Growing With Deep Water Culture
When growing indoors with hydroponics, there are various systems to choose from to get results. It all depends on the space you have, the techniques you want to use and the time you have to look after the plants as some systems need more care than others.
Deep water culture as a hydroponics system is easy to get to grips with and doesn't take up too much space either. It is a hydroponic system that will help you to increase yields with minimum growth media compared to when using soil and coco.
What Is a Deep Water Culture System?
Deep Water Culture (or DWC) is a growing technique that relies on the plant growing towards the nutrient solution, rather than the nutrient solution being pumped to the plant. DWC systems may also be known as ‘bubbler’ systems.
The DWC technique is ideal for keeping mother plants, as it promotes vigorous growth and foliage without taking up too much space within your grow room. One example of a system that uses the DWC technique is the Oxypot, but DIY versions are not too difficult to create.
How does the Oxypot work?
The plant is placed into a net pot containing a hydro growth medium (usually clay pebbles) to support the root zone. The roots will grow out of the net pot and down into the nutrient solution as they seek out moisture.
Cuttings or seedlings that have rooted into a rockwool cube or rooting sponge can be placed into the pebbles with the water level an inch above the bottom of the net pot, ensuring that the roots do not dry out and die.
Once the roots are established and emerge from the net pot, the water level can be lowered to an inch or two below its bottom to encourage the roots further. Here you can either maintain the water level from this point onwards, or you can gradually lower the water level as you hit flowering. The roots being exposed to more air using this technique is one of the benefits that the Oxypot allows.
Advantages of DWC
- The small scale system is perfect for specimen or mother plants
- One of the most simple water culture set-ups with minimal hassle
- Less growth media is needed
- Excellent root zone aeration encourages large root mass
Useful tips for using DWC
It is important to be checking the pH and EC levels every day, as there is very little medium to buffer and your plants will suffer very quickly as the parameters change. As the reservoir is so small, the pH and EC levels change quicker than in other systems as the plant is taking what it needs.
You also need to leave the air pump on constantly to keep aerating the water, and avoiding your roots living in stagnant water. It is recommended to raise Oxypots off the floor to reduce vibrational noise created by the aerator, and this also helps when you need to change the water. The drain pipe can be unhooked and angled downwards to allow the water to easily drain out into another container.
What About RDWC?
For a more automated system, you might want to look at a re-circulating deep water culture system (RDWC) instead. This technique works on a similar principle as the DWC, however each of your pots will be linked up so the nutrient solution can circulate through them all constantly.
This technique helps to keep the pH and EC levels more balanced, and your water levels will be automatically corrected thanks to the attached reservoir slowly letting new solution through. You can find various videos on the Nutriculture website, showing all the different hydroponic systems.
If you want to get more information about DWC or RDWC systems, feel free to drop into one of our stores. We can show you the system set-up, and give more detail into any specific questions you may have! Our staff are always on hand at Manchester, Burnley, Huddersfield and Flint to answer your queries.