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Types of Indoor Hydroponic Systems

The wick (or NFT) system is one of the easiest to use, requiring very little maintenance after the initial set up. A hole is cut in the bottom of the pot and a wick is inserted. The other end of the wick is placed in a water reservoir below the pot.

Another low-maintenance hydroponic system is the reservoir (or ebb and flow) system. The growing medium is placed directly into a pan filled with water and nutrients. The pan just needs to be filled every few days and your system will run smoothly on its own. The plant's roots will be able to spread out throughout the pan and receive a great deal of oxygen from the water.

Drip systems are probably the most common indoor hydroponic systems you will find. Nutrient solution is kept in a reservoir below the plants and is pumped upward and distributed to each plant via a drip irrigation system. Recovery type systems allow the excess nutrient solution to drain back into the reservoir while non-recovery systems do not. Non-recovery systems require less maintenance because the pH and nutrient concentration of the solution remain more stable.

The most high-tech type of hydroponic growing system is the aeroponic system. The plants are suspended either without a growing medium or with grow rocks that permit plenty of air around the roots. The roots are fed and watered by frequent mistings with a nutrient solution. To make sure the roots do not dry out, the mistings must be controlled by a reliable timer and should be set only a few minutes apart.

One easy to use aeroponic system is the Aerogarden. I have tested one of these, and as long as you add nutrients and water when the system asks for them, you should have no problems.

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