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Hydroponic Drip System: Uses, Types, Set-up & More

A drip system is an active hydroponic system. This means that it uses a pump to feed your plants with nutrients and water regularly. In this article, we have mentioned everything you need to know to make your own hydroponic drip system set up.

Shruti Kandwal
Hydroponic drip systems can be simply created in a number of ways
Hydroponic drip systems can be simply created in a number of ways

What makes hydroponics so intriguing is its adaptability. Depending on the amount of space you have, the varieties of plants you have, and other considerations, you can select from at least six different systems. A drip system is one of them that is widely used and also economically viable.

What is Drip Irrigation System?

Small to big hydroponic drip systems can be simply created in a number of ways. However, they're especially helpful for bigger plants with large root systems. That's because drip lines can easily be stretched across larger regions and flooding the system doesn't require a lot of water.

More growth media holds more moisture when used in larger quantities for hydroponic plants than smaller ones, which is especially advantageous to huge plants since it is more forgiving to the plants.

Forgiving implies that the plants are less sensitive to watering schedules, so if they aren't watered on time for any reason, don't become upset right away. The most common hydroponic system is the drip system. This type of hydroponics adopts the most water-efficient irrigating technique used in conventional farming and adapts it to a soilless growing system that is so straightforward, effective, and adaptable that it is being used to produce bountiful crops by everyone from city dwellers living in small apartments to some of the largest commercial hydroponic farms around the world.

How Does the Drip System Work?

Typically, plants in the system are kept in individual pots. Water is delivered to the plants via a tubing system from the reservoir. There are two ways to press the water supply. A typical water pump or a gravity-based system can be applied. At least one individual drip emitter is given to each plant. Each emitter has controls that allow you to adjust the water flow. As a result, the system is more flexible overall since you can adjust the flow rates for various plants.

The flow to the plants in a drip system has to be managed. The expanding medium requires time to regain its breath in between flows.

If a drip system is not controlled, it will eventually flood the plants and drown them.

All drip systems use some kind of timer mechanism to regulate the flow of water and nutrients to the plants. The pump is often used multiple times each day to supply water to the plants.

Such a system necessitates much preparation and work in the beginning. However, the system can work independently when the drip lines are correctly installed. These systems may be developed with a high degree of automation.

Types of Hydroponic Drip Systems

There are two types of hydroponic drip systems:

Recirculating/Recovery Systems

The water that is provided to the hydroponic medium is not entirely absorbed by the plant's roots. The extra water that is left in the medium is allowed to flow back to the reservoir in recovery systems.

Smaller, domestic drip hydroponic setups are particularly common with this type of system. The technique has some drawbacks even though it is more effective at using water and nutrients.

When the wastewater is allowed to flow back into the reservoir, it affects the pH level of the water in the reservoir. This suggests that you need to keep your recovery systems up to date.

The reservoir water will need to be analyzed to make sure that the optimum pH and nutrition levels are maintained. This is easier and more cost-effective with smaller drip systems.

Non-Recovery/Non-Circulating System

As the name implies, any extra water is permitted to drain out as waste with this system. Under normal circumstances, wasting water and nutrients in this manner is not really desirable. However, because drip irrigation systems are so conservative, there is comparatively less wastage.

In larger commercial drip hydroponic systems, this sort of system is fairly common. To have the most control over the water flow, commercial farmers have access to sophisticated timers. Run-off can be minimized as a result.

Another aspect contributes to the high demand for such a system among commercial growers. Water in the reservoir needs minimal care.

You don't need to be concerned about the recycled water changing the reservoir water's pH or nutrient levels.

How to Set up a Drip Hydroponic System

The drip system is quite adaptable, as was already explained. According to the size and complexity of a growing activity, it may scale well. The following necessary supplies are needed for a basic drip system:

  • Drip Emitters: You will need to purchase an emitter for each plant, depending on how many you plan to cultivate. They are easily accessible from hydroponic suppliers and garden centers.

  • Thin Tubing: For a drip emitter, spaghetti tubing, which is widely accessible on the market, is ideal.

  • PVC Tubing: These will be the main pipes connecting the emitters with the reservoir pump and the water and nutrients inside. The size and complexity of your arrangement will determine the length and quantity of tubes needed. Two-inch tubes are sufficient for more modest home-based setups.

  • Water Pump: For the task, a standard submersible pump is more than sufficient. For modest systems, capacities of 120-300 gallons per minute should be adequate.

  • A Tray: The best results in smaller recirculating systems can be obtained by having all the pots drain into a single tray. As opposed to using separate run-off tubes from each pot to the reservoir, this is a simpler choice.

  • A Large Bucket/Bin: The reservoir will be made of this. Depending on the size of your setup, choose a capacity between 10 and 20 gallons.

  • Small pots for your plant

  • A Garden timer for the pump

  • Aquarium grade silicone sealant

  • A Hydroponic growing medium like coco coir

  • A power drill, and a hacksaw or PVC cutter to cut the pipes
  • The basic drip setup is easy. Put the pump inside the reservoir and use spaghetti tubing and PVC to link it to the emitters. In each pot, insert a separate drip emitter into the growth material.

  • Don't forget to make sure the pots contain drainage holes.

  • Moreover, you can make the system function without drip emitters. Simply make holes in the tubing and put it straight into the growing medium as an alternative. The emitters do, however, offer additional water flow control.

  • Put the pots in the tray and arrange the equipment so that the runoff will drain into the reservoir. Give it a height advantage above the reservoir of at least a few inches for gravity to work.

  • To bring the water back in if the reservoir is higher up, you will need a pump.

  • Set the timer to run on a regular schedule, such as for 5 minutes three times each day, by attaching it to the pump's power source. There may be variations depending on the plant's water needs.

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