Hydroponic Wick System
There are a total of six different hydroponic systems, they differ by how nutrients are delivered to the plants. One of these systems, and perhaps the most simple of all the hydroponic systems is the hydroponic wick system! Hydroponic wick systems are incredibly simple by design, but of course like with all hydroponic systems, you can of course scale upwards.
What is the Hydroponic Wick System?
The hydroponic wick system is classed as a ‘passive’ hydroponic system. This means that there are no moving parts. Because of this, it really is simple to set up and probably the least expensive also. If you’re just getting into hydroponics and would like to see how well it works, then of all the systems, you really should go for this one.
Essentially the system works by a wick which is used to passively draw nutrients towards the plants. Little maintenance is required. Since the nutrients in this system pass very slowly, albeit continuously, this system is best used for slow growing plants. Plants who’s roots don’t like being soaked for long periods will not thrive in a wick system. Also keep in mind plants that need lots of water such as lettuce will not be adequately catered for with this system.
The hydroponic wick system works as follows:
- You’ll need a plant pot or container for your seedlings. You can even use something as small as a yogurt pot for this as it really is that simple.
- Grow medium is next to fill your container. Remember that since the hydroponic wick system is passive, the nutrients will be fed to the plants continuously unless you detach the wick, which defeats the object. So you will need to choose your grow medium carefully. You need a grow medium that will dry quickly! Go for something like vermiculite, rock wool or clay pellets. These three dry rather quick and so will not leave the roots overly soaked.
- You need a reservoir for your nutrient solution. Your plant pot should ideally fit over it but without touching it.
- And now comes the wick! You can use wick of course which you should be able to get in any hardware store. Failing that you can even use nylon rope which has worked well for me in the past. If you use nylon rope then you can fray the bottom couple of inches for better effect. Other things you can use for a wick include a piece of towel or dish cloth. Of course sponge would work very well too if you could fashion one into a strip.
- Position your wick to within the bottom half of the pot once it’s filled with medium. You may need to pierce a hole in the bottom of your plant container to fit the wick through the bottom which should then be dipped in the grow medium.
- All you need to do is keep an eye on the nutrient solution, top up as necessary. It’s recommended that you change your solution roughly every 14 days.
The above described system is of course very small and simple which you can make yourself from everyday household items. There’s nothing stopping you however from purchasing your own hydroponic wick system, I’ve seen many that work very well.