The nutrient film technique is one of the most popular methods of hydroponic growing among hobby gardeners. It is fairly easy to set up and regulate, and it can accommodate almost any kind of plant that you wish to grow. But a gardener is only as good as the equipment they have at their disposal, so it is important to consider the tools involved in the nutrient film technique before you start.
Here are some important pieces of equipment and supplies you will need if you hope to have a successful hydroponics system using the nutrient film technique.
NFT Nutrients – Obviously, one of the most essential pieces of equipment that you will have to purchase is a good set of NFT nutrients. One of the best options are 3 part nutrients which have different formulations depending upon the plant’s stage of development. A plant needs different levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium depending upon whether it is just rooting, in the vegetative stage, or is in the blooming stage of development. By giving it just the right amount NFT nutrients it needs at the right time, you stand to increase your odds of bigger yields and healthier plants in general.
Air Pump – One of the most important elements of a good NFT system is the air pump. Part of your roots will be constantly submerged in water with a NFT system, and this means that you will need a quality air pump to keep oxygen in the water. If you don’t have enough oxygen in your nutrient solution, you increase the chances of your plant suffering from root rot, which can harm nutrient uptake significantly. Without an air pump, you will have to use hydrogen peroxide to keep you nutrient solution full of oxygen. While this can work well, it can also kill off any organic material that you might have in your nutrient solution. So if you plan on using any bacterial or fungal based hydroponic supplements along with your NFT nutrients, a quality air pump might be a better solution.
Water Pump – The key element to making a NFT system work is a constant stream of NFT nutrients. If your water pump should break down, your plants will be left without moisture and without any nutrients to grow. This is why it is imperative to invest in a good water pump. Spending a little bit extra in this area will help make sure that everything goes off smoothly and your plants get all of the nutrients that they need to thrive.
Grow Tray and Reservoir – A good grow tray and reservoir which will be used to hold the NFT nutrients can be purchased at any hydroponics equipment store, but they can vary in quality. Make certain that you purchase a tray that is large enough to hold all of the plants that you plan on growing and that you have purchased enough to units to accommodate your full grow room.