The hydroponic NFT system stands for Nutrient Film Technique! This is probably the most widely used hydroponic system amongst professional hydroponic farmers. Perhaps the main reason for this is that it’s so easy to upscale, perhaps double or even quadruple your existing setup for only a little extra cost. As long as you’ve got the room, you can create a hydroponic NFT system for only the extra cost of a few pieces of metal.
Ok so the above statement is not exactly true, you still have extra lights to buy etc but there’s no mistaking the fact that hydroponic NFT systems are widely used by the guys that do hydroponics for a living. This article is going to tell you all about hydroponic NFT systems!
What is the Hydroponic NFT System?
NFT systems are ‘active’ hydroponic systems that work by directly supplying oxygenated nutrients to the plant roots. By active we mean that the system uses moving parts, in this system it’s a water pump. Essentially the solution is pumped up to one side of the grow tray, which is on a slight tilt. This makes the solution run all down the length of the ‘gully’ where the plant roots are. The solution is constantly oxygenated which means the roots get lots of oxygen as well as solution. Hydroponic NFT systems are probably the systems that helps hydroponic plants grow the fastest over and above any other system.
How does the hydroponic NFT System Work?
1. First you need your seedlings or cuttings to have developed a strong root system. In hydroponic NFT systems, they are not placed in grow medium. They are instead inserted in the growing channels or gullies.
2. Your gullies or channels need to have capillary matting inserted in them, this should come standard when you make your purchase but check with the manufacturer just in case. The roots of your plants need to hang down from the channels and touch the capillary matting.
3. Your nutrient solution sits in a reservoir underneath the gullies. Because the solution is on a 24 hour and constant flow, there is no need for a timer as with other systems. Your pump is used to pump the solution to one side of the gully where it will then flow down past all your plant roots. The solution which is oxygenated then exits via the far side of the gully and back into the reservoir.
4. That’s all there really is to it! It’s important you ensure your solution doesn’t run out. As the roots are exposed to oxygen, if the flow of solution stops they will dry out very quickly which will harm your plants. For the same reason it’s also important you ensure you have a good pump that is in full working order. If your area is susceptible to power shortages then you may need to look into an automatic back up. You should also change your solution at least every 14 days. I also suggest you monitor your pH balance at least every other day, especially in the early stages to ensure it’s within safe limits.
If you’ve built your own hydroponic NFT system, or have experience with it then please leave us a comment below! If you’re a beginner and have any questions about this system then please leave a comment!