What is an NFT system in hydroponics?

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What is an NFT system in hydroponics?

What is an NFT system?

An NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) system is a soilless growing system where the roots are suspended above the runoff of nutrient solution. This nutrient solution provides plants with all the oxygen and nutrients required for rapid development.

Thus, the nutrient solution is only in contact with the bottom of the roots, the top of the roots benefiting from the ideal moist and oxygen-rich conditions inside the system’s growing chamber. It is for this reason that plants show a dazzling development in NFT. To try this system yourself, click here .

How does an NFT system work?

The concept is relatively simple. The system is composed of a tank that contains the nutrient solution. This nutrient solution, thanks to a submersible water pump, will circulate throughout the system, passing through the culture chambers.

Culture chambers generally look like slightly inclined PVC tubes to allow the circulation of the solution. Plants are inserted from above. This is how the roots can grow inside as mentioned earlier.

Once all the growth chambers have been irrigated, the nutrient solution returns to the tank thanks to gravity. NFT systems are therefore active recirculating hydroponic systems.

Herbs grown in NFT

What are the advantages of the NFT system?

There are several reasons for choosing an NFT system in hydroponics. Here are some benefits:

  • Easy to build and maintain
  • Fits any space
  • Cheap
  • No growing medium
  • Efficient solution oxygenation thanks to the constant movement of the solution
  • No watering cycles, so no timers
  • Consumes less water and fertilizer thanks to the recirculation of the solution (closed circuit)

What are the disadvantages of the NFT system?

The disadvantages, although few, remain present. First of all, the NFT system is not suitable for all types of plants. Large plants with extensive root systems simply won’t have room to grow. The very nature of these systems tends to promote the cultivation of relatively small plants, such as salads or aromatic herbs.

Salads grown in NFT

In addition, these “leafy” plants require very few nutrients, which is perfect when growing a large number of them in these systems. Fruiting plants would theoretically have higher nutrient requirements, which would make the nutrient solution much more unstable and the system much less efficient.

Last but not least is the use of a pump. NFT relies on active hydroponics . No electricity, no circulation of the solution. And that’s a risk. Because if the nutrient solution no longer circulates, the plants die. Failure of the pump can therefore be catastrophic.

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