Hydroponics

Hydroponics 
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

 

NFT Hydroponics 

Learn the best and proper techniques for setting up a Nutrient Film Hydroponic system. The Nutrient Film Technique is a tried and true method you can use for all your gardening needs.

How does it works?

In continuous-flow-solution-culture, the nutrient solution constantly flows past the roots.

A popular variation of continuous-flow-hydroponic systems is the nutrient film technique, or NFT. How it works is a very shallow stream of water, containing all the dissolved nutrients required for plant growth, is recirculated past the bare roots of plants in a watertight gully, also known as channels.

Ideally , the depth of the recirculating stream should be very shallow, little more than a film of water, hence the name 'nutrient film'. This ensures that the thick root mat, which develops in the bottom of the channel, has an upper surface which, although moist, is in the air. That ensures there is an abundant supply of oxygen to the roots of the plants.


Advantages

A properly designed NFT hydroponics system is based on using the proper channel slope, the right flow rate, and the right channel length. The main advantage of the NFT system over other forms of hydroponics, is that the plant roots are exposed to adequate supplies of water, oxygen, and nutrients.

In all other forms of production , there is a conflict between the supply of these requirements, since excessive or deficient amounts of one results in an imbalance of one or both of the others.

NFT hydroponics, because of its design, provides a system where all three requirements for healthy plant growth can be met at the same time (as long as the simple concept of NFT is always remembered and practiced.)

The result of these advantages: higher yields of high-quality produce are obtained over an extended period of time!!


A downside of NFT hydroponics, is that it has very little buffering against interruptions in the flow. An example would be power outages. But overall, it's probably one of the more productive techniques.

 

Types of Hydroponic System  

Water Culture Systems

Water culture systems include the nutrient film technique, aeroponics, and the aeration method.

Nutrient Film Technique (Figure 1) uses a plastic trough or tube as the container through which a constant, thin film of nutrient solution flows. Plants are suspended through holes in the top of the trough. The trough is gently sloped so gravity pulls the solution back to the nutrient reservoir. There are many variations of this system, making it one of the most popular for the home gardener.

Aeroponics (Figure 2) is the growing of plants in a container in which the roots are suspended in a nutrient mist rather than in a solution. The most popular container for aeroponics is an enclosed A-frame constructed of styrofoam boards. The plants are placed in holes along the sloped sides of the frame.

The nutrient mist is delivered to the roots by a vaporizer or by special attachments available with drip irrigation kits. The mist clings to the roots. Any excess runs down the inside of the frame, is collected at the bottom, and is recycled back to the nutrient reservoir.

The Aeration Method (Figure 3), one of the first hydroponic setups to be developed, uses an aquarium air pump to bubble oxygen to the roots of plants immersed in the nutrient solution . Plants are suspended 1 inch above the solution by a 2-inch-deep mesh tray that is set into the container by placing the lip of the tray over the container's edge.

A layer of inert material, such as gravel, clay pebbles, or vermiculite, is placed in the tray to provide stability for the plants while allowing the roots to grow down into the nutrient solution.

 

Aggregate Systems

Aggregate systems use some form of inert material to support and surround plant roots. The most common materials used are rockwool, clay pebbles, gravel, perlite, vermiculite, sand, or foam chips. The media provides plant support, allows good oxygen penetration to the roots, yet retains a thin layer of nutrients and water around the roots.

One of the most hydroponic setups using an aggregate media is the Flood and Drain Method (Figure 4). A water-holding container, such as a plastic dish pan, is filled with the aggregate and plants. The container is flooded periodically with the nutrient solution. The solution is drained back into the nutrient reservoir by opening a valve at the bottom of the container. During each cycle, the roots should be submerged in the solution for no more than 20 to 30 minutes.


Another common hydroponics setup is the Trickle Feed Method (Figure 5). The nutrient solution is continuously pumped from the reservoir through a 1/2-inch irrigation tube that branches into a number of 1/8-inch tubes. These smaller tubes deliver the solution to the containers. Any excess solution is collected at the base of each container and returned to the nutrient reservoir.

A modification of the trickle feed method is called Tube Culture ( Vertical Hydroponics ) (Figure 6). A 4 to 6-inch plastic tube or bag is filled with a lightweight aggregate. Holes are made on all sides of the container for the plants. The tube is hung vertically, and an irrigation tube is positioned at the top of the container. The nutrient solution seeps through the container and may or may not be recycled when it reaches the bottom.

How to start seedling for hydroponic:


Hydroponic seed starting is an excellent way to protect seedling from soil borne diseases and it also affords a lot of ease.

  1. Place rockwool in a shallow tray. Make sure that the rockwool is in cubes. Now saturate the cubes with 1/2 strength nutrient solution. Adjust the pH to about 6.2
  2. Take seeds and sow them into the rockwool cubes. Use 2 to 3 seeds per cube
  3. Now water the cubes with 1/2 strength nutrient solution and it is important that you keep the cubes moist at all times.
  4. You can keep the tray under light for 18 hours a day until the seedlings are 4 to 6 inches tall
  5. After that transfer the cubes to pre-soaked rockwool slabs. Make sure you have made two holes at the bottom of the slab.
  6. You have just started seedlings for hydroponics.
  7. Now transfer the rockwool slab to your hydroponic system and make sure that the slab is saturated with nutrient solution.

 Popular plants for hydroponics:

  • Broccoli 
  • Brussels Sprouts 
  • Cabbages 
  • Capsicum 
  • Celery 
  • Cucumbers 
  • Chinese Pakchoi 
  • Lettuce 
  • Onions
  • Garlic 
  • Spinach 
  • Tomatoes 

Please find below a basic recipe for preparation of Hydroponics Nutrient Solutions for various stages of plant growth (Vegetative, Flowering & Fruiting). This is a general purpose recipe.

  Particulars

Weight in Grams 

Weight in Grams 

 

Weight in Grams
 
 

 

Salt

Vegetative Nutrient    (9.5 : 5.7 : 11.3)

Flowering Nutrient (5.5   :  8 : 18.4)

Fruiting Nutrient (8.2 :   5.9 : 13.6)

Solution A/B

Calcium Nitrate – Ca(No3)2

158.73

108.47

211.64

A

Potassium Nitrate – KNO3

55.29

74.07

74.07

A

Sulphate of Potash – K2SO4

12.17

12.17

44.97

B

Monopatassium Phosphate – KH2PO4

36.77

36.77

36.77

B

Magnesium Sulphate – MgSO4 * 7H2O

64.02

63.49

63.49

B

Trace Mix 

10 ml

10 ml

10 ml

B

Chelated Iron

100 ml

100 ml

100 ml

A

 

 

Trace Mix for 1 L Concentrated
Solution

Weight in Grams

 

Zinc Sulphate (ZnSO4)

2.20

 

Manganese Sulphate (MnSO4)

15.4

 

Copper Sulphate (CuSO4)

0.8

 

Boric Acid (H3BO3)

28.60

 

Sodium Molybdate (Na2MoO4)

0.25

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iron Concentrate Solution            for 1 L

Weight in Grams

 

 

 

Chelated Iron (FeEDTA)

19.48

 

 

 

 

How to Prepare the solution.

Iron Chelate Solution – Take 1 Litre bottle and add the Chelated Iron to 500 ml of water and dissolve it. Once dissolved top up the bottle to 1 L capacity

Trace Mix Solution – Take 1 Litre bottle and fill it with 500 ml of water. Add each of the trace element salts individually and dissolve one by one. Ensure that you add the next salt only after the previous salt it completely dissolved. After all trace elements are dissolved top up the bottle with water to 1 L capacity

Take two 5L cans and label them as Solution A and Solution B.

Solution A

1) Take a 5 L can and label it as Solution A

2) Fill about 4 liters of water in the can

3) Add Calcium Nitrate and dissolve it completely

4) Add Potassium Nitrate dissolve it completely

5) Add 100 ml of the Iron Chelate solution

6) Top up the can with water to make it 5 L in capacity

Solution B

1) Take a 5 L can and label it as Solution B

2) Fill about 4 liters of water in the can

3) Add each of the salts and dissolve in the can one by one. Ensure that the next salt is added only after the previous salt is completely dissolved.

4) Add 10 ml of the trace mix

5) Top up the can with water to it 5 L in capacity

Now you have two 5 L cans of Solution A and Solution B. This is good for making 100 L of the Nutrient Solution. In case you need to make 10 L of the solution fill the reservoir tank with 5 L of water and then add 500 ml of Solution A and mix it thoroughly. Next add 500 ml of Solution B and mix it thoroughly. Now fill up the reservoir to the 10 L capacity.

     A Note about Water Quality and pH.

·     Water Quality – It is very important that the quality of water is good. Softened bore water is a big no no for Hydroponics due to the addition of NaCl during the ion exchange process. Ideally you should be using RO water or Rain water. In case you have to use municipal water let it sit for a day to get rid of the chlorine but I doubt how good the water our municipalities supply. In a later post I will give more information on creating your own recipes based on PPM and taking water quality into consideration.

·     pH – It is important to maintain the correct pH. You would need a pH meter to check for pH. So far I never had a need to decrease the pH (acidify) of the solution when using RO water. You can use Cooking Soda for increasing the pH while vinegar or citric acid or diluted Sulphuric acid (battery acid) for decreasing the pH.

 

 

Piping NFT

Hydroponics Net Pot:

 

This is a 100% indigenous bio organic product for hydroponics application. This product is use in hydroponics vertical nursery. Heavy duty 100% Virgin (Special Grade for Hydroponics) UV stabilized plastic RO material are used. There are black, natural white & other colors available as per your requirements. Superior quality Round (Heavy Duty) Net Pots are useful for propagation, aeroponics, deep water culture, flood and drain, drip feed systems and NFT or for your own home made system.

 Using net pots allows the roots to grow down through the mesh. Good air circulation in the root zone is essential for a healthy root zone and produces a healthy plant. Our Heavy duty net pot could be use in Hydroponics, Aquaponics, Aeroponics systems. Our net pot specially design for fastest root development

 

Hydroponics System

 

  Vertical Garden:

  Tray NFT/Piping NFT

 

Hydroponics Net Pot:

 This is a 100% indigenous bio organic product for hydroponics application. This product is use in hydroponics vertical nursery. Heavy duty 100% Virgin (Special Grade for Hydroponics) UV stabilized plastic RO material are used. There are black, natural white & other colors available as per your requirements. Superior quality Round (Heavy Duty) Net Pots are useful for propagation, aeroponics, deep water culture, flood and drain, drip feed systems and NFT or for your own home made system.

 

Using net pots allows the roots to grow down through the mesh. Good air circulation in the root zone is essential for a healthy root zone and produces a healthy plant. Our Heavy duty net pot could be use in Hydroponics, Aquaponics, Aeroponics systems. Our net pot specially design for fastest root development.


·       100% Virgin FG - PPCP Material (Not PVC & RP)

·       Durable, Flexible, Aesthetic

·       Heavy Duty

·       Crack Resistance

·       Best design for fast root development

·       Any time available at Kharghar central SIKCO gallery

 


Coco Peat (Substitute Soil Medium) :

Coir Peat is a proven natural alternative to mined peat moss, therefore using it helps slow down peat extraction from environmentally sensitive swamps worldwide. Used as a growing medium/potting medium Coco Coir Peat outperforms most of the popular brands of Peat.

Healthy root growth is easy with Coco Coir Peat 100% natural organic coir. Derived from the husk of the Coconut, it is an excellent growing medium for both commercial and home gardening applications. The Hydroponic and Horticulture Industries have observed that plants grown with the aid of coir develop larger  roots, stems and blooms. This is because unlike ordinary soil, which is usually compacted, Coco Coir Peat provides more breathing space and aeration for plant roots, resulting in better growth

Coco Coir Peat can retain moisture up to nine times its own volume while maintaining excellent air filled porosity, providing vital oxygen to the roots and soil. It's fibrous and sponge-like structure is ideal for any soil condition, whether breaking up the heaviest of clay soils or retaining moisture in sandy soils. It is by far the most efficient and economical way to rehabilitate degraded soils without the risk of contamination. Coco Coir Peat has a naturally high lignin content which encourages favorable micro-organisms around the root zone. Having a slow degradation rate, it conditions the soil and promotes the development of an optimum pH level. Coco Coir peat has been universally accepted as an excellent plant growth substrate as well as a soil additive.

Coco Coir Peat is the future of growing mediums and will last three times as long as Peat Moss and Sphagnum Moss. Coco Coir Peat is hydrophilic and will re-wet easily without the use of chemical wetting agents and is capable of holding and releasing nutrients .

  Usages of Coco Peat:

·       The properties of Coco Peat make it resistant to bacterial and fungal growth.

·       Coco Peat holds water rather than shedding it like traditional peat does! It holds 8-9 times it's weight in water.

·       Coco Peat has the ability to store and release nutrient to plants for extended periods of time. It also has great oxygenation properties which is important for healthy root development.

·       It has a pH of 5.2-6.8 which is neutral to slightly acidic. This makes it great for alkaline garden soils.

·       Easy to use! Just put your compressed Coco Peat brick in a container, add 4 quarts of warm water and let it sit until the water is absorbed, fluff it up and you are ready to use Coco Peat!

·       Coco Peat can even be reused for up to 4 years!

·       It makes a great bedding material for worm bins! It's actually good for them and increases worm growth by 25%.

·       Coco Peat is very slow to disintegrate; it only begins to break down when it is 10 years old, long term benefits.

·       It is very light and easy to handle. 

·       It can be combined with any of the normal ingredients and use as a mixer or a stand-alone product.

·       An affordable price for a quality product with an environmentally sustainable future.

Coco peat benefits include:

·   High water holding capacity

·   Excellent drainage

·   Great physical resiliency

·   Cocopeat, a by-product of the Coconut industry

·   Slow decomposition

·   An overall plant acceptable pH and cation exchange capacity

·   Cocopeat is a renewable resource.

·   Large production capacity means constant availability.

·   Promotes strong root growth and plant vigor due to high porosity.

·   Re-wets easily

·   Watering frequency reduction

·   Minimal instances of pests, weeds, or diseases.

·   Has a near odorless fragrance.

·   Contains beneficial fungi.

·   Light weight for effortless handling and transportation.

·   Retains rich color even after long use.

·   Reusable

 

Coco peat is used in the green industry because of the many attributes which make it an excellent value-added alternative to other soil amendments.

 

Nutrient solutions (Solution A & B)

There are twenty mineral elements considered necessary or beneficial for plant growth. Carbon (C), hydrogen (H), and oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulphur (S) are required by plants in large amounts. are supplied by air and water

The rest are required in trace amounts (micronutrients) as solution A.

Essential trace elements include boron (B), chloride (Cl), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), sodium (Na), zinc (Zn), molybdenum (Mo), and nickel (Ni).

 

Chelated Mixture

Micro nutrients Specification:

Appearance

Fine Green Free Flowing Powder. Highly Hygroscopic.

Solubility

Soluble In Water

Zinc EDTA

3.0% Min.

Ferric EDTA

2.5% Min.

Manganese EDTA

1.0% Min.

Copper EDTA

1.0% Min.

Boron

0.5% Min.

Molybdenum

0.1% Min

pH

6.0 – 8.0.

 

Uses:

Chelated Micronutrient Mixture / Micro-elements are solid micro-granulated formulation recommended for preventing or correcting plant deficiencies caused by a lack of iron, manganese, zinc, copper, boron and molybdenum in agriculture, horticulture, floriculture.

 

It gives all essential six elements to the crop, which helps in correcting various deficiencies of the plant & in turn benefits it with a higher yield & healthy crop."

Iron Chelated Solution (Solution A)– Take 10 Liter can with water and add the 1000 gm Chelated Iron and dissolve it. Once dissolved, this is good for 1000 L of feed water. Use it as 1:100 ratio.

Agri grade NPK (Solution B) also available as per requirement.

 


Seed Germination Tray

·       Total Number of Cells Per Tray: 104

·       Cell's upper diameter (mm): 35  

·       Cell's lower diameter (mm): 20

·       Height: 6 cm

·       Tray Size (mm) : 520x300x60

·       Weight per tray: 140g (Approx. )

 How to Prepare the Solution

 A Note About Water Quality & pH

 

Water Quality – It is very important that the quality of water is good. Softened bore water is a big no no for Hydroponics due to the addition of NaCl during the ion exchange process. Ideally you should be using RO water or Rain water. In case you have to use municipal water let it sit for a day to get rid of the chlorine. pH – It is important to maintain the correct pH. You would need a pH meter to check for pH.

 

So far no  need to decrease the pH (acidify) of the solution when using RO water. You can use Cooking Soda for increasing the pH while vinegar or citric acid or diluted Sulphuric acid (battery acid) for decreasing the pH.

 

 

  Vertical Farming

 Hydroponics Benefits:

·       No soil is needed for hydroponics

·       The water stays in the system and can be reused – thus, lower water costs

·       It is possible to control the nutrition levels in their entirety – thus, lower nutrition costs

·       No nutrition pollution is released into the environment because of the controlled system

·       Stable and high yields, It is easier to harvest

·       Pests and diseases are easier to get rid of than in soil because of the container’s mobility

·       No pesticide damage, plants grow healthier

·       It is better for consumption


NFT HYDROPONICS

·       LEAFY   (For Spinach / Lettuce / Broccoli/ Sweet Basil. Pak Choi etc.)

·       NON-LEAFY  (For Cucumber / Strawberry/ Capsicum/ Tomato etc. )


Technical specifications:

·       Location                              : Indoor

·       Type of Hydroponics         : NFT

·       Area                                     : Minimum 25 Sq. ft 

·       No of LED Grow Light      : 30 watts x 12 No (Optional if no sun light)

·       Duration of light                 : 12 Hours

·       Solar System                       : 1000 Wh power bank/ day (Optional)

·       Piping                                  : uPVC Class 1 

·       Pump                                   : Submersible/Monoblock  pump, 10 m head, AC power

·       Pipe Size                              : OD 100 mm dia / Rectangle piping

·       No of pots                            : Virgin Plastic - 50 mm

·       Support Materials              : Modular GI

·       Coco Peats/Clayball           : 100% natural organic, 09 times water holding capacity

·       Nutrients                             : NPK + Micro Nutrients

·       Form of Nutrients              : Chelated                        

·       Grow light(Optional)         : AC Grow light (4:2:1) -Red-Blue-White, (approx. 5000-5800K)


Hydroponics Materials & Accessories

 

SN

Model

Capacity

Specifications

Price (INR)

 

1

Hydroponics NFT Net pot

2 “

Made by Virgin Plastic, highly flexible. High growth root  design, Ready stock net pot, Color Black

3

2

Hydroponics NFT Net pot

3 “

Made by Virgin Plastic, highly flexible. High growth root  design, Ready stock net pot, Color Black

6

3

Hydroponics NFT Net pot

3.75 “

Made by Virgin Plastic, highly flexible. High growth root  design, Ready stock net pot, Color Black

9

4

Hydroponics NFT Net pot

5 “

Made by Virgin Plastic, highly flexible. High growth root  design, Ready stock net pot, Color Black

24

9

Hydroponics NFT Net pot

6 “

Made by Virgin Plastic, highly flexible. High growth root  design, Ready stock net pot, Color Black

29

10

Coco peat organic substitute soil

01 Kg

Export quality Coco peat block - expands 01 Kg to 5 kg when water added. Ideal growing media for plants, Retains moisture, stores and releases nutrients to roots over extended period of time enhancing plant growth.

 

Size  0.1-2  mm, granular Coco particle in compressed round/block  form to grow tomato, cucumber, capsicum, strawberry etc.

20

11

Hydroponics Micro Nutrients (Chelated)

01 Kg

It contains essential  micro minerals. Green fine flow chelated form. 100% soluble in water. Highly Hygroscopic, pH   value in between 06-08

600

12

Seed Germination Tray

102 Pots

·      Total Number of Cells/Tray   :104

·      Cell's upper diameter (mm)  : 35  

·      Cell's lower diameter (mm)   : 20

·      Height : 6 cm

·      Tray Size (mm) : 520x300x60

·      Weight /Tray: 140 g (Approx.)

140

13

Clay ball

01 Kg

·     Highly porous

·     Light weight

·     Virgin material

150

 

NFT Hydroponics (Tray Based)

SN

Model

Capacity

Specifications

Price (INR)

1

VGT 01

48 Tray

(576 Plants)

The NFT system including –

·     Coco peat and Pallets,

·     Plastic Tray (LWH 22" x 15" x 6"),

·     Stand & Support Structure,

·     350 Watts Pump, Piping & Clamps,

·     Container,

·     Cabling & Distribution board

·     Nutrients (5000 gms)

69990

2

VGT 02

16 Tray

(192 Plants)

The NFT system including –

·     Coco peat and Pallets,

·     Plastic Tray (LWH 22" x 15" x 6"),

·     Stand & Support Structure,

·     125 Watts  Pump, Piping & Clamps,

·     Container,

·     Cabling & Distribution board

·     Nutrients (5000 gms)

24990

3

VGT 03

08 Trays

(96 Plants)

The NFT system including –

·     Coco peat and Pallets,

·     Plastic Tray (LWH 22" x 15" x 6"),

·     Stand & Support Structure,

·     40 Watts Pump, Piping & Clamps,

·     Container,

·     Piping  & Distribution board

·     Nutrients (1000 gms)

16990

  

NFT Hydroponics (Piping Based)

 

SN

Model

Capacity

Specifications

Price

1

VGP 01

40 Pipes x 10 ft

(576 Plants)

The NFT system including –

·     Coco peat and Pallets,

·     PVC Pipe (100 mm X 100/83 mm),

·     Stand & Support Structure,

·     350 Watts Pump, Piping & Clamps,

·     Container,

·     Cabling & Distribution board

·     Nutrients (5000 gms)

99990

2

VGP 02

12 Pipes x 10 ft

 (192 Plants)

The NFT system including –

·     Coco peat and Pallets,

·     PVC Pipe (100 mm X 100/83 mm),

·     Stand & Support Structure,

·     125 Watts  Pump, Piping & Clamps,

·     Container,

·     Cabling & Distribution board

·     Nutrients (5000 gms)

29990

3

VGP 03

06 Pipes x 10 ft

 (96 Plants)

The NFT system including –

·     Coco peat and Pallets,

·     Plastic Tray (LWH 22" x 15" x 6"),

·     Stand & Support Structure,

·     40 Watts Pump, Piping & Clamps,

·     Container,

·     Piping  & Distribution board

·     Nutrients (1000 gms)

19990

 

 Solar Power Bank

 

Technical specifications:

Location                              : Indoor

Type of System                   : Off Grid

Area                                     : 2 Sq. M 

No of Battery                      : 01

Battery details                    : 150 AH, C-10, 05 years warranty, VRLA,  

Solar Panel                         : 150 x 02 Nos

Inverter                               : 350 VA, Sine Wave, AC power

Cable                                   : Type 1, 04 sq. mm, Polycab

Pole                                      : 75 mm dia GI, Length - 3m