What is Ebb & Flow?
Ebb and Flow Hydroponics System
Most people refer to it as flood and drain or a flood table. Ebb & flow is easy to understand and you can build and manage the set-up without needing lots of technical knowledge. Ebb and flow can accommodate a variety of plants of different sizes and in different sized pots. Flood and Drain hydroponics, in a nutshell, is simply flooding your pots with a nutrient solution at regular intervals and then letting it drain back into the reservoir.
The flooding phase starves the plant for Oxygen so that it feasts on Oxygen when roots are dry. During draining, plants become thirsty and take in more water. This process is repeated once or several times daily to ensure the plants meet the nutrient requirement in between the flooding (ebb). When flooding, few inches of nutrient solution feed the roots from the bottom, while the rest of the root mat is exposed to air.
Why you should consider Ebb & Flow
Once set up, the ebb and flow system take care of itself. It’s cheap to install, easy to maintain and is mostly automated. The limited exposure of the plant roots to the nutrient solution saves you the trouble of actively monitoring temperature, water oxygenation, and other complicated factors common as in other hydroponic systems. Ebb & flow systems are quiet, take up little space, and require less energy.
How Ebb & Flow works
Plants are potted in an inert growth medium that provides no nutrition but anchors the roots and drains slowly. Marijuana plants may be placed either in pots already filled with a suitable growing medium or by filling the tray with a growing medium then adding the plants. A water pump with a timer periodically fills the tray with the nutrient solution, which then drains back into the reservoir. An overflow outlet prevents the tray from overfilling and prevents overflowing and flooding.
The pots are placed in a growing tray sitting above a reservoir containing nutrient-rich water pumped from the reservoir into the growing tray. Here, it flows through holes in the pots to the roots of the plants. The water then slowly drains back to the reservoir through gravity. The roots become oxygenated as they dry out, this prevents rotting.
What your setup includes:
- Plant tray (flood tray)
- Reservoir with a sturdy lid
- Submersible pump
- Inert growing medium
- Two fill and drain fittings
- Extension piece to create overflow drain
- Heavy-duty table/support structure
- Rubber piping
Ebb and flow systems require careful monitoring to ensure that they are running correctly. Other than that, no ongoing maintenance required.