How to use DWC for faster growth and higher yields
Especially for beginners: deep water culture (DWC) is a type of hydroponics where plants are grown whose roots are submerged in an aerated nutrient solution.
What is DWC?
If you are a novice grower, words like “Deep Water Culture” don't mean much to you. The DWC hydroponic system is one of the easiest to assemble and it can produce great results at an affordable price and without much effort.
Here is a great opportunity to learn the DWC hydro method and allow beginners to play with fast and high quality hydro growth.
Compared to growing in the ground, hydroponics seems more complex but it is not. The only major drawback of this system is its sensitivity to lack of oxygen which can lead to root asphyxiation. In a DWC system, the roots are suspended in a well-oxygenated solution of water and nutrients.
This solution has three essential components:
Oxygen : The roots are immersed in water and not in the soil, the water must be well oxygenated so that the plant does not drown. This is done using an air pump and an air stone.
Water : As if you were growing in the ground and watering your plants all the time: this is one of the reasons hydroponics is so beneficial - never having to water again.
nutrients : Good quality soil contains all the micro and macro nutrients that a plant needs to survive and thrive. Since we have no soil, we need to supplement the oxygen-rich water with nutrients for our plants to grow.
Understand the concepts of hydropower and how well the system suits you.
The classic “deep water culture” consists of a container with a lid (preferably black in color), a mesh cup in which the seedling is placed (it is recommended to use a cup 9 cm in diameter or more) , a hydrotron substrate (a bed for hydroponic growth), an air pump and an oxygen stone.
In this method, the plant rests in a growth bowl with a dedicated opening on the lid of the tank (which is also the water tank itself), and a container filled with the nutrient solution (water + fertilizer). Inside the container are an oxygen stone and an air pump that enriches the water with oxygen, which encourages proper consumption of the nutritional values present in the water by the roots of the plant.
However, its drawbacks include a sensitivity to lack of oxygen which can lead to root rot and therefore a daily need for maintenance.
What do you need to know about growth in DWC?
Like all hydroponic methods, it is strongly suggested to use high quality water to thereby control and balance the pH levels.
Since plant roots are constantly in the water, they are exposed and more sensitive to changes and deviations from recommended measurements. Ideal growth therefore requires a perfect environment, combined with daily verification.
Be aware that the growth rate of DWC does not affect when your plants are ready for harvest. The rapid growth will result in larger plants with bulging buds, but they will still need normal flowering time. There will also be little risk of insects and other pests invading them.
Oxygenation of the roots
In hydroponic systems, plant roots can take up much more oxygen from the air because they are not compacted by “soil”. This is the reason why the air stones are so important. As the roots receive much more oxygen, they can stay moist and not suffer the consequences as they would if they were overwatered in non-hydroponic applications.
Connected to an air pump, they create constant bubbles in the nutrient solution and deliver oxygen directly to the roots, resulting in explosive growth under suitable conditions.
However, it is important to note that the water should not touch the medium in which the root is placed where the seed is sown to avoid decomposing. The water bubbles that rise to the surface from the base will splash enough for the plant's roots to develop in the enriched water.
In an oxygen-rich environment such as the DWC system, root development is relatively fast and one of the pleasures of growing is that the visualization of the root network grows rapidly until it becomes a very impressive white root. .
If you do everything right, plants grown in a DWC system (or most hydroponic systems) will grow at least 15% faster. I have seen my lettuce grow almost twice as fast in my deep water crop as it did in my outdoor garden.
However, you can also grow tomatoes, peppers and even bigger fruits like squash.
TWO BUCKETS ARE BETTER THAN ONE
The culture expert Read Spear describes in detail the construction of a two-bucket deep-water cultivation system: inexpensive, simple, economical, elegant, low-maintenance, and very effective in achieving explosive plant growth.
A typical system includes mesh pots and the roots are fed from below with a nutrient-rich oxygen solution. Most DWC systems only use one bucket, this has been designed so that there is an additional bucket to facilitate the feeding process. There are several advantages to this. First of all, your plant will grow tall and heavy and it will grow like a ScrOG “Green screen”, creating even more downward pressure. You don't want to have to lift the mesh pot off the side every time you need to add nutrients or water. In addition, the root ball will fill the bucket and displace most of the water in it. With this two-cup system, all you have to do is lift the lid of the non-vegetal bucket and make your additions and adjustments.
This additional reservoir will also allow you to leave for a few days without damaging the plant. It is possible to leave it for up to seven days in full bloom and hope for a healthy and happy plant when you return.
As the two buckets are connected by a small pipe, you will have to pay attention to the measurements in PPM (The Part Per Million is one millionth is a way to measure the amount of minerals) when you add nutrients. The buckets equilibrate, but it takes several hours for the concentration gradient to stabilize. Always average what you add with what is already there, and there are two variables to consider: concentration and volume. I add 1 to 000 ppm once the two-well system is up and running (with a gradual increase in concentration over a three to four day period), then keep an eye out for changes in ppm. remember that the plant uses water faster than nutrients, so there will be times when you just want to add water.
Once your plant is in place and the bubbles spray your roots, it's up to you to choose where you want to grow it or what type of light you are going to use. This is a very malleable system that can be grown in a closet or other space, you can use a small grow tent with a 450w high pressure sodium lamp, but LEDs or CFLs will do the trick. 'case. Good production.