CCH2O Hydroponic System Bulletin: Hydroponic System Selection
Choosing the Right Hydro System
What you need to know for hydroponic system selection. CurrentCultureH2O is a preferred growing solutions provider for indoor and greenhouse hydroponic farming, offering a range of systems–what you need to know for the best CCH2O hydroponic system selection in your particular situation. Plus a great general hydroponics systems overview to help you plan and potentiate maximum production and assist in managing your input resources carefully for maximum cropping efficiency.
Firstly, Why Water Culture?
Maximum production with minimum effort doesn’t make you lazy, it makes you smart. In terms of hydroponic system selection, water culture systems minimize or eliminate the amount of growing medium needed to grow a successful crop.
The Major Advantages of Eliminating or Reducing Growing Media in Your Operation:
- Growing medias get between plant roots actively seeking oxygen, water and minerals. If you deliver clean, well balanced nutrient solutions supercharged with oxygen directly to roots, plants will grow, develop and yield at accelerated rates. Growing medias can literally stand in the way of plants achieving their very best potential while adding an “X” factor to the chemistry and composition of the nutrient solution available for absorption by roots .
- Hydroponic growing media like coco, rockwool and grow rocks can offer better production possibilities versus soils, however, they are bulky, typically require pretreatment and remain an ongoing expense–they typically need to be replaced every time you grow.
- Growing medium can introduce or harbor pests and pathogens; don’t bring them in and give them nowhere to hide.
In terms of reducing labor costs and hassles, growing with water culture is huge. In simple terms, imagine if you could just turn the tap to fill up the pots in your conventional garden–or pull the drain plug when they are all done to empty (and even reuse) the media. Now takes weeks off your cropping calendar, reduce cultural labor needed and amp up your crop quality and yield while making automation easy. This is your advantage, and more, when you opt to cultivate crops in water culture systems.
In hydroponic system selection for growing with water culture methods, here’s a list of what’s good and what you should know about the different hydroponic set ups CurrentCultureH2O has to offer.
DWC (deep water culture)
In terms of hydroponic system selection, this is a great entry point for cultivating crops with water culture. In fact, this is arguably the first hydroponic system widely used and documented. DWC was originally pioneered in laboratories, where plants were supported in the neck of beakers or flasks and the roots grew below into a depth of aerated nutrient solution. Much of what we know about fertilizer basics were gained from this type of system used to research what happens if you omit or add different elements to the solution and at varying levels.
Today’s DWC systems are considerably more refined and made for real world use, although they still operate on the same proven and effective principles developed in early plant labs.
CCH2O’s UC Solo systems (Solo & Solo Pro) can accommodate lots of smaller plants or even just a few really large specimens; they are super flexible–the grower can select how many planting sites on the lid they want to use. There is no issue leaving some of the net pots supported with the sturdy lid filled with a small quantity of growing media, no need to plant them all if you choose.
After planting, roots quickly descend from the net pots in the lid to the highly aerated depth of nutrient and oxygen rich solution below. The majority of the crop’s bare roots will grow into and feed from the nutrient solution. The growing media acts as little more than mechanical support for the plants in the lids once planted into the DWC Solo System. A lot of newbie water culture growers get their start with the UC Solo DWC system for it’s cost effectiveness and ease of set up before graduating to RDWC (recirculating deep water culture).
The UC Solo can also be used to raise smaller plants in 5 inch net baskets, with maximum lid planting before transplanting with wider spacing and root zone volume into Under Current RDWC systems. This helps to conserve space and other resources until the plants begin to really need it.
RDWC (recirculating deep water culture)
This is “active” water culture and an excellent choice regardless of your skill level in hydroponic system selection. Active hydroponic systems have a moving element, namely the nutrient solution. In RDWC systems, the volume of nutrient solution is recirculated through each module back to an epicenter continuously , hence “recirculating” deep water culture (rdwc).
CCH2O Undercurrent modules are available in 8 gallon, 13 gallon (13XL) and 35 gallon (Pro Series) sizes to allow for a high degree of flexibility in making the ideal hydroponic system selection. The smaller mods (modules) are typically favored for vegging plants to larger statures or for growers looking for higher planting densities to minimize cropping time and maximize crop turns per annum. The Pro series can produce incredibly large single plants or support higher densities of smaller plants, depending on the site configuration selected on the lid support.
Advantages of RDWC vs DWC
- The Under Current® utilizes negative water pressure to recirculate oxygenated nutrient solution through the plant’s root zone ensuring pH and EC levels are uniform throughout the entire system.
- The epicenter acts as a “heart” for the rest of the connected modules in the RDWC set up. Monitoring, dosing, chilling, filling, draining and other important management practices can all be performed for each module in the system from a single point, simplifying growing on scale. Of additional benefit is that the epicenter can be positioned outside of the grow room so making changes or monitoring can be performed anytime without interrupting critical dark cycles or as a matter of convenient placement in larger growing facilities.
- Because plants can get to very large statures quickly in individual RDWC modules connected through the system, plant spacing can be relatively wide reducing equipment costs and keeping plant counts low while still realizing heavy yields per light in fast cropping cycle. Large plants produce large crowd pleasing flowers and fruits!
High Density Hydroponics
For growers seeking high density cropping in their hydroponic system selection, CurrentCultureH2O offers professional grade heavy duty galvanized steel rolling bench systems. These rolling benches use standard widths and customizable lengths to create space saving configurations; more crop less empty space means bigger yields in the same sized room.
Growers can achieve up to 90% space use efficiency by making use of a single floating aisleway. These rolling benches were sourced for their strength and durability–they are strong enough to support the weight of a full UnderCurrent RDWC system configuration while still allowing growers to safely and effortlessly slide bench tops to create access aisles. Of further benefit to growers and crops is the open bench mesh top design–air moves and circulates more freely through the plant canopy and between plants versus solid horticultural trays.
High Pressure Aeroponic Cloning Systems (HPAC)
When seeking very high planting numbers or developing fast and consistent propagation programs, CCH2O’s HPAC (high pressure aeroponic cloner) meets this criteria in hydroponic system selection. The HPAC Series is designed for commercial growers for scale, durability, reliability, excellent production capabilities and ease of management.
Why High Pressure Aeroponics (link pending)
The HPAC series produces very high volumes of plants in a short time frame using very little space, from 420 plant sites to 1690+ in a double tier set up. The aero modules are sturdy and light weight making them easy to stack and move, for example onto carts for transplanting into Under Current systems in production areas of the growing facility. A central 8 gallon reservoir with 120V high pressure pump station makes monitoring and adjustments to all connected mods easy and economical–a single dosing system, chiller, monitor, etc and take care of thousands of clones.