How Does NFT Work? A Beginner's Guide
Have you ever seen those vertical planters with little tubes running up and down them and wondered how they work? Those are called NFT (nutrient film technique) systems, and they are a type of hydroponic gardening. In this type of system, plants are grown in a soilless medium, and their roots are constantly bathed in a nutrient-rich solution.
NFT systems can be used to grow a variety of plants, including vegetables, herbs, and flowers. In this guide, we will explain how NFT systems work and some of the benefits of using them. We will also touch on some things you should look out for when setting up your own NFT system.
How Does NFT Work?
NFT systems consist of a long, shallow channel that is sloped slightly so that one end is higher than the other. This slope allows a thin film of nutrient solution to flow down the length of the channel. The plants are placed in holes along the sides of the channel, and their roots hang down into the nutrient solution.
A pump is used to circulate the solution through the system, and the entire setup is usually housed inside a greenhouse or grow room. The ideal temperature for an NFT system is between 20-22 degrees Celsius.
What Are The Benefits Of Using An NFT System?
There are several benefits to using an NFT system over other types of hydroponic setups. First, because the roots are constantly exposed to oxygenated water, plants grown in an NFT system tend to be healthier and more disease-resistant than those grown in other types of systems.
Second, because only a small amount of water is used in an NFT system (as opposed to a deep water culture system, for example), it is "drought-tolerant"! This makes it an ideal choice for locations where water is scarce or expensive.
Finally, NFT systems are relatively easy to set up and maintain, making them a good choice for beginner hydroponic gardeners.
To summarise all the benefits of NFT:
- Increased yields: Because the roots are constantly bathed in fresh nutrients, plants grown in an NFT system grow more quickly and produce more fruit or flowers than plants grown in soil.
- Reduced water usage: Since only a small amount of water is used in an NFT system, it is a very efficient way to grow plants.
- Reduced risk of disease: Since the roots are not submerged in water, they are less likely to be infected by harmful bacteria or fungi.
- Easy to set up and maintain: NFT systems can be easily set up and maintained with minimal effort.
- Can be used indoors or outdoors: NFT systems can be used indoors or outdoors, making them a versatile option for growers.
- Can be automated: Many commercial NFT systems are automated, which reduces labor costs.
What Should You Look Out For When Setting Up Your Own NFT System?
There are a few things you should keep in mind when setting up your own NFT system. First, make sure that your pump is strong enough to circulate all of the nutrient solution through your channels without any leaks. Second, avoid using PVC pipe for your channels; PVC can leach chemicals into your nutrient solution that can harm your plants. Finally, make sure to tap your channels regularly so that they do not become clogged with mineral buildup from the water. Do you have any tips? Yes! Here are a few tips to keep in mind when setting up your own NFT system:
1) Use a high-quality pump that is designed for hydroponic use; this will help ensure that your solution stays aerated and free of harmful bacteria.
2) Make sure your channels are made from food-grade materials such as stainless steel or glass; this will help prevent contamination of your plants' roots.
3) Be sure to clean your channels regularly; buildups of mineral deposits and roots can clog your channels, pumps and prevent proper circulation of your nutrient solution.
Overall, setting up an NTF system is relatively easy compared to other types of hydroponics setups - and the benefits are well worth it! By following the tips in this guide, you can set up your own healthy and productive NFT garden in no time at all!
Watch Chris' video about NFT to learn more tips and tricks about NFT