What Is The Wick System?
You don't need soil to grow plants, as hydroponics involves supplying the root system with water and dissolved nutrients to equip the plant with everything it needs to survive. There are many types of hydroponic systems which describe unique ways to deliver their nutrient solution and the one you're going to learn about today is the Wick System.
There are no moving parts and if there are no moving parts it tends to mean there's no electricity. We'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume by now you've inferred from the title the Wick System utilises capillary action from a wick being dipped into the nutrient solution.
Here's what you'll need
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As with all hydroponic systems, you’ll need a reservoir for your nutrient solution. It doesn't matter what size the reservoir is as long as it's big enough to provide an adequate volume of nutrient solution to your plants. Moreover, it's easier to control the pH of nutrients in larger reservoirs as the deviations in concentrations must be greater before they have a noticeable effect. In this example, Peter Stanley uses two 20oz polystyrene party cups, one inside the other. You just need to replenish the nutrient solution every three to four days.
He removes the bottom of one cup with a hole large enough to fit most, but not all, of the 3-inch net pot through. Get it as tight a fit as you can to minimise any light reaching the nutrient solution or you'll get algal growth which is terrible for the plant yield. The wick can be any absorbent fabric, such as felt or natural rope, which will allow the nutrient solution to transfer between the reservoir and the growing media. Peter uses a piece of microfibre cloth which normally removes dust from things.
Weave the wick to the bottom of the net pots, leaving enough extra fabric available to come into contact with the growing media. There needs to be a gap between the top of the nutrient solution and the bottom of the net pot, otherwise, your plants are going to drown from a lack of oxygen. It would also make the wick redundant.
Pot your plant with suitable, absorbent growing media and you're good to go. At the end of the video, you'll see Peter showing examples of creating a Wick System by cutting juice bottles about a third of the way up and inverting the top into the bottom. Pierce the inverted section with holes to allow air into the root system and you've produced a homemade net pot.
Remember, as the plant matures it's going consume the nutrient solution faster and faster so regularly check the levels before they get too low.
Have you seen our other Articles on hydroponics?
The Basics Of Hydroponics | The Kratky Method | Types Of Hydroponics | Deep Water Culture | The Drip System | The Wick System | Lighting In Hydroponics | The Ebb And Flow System | Nutrient Film Technique | Nutrients For Plant Growth | Ventilation For Hydroponics | Growing Media Used In Hydroponics | Hydroponics | The Best Way To Cure Root Rot | How To Choose A Grow Tent | The Best LED Grow Lights | Everything You Need To Know About Nutrient Lockout | The Best Air Pumps For Hydroponics | The Best PH Meters For Hydroponics | What Mom Never Told You About The GH Dual Diaphragm Air Pump |