One of the best ways to care for your plants at home is the recirculating deep water culture (DWC) system. While this may not be the most common method of treatment, it actually allows your plants to thrive in almost ideal conditions that promote growth and wellbeing.
Not only is it effective, and good for your plants, it is easy to set up en masse, allowing you to grow large numbers of plants with less maintenance than similar methods.
The roots of the plants are submerged (or suspended) in both nutrient-rich solution and oxygenated water in DWC. The fertilizer and water solution are stored in a reservoir for use by the plants. DWC systems come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and the one we'll be exploring today is RDWC, or, to use its full name, recirculating deep water culture.
Follow this guide, for step-by-step instructions on building your own recirculating DWC system, and learn how they can make a huge impact on your harvest. If you decide to take a shortcut and buy a premade system we recommend the Bavnnro RDWC Hydroponic Bucket System or the Artisun Technology RDWC Grow Kit.
What You Will Need
In order to set up your own recirculating DWC system, you will require the following:
- A large reservoir for nutrient collection
- A light-proof container, to store your large reservoir
- 5-gallon dark-colored buckets with lids (with a drilled hole of about 3 inches)
- Net pots
- Air stones
- Air tubing
- Air pumps
- Growing medium, such as compost or soil
- Nutrient solution, recipes for these can be found online if you wish to make your own
- pH meter
- Connecting pipes
- Grow Lights, should you wish to set up a DWC system indoors
How To Build A Recirculating DWC System
The first thing you need to do is get a large reservoir tank for the storage of your nutrient solutions. You will need to connect this tank to the smaller reservoirs or buckets for every plant. All of the small buckets or reservoirs will then be connected together by pipelines.
The purpose of the larger tank is to pass or provide fertilizer solutions to smaller buckets. It will now be recirculated or returned to the huge tank. An inline water filter is used to recirculate and control the water. The roots of your plants will be totally submerged in this nourishing solution.
Get an air pump and air stones to place in the large reservoir and each bucket. Air stones, when used in conjunction with air pumps, produce bubbles that aid in gas exchange and adequate aeration. As a result, your plants' roots will be well oxygenated, which is essential for their survival in your recirculating DWC.
To keep your plants contained, use net pots. Because of the holes in the net pots, your plant roots will be able to reach below the nutritional water solution. Then fill the net pots with a suitable aquatic growing medium.
After you've completed setting up your deep water growing system, check the pH level. For optimal results, keep the pH between 5.5 and 6.5.
Replace the nutrition solution in your reservoir weekly or every two weeks. Check the nutrient levels in your reservoir with an EC meter and a PPM meter at all times, for the best possible results.
The Benefits Of A Recirculating DWC System
There are several benefits to using a recirculating DWC system, as opposed to other similar systems.
In a typical deep water culture, the hassle of looking after each system's pH and nutrition levels is ever-present. This means that, although typical deep water cultures can be great for a small system when you want a larger system with more plants, a recirculating deep water system should be your first choice.
It is possible to grow tall, large plants in a recirculating deep water culture system. Fertilization is not necessary because the plants are constantly submerged in nutrient-rich water solutions. Plants will also develop faster because nutrients are taken immediately and easily. Furthermore, the well-oxygenated system aids nutrition absorption.
Note: A recirculating deep water culture system's components are easily accessible and quick to set up. This system is cost-effective, and it doesn't require much maintenance once it's up and running.
Your recirculating DWC system grows plants as quickly as possible, making it ideal for getting the most yield in the shortest amount of time. Thanks to the shared everything system, you can also save time by tending to all of the plants at the same time when it comes to nutrition changes.
Maintenance becomes a snap with only one system to keep track of, but you must still keep an eye on it. Because one pot is connected to the others, any issue that affects one quickly spreads to the others.
Buying A Pre-Made Recurring DWC System
While it is possible to buy a pre-made RDWC system, the results are often varied and unpredictable. It may also be daunting for new gardeners to get to grips with some of the more complex systems available for purchase.
Building your own RDWC system allows you to personalize your gardening experience, as you are in complete control of the project. It also allows you to cater to what you need as an individual, as one person’s usage of an RDWC may vary widely from other users.
It can also be more cost-effective, as only you will know exactly what you need, and in what quantities. While building your own RDWC may seem like a hassle at first, having the ability to set up your own system, having it be personalized for you, and knowing that the yield of your work was entirely off your own back, can be extremely satisfying.
Simply combine your nutrition and continue to run the pumps. Make sure you set up your plants so that the roots of your seedlings are in contact with the liquid, place them in the growing medium, and just like that, you should start to see the fruits of your labor within mere days.