Which Plants for which Type of System?

by Mike C.
(Nashville, TN)

I'm just getting started in hydroponics. I can build/buy any type of system, but... First question after reading everything I can find... What types of plants work best in Ebb&Flow compared to DWC? Seems like I heard that some work better in one vs the other... Is there a resource that lists what type of system is better suited for types of plants? I would rather buy a better system focusing on the plants I decide to work on the most and build the other type (more risk on the built system) to try others and possibly expand the hobby. That would be only if one system is much better for different plants.

Answer: Mike- for the most part, no one hydroponic system is any better or worse for any particular plant. Between changes you can make in the watering cycle and changes you can make in the grow medium, just about every hydoponic system is capable of adjusting and meeting the needs of just about any kind of plant. The exception is the deep water culture.

In that particular system type, plants are grown with their roots permanently submerged in water. Some plants simply don't like that! These plants are often described as liking fast-draining soil, or as plants that do not like "wet feet". Other plants, like strawberries, have a spot that is sensitive to too much moisture (the crown). When grown in a DWC, they often succumb to root rot- starting from this most sensitive point down.

If you are not entirely sure about the preferences of you plants, I recommend building a small (possibly even one-plant) DWC system in which to "test out" each different variety you are thinking about growing. The majority of plants will do just fine in a DWC. Even some of the more sensitive ones do fine as long as you keep air stones in the nutrient reservoir to keep the solution well aerated. However, depending on your particular circumstances, you may want to buy a flood and drain system so you can get gardening right away without too many worries- and as you said, use the homemade systems and a little experimentation to expand the hobby. I hope this helps you out Mike, and Happy Growing!

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Dec 30, 2013
Which Plants? ! NEW
by: Skyhk32

So which plants like to have dry feet?

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Hi everyone, Jason from Jason's Indoor Guide here. When I got started with hydroponic gardening more than 24 years ago, my first garden used rockwool cubes and B.C. Nutrients....and I remember thinking to myself yeah, sure, there may be a lot of advantages to gardening with hydroponics, for example there are very few pest problems, therefore very little pest control, no weeding, no plowing or tilling the soil, no soil testing or having to add things into the garden soil, no watering the garden....but for someone who just wants to grow their own vegetables and have more control over their food supply and the quality of the food that they eat, the cost of constantly having to buy grow media and hydroponic nutrients makes this an expensive hobby for most people...

Epic Nutrient Change

I suppose when you take into consideration how much money you save NOT having to buy food at the grocery store, it is surely cheaper to grow your own food hydroponically even with the cost of high quality nutrients. Nevertheless, I didn't have a whole lot of money to work with and I needed to make my efforts as affordable and effective as possible....and in the last 24 years I HAVE learned a thing or two!

As you browse through Jason's Indoor Guide, you will notice all of the systems that I use personally are homemade systems. As I got 3 or 4 years of experience under my belt, I quickly adopted a preference to standing water systems and systems that use expanded clay pellets or lava rock, because the media is re-usable and it eliminates a huge operating expense. So once a hydroponic system is built, garden maintenance is minimal- check and adjust the nutrient solution daily, and to change it completely every 2 weeks....and the biggest operating cost is the hydroponic nutrients. (and the electric bill, lol)...

Homemade Cloner

And, regarding the cost of the nutrients....I experimented for about 3 years with making different compost teas and nutrient teas, but there is still a lot of expense $$$ associated with making high quality nutrient teas....like kelp meal, liquid seaweed, rock dust, bat guano, un-Sulfured molasses, worm castings. You can eliminate a lot of this expense by becoming an expert at making high-quality colloidal humus compost, and use your properly made compost as the basis of your hydroponic nutrient solution.

Unfortunately, I have been gardening for over 24 years and I have only just recently mastered this difficult skill....and even then, only because I happened to find a very easy to follow, high quality technique and decided to follow the instructions to the letter. I produced more high quality compost in just one week than I was able to use in a whole year! If you can master the technique, I highly recommend it. It is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase the productivity of your food production efforts, while at the same time decreasing the amount of effort required to grow all of your own food, and decreasing the total cost of operating your food production system.

And when I say decrease operating costs, I mean decrease them to almost ZERO, especially if you are producing your own nutrients...

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This solution is aquaponics. If you are serious about producing all of your own food and being self-sufficient, this is the ultimate solution for reducing expenses (as much as possible), reducing the total amount of work required, and maximizing the productivity of your gardening efforts. I have been gardening for over 24 years, and it is the perfect food production solution in my opinion.

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Besides mastering how to make high quality compost, learning aquaponics is one of the top 3 things you can do to increase your garden productivity, reduce your total costs, and reduce your total work. The product that I learned from is called Aquaponics4you. With all of my hydroponic gardening experience, the first time I came across the Aquaponics4you product I knew immediately that it was something very special! Place an aquaponics system outdoors and use the sun instead of grow lights, and you have reduced every garden expense to nearly ZERO!

The Same System/ 10 Weeks Later!

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