
- EC (The measurement of nutrient ratio of solution) will change dependant on how fast a plant is using the nutrients. If nutrient uptake is high, then EC will drop.
- Ph fluctuates daily, be sure to check that the PH is between 5.5 and 6.5 for DWC systems, this is highly dependant to your crop of choices needs, as all are slightly different.
- Plants utilize the dissolved oxygen in the nutrient solution, if the air pump was to malfunction cease to feed oxygen then plants could turn from ‘coming on great’ to ‘what just happened’ real quick. Be sure to always keep an air pump spare as to tackle such a problem if it were to arise.
- When housing more than one plant in a system, it is essential to ensure that each plant is healthy, if one plant was to develop disease such as Pythium, Fusarium Ect. Then this will spread through the entire system.
- It is essential to keep water consistently at optimum temperatures, those of which are between 62-68F (17-20C). As water temps rise, waters ability to hold dissolved oxygen decreases, meaning that the roots will not have access to sufficient oxygen supplies, which can evoke root diseases, also stunt growth and at worst be fatal to the crops. Go below 62F and the plant slows down metabolism as they think the season is changing.