The plants that are most suitable to grow with deep culture systems are anything that doesn’t have to flower including many varieties of lettuces and lots of different herbs. Besides that, you can also grow tomatoes, peppers, and even larger fruits like squash even though they take a bit more effort. The easiest method you can start with a first Deep Water Culture is to get a full system kit online. Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponic Bucket Kit 5 Gallon, 6 inch.
Weight: 6.3 pounds Dimension: 16 x 12 x 12 inches A complete package of Deep Water Culture System Comes with a 5-gallon bucket, and a 6-inch basket lid Also includes clay, tubing, air pump, rockwool, and stone diffuser Warranty period: 1 year. If you would rather go DIY, here is the equipment you need. You can also find below steps to build this hydroponic system. A deep water culture is easy to design on your own. What you will need: • A reservoir to contain water • 10-inch net pot • Air pump • Airline • Airstone • Some Rockwool/ expanding clay or any growing media of your choice • pH meter • pH kits. You can buy these tools at your local hydroponics or gardening supply store or online. You should not get a lighter color plastic one as light can pass through it.
This will encourage algae to grow, affecting the roots’ health. Firstly, you need to fill your reservoir with the hydroponic nutrient solution that is just above the base of the net pot. If it drifts from the above level, you need to adjust it by using some pH kits on the market. Now you need to connect the air pump to the airline, the airline to the airstone and place the airstone in the reservoir. Place the plants which have visible roots growing out of the Rockwool into the reservoir. You can either surround your plants with aforementioned expanding clay growing media or growing media of your choice. When the plants are still young, the Rockwool needs to make contact with the nutrient solution and absorb the nutrients from it to water up to the plants. As the plants mature, the root system will develop, absorb more nutrients and the level of nutrient solution can be reduced. Therefore, every 1-2 weeks (generally the longest you should wait before changing your nutrient solution is three weeks), you should remove your plants from the reservoir to replace and refresh the hydroponic nutrient solution, then place the plants back in the reservoir. Some benefits of the deep water culture system are: Accelerated growth thanks to superior uptake of nutrients and oxygen from the nutrient solution. For example, you can grow lettuce and harvest in 30 days instead of 60 in soil Aerating the roots improves plants’ absorption and increase cell growth rate within the plants Because the plants are submerged in deep water culture nutrients, there’s no need for much fertilizer Once you set it up, it requires little maintenance. There are no nozzles, feeder lines or water pumps to clog Very little moving parts and assembly. There are a few disadvantages of the DWC system; however, the benefits really outweigh the negative factors, and these disadvantages can be put up with because any type of gardening requires maintenance. These disadvantages are: If the air pump gets broken, there is a very small window to replace it. If the air pump doesn’t work for a long time, the plants will rapidly decline If you are using a non-recirculating deep water culture system, it is difficult to maintain the temperature – the water tends to get too hot from the submersible pump running continuously The nutrient concentration, water level, and PH may fluctuate wildly in small systems. There is a risk of the plant roots drowning in low-oxygen nutrient solution if an electricity outage or a pump failure occurs In small systems with a small scale, it is very easy to over or under calibrate. Any types of mineral nutrients work well in the DWC. Many growers also use organic forms, and it still produces good results with some drawbacks. If you are an experienced hydroponic grower, you can go with the nutrients of your choices. But for starters, and for ease of growing but still get the best results, I recommend any nutrients made for Hydroponics (not the multi-purpose nutrient package for plants) and stay away from organic nutrients. The 3-part liquid flora of General Hydroponics is my choice. It is relatively inexpensive, very easy to use, convenient and can be mixed at different amounts to suit a variety of plants.
If you are a beginner, I recommend that you try with the traditional DWC or the Kratky method. These are very easy to set-up, inexpensive while still producing excellent yields that you would enjoy. You can grow large later after you have got enough experiences. The suggested pH level of all types of plants are from 5.5 to 6.5, depending on the growth phase, and species of plants grown.
Usually, vegetative crops or crops that are in a vegetative phase need pH in the upper end, while fruits or plants that are in a flowering period require the bottom end of the pH level suggested above. Regarding PPM/EC level of the system, it's advised that you always mix in lower amounts than the suggested dosage mix of the hydroponic nutrients. You can follow your plant's response and adjust accordingly later. Understand that plants take up a significant amount of water, but they don't absorb many nutrients.