DWC Water Level: Know How you can Grow Plants in this system
The world is getting smarter as time is passing by. New Inventions and techniques are being developed every day. All of these are highly beneficial for humans and have made life super easy. If you look at Gardening, One prime example of these is Hydroponics. No human in history had ever thought that we could grow plants without soil. But it is now happening in the hydroponic systems. One type of Hydroponics is Deep Water Culture (DWC). It is considered one of the best soilless growing systems. But in this, you have to carefully examine the DWC water level.
Why did we say we have to take care of the water level? For this, you have to read this all-important article. In this article, you will get to know what is hydroponics, what is Deep Water Culture and how you can grow plants without soil by maintaining water levels in the DWC.
What is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics is a system in which plants are grown without soil. In this, vegetables, flowers, and herbs are planted in the inert growing media and nutrient-rich solution, water, and oxygen is supplied to them for proper growth.
Why it is better than conventional growing? Well, if you are growing plants in the soil, roots stretch out to contact water and get nutritions. In doing this, a lot of energy is spent. If you grow plants in hydroponics, nutrition and moisture are readily available to them and plants don’t have to spend energy on root stretching. Hence, plants spend all of their energy on maturation and growth. That is why plants grown in hydroponics show greater yield, and better quality.
What is Deep Water Culture?
Whenever hydroponics is discussed, Deep Water Culture is discussed too. Why? Because it is one of the easiest and effective hydroponic mediums to grow plants.
Deep Water culture or Direct Water Culture is a hydroponic system in which roots are submerged in the Deep Water 24/7. During this, hydroponic nutrient solution and oxygen are provided to plants as well.
It is different from other types of hydroponic systems Ebb & Flow, Drip System, Aeroponics, etc in which water is supplied on a constant basis. In DWC, roots are submerged the whole time.
You must be wondering if roots remain in water the whole time, then they will die. Surely you must have also read and seen plants dying due to overwatering. So, why does the same not happen here? Well, because oxygen is provided to the roots in this system. The airstone and air pump are two main components in this system that continuously supply air bubbles to the roots.
Moreover, DWC temperature, nutrients, light, etc, all phenomena are controlled in this system which leads to proper plant growth.
Set up for Deep Water Cuture System
Deep Water culture has the following components
- First thing you will need is a dwc bucket. It must be of six inches in height and less than 7 pounds in weight. Also, dwc bucket water level should be up to 5 gallons.
- Reservoir. Everything happens in the reservoir. Water and Nutrients are added to it as well.
- Air Pump (with oxygen meter)
- Air Stone
- Plants in net pots have Growing media which has better moisture retention properties (e.g Rockwool). Net pots are used in DWC because there are several holes in the net pot from where roots pass and grow. This makes the root system vigorous and healthy.
- pH meter to measure pH of the liquid.
- pH kits to maintain pH level.
How Does DWC works?
Now, it is time to see DWC working:
1) First of all, we do arrangements to provide the oxygen. For this, airstone is put in the reservoir and it is attached with the air pump outside via airline.
2) Then, Nutrients and water is added to the reservoir
3) Keep checking the pH of the liquid in the reservoir. It must be between 5.5 to 6.5. Use a pH meter to know the pH of the liquid. If it is above or below, then plants won’t grow properly. In this situation, use pH kits to adjust the pH in the normal range.
4) Time to release the oxygen. In this step, turn on the air pump and airstone for oxygen supply. So how does oxygen is supplied in water? Well, the air pump releases oxygen in the form of bubbles. These bubbles go near the plants and burst to release oxygen which is then absorbed by them.
5) After that, plants (in net pots) are placed above the water.
6) When the roots reach the nutrient solution, then witness the magic. Your plant will grow vigorously in no time. This kind of growth blast is not seen if you grow plants in the soil.
Now, there are some changes made in this system. Let’s have a look at them!
It is similar to DWC with just one exception. In Bubbleponics, a DWC water pump is also put inside the reservoir. This water pump moves the nutrient solution towards the top (plants). This is especially useful when plants are younger and their roots are shorter which cannot reach the water below. So, when plants at this stage receive the nutrient solutions, growth happens at a rapid pace.
In this system, no electrical equipment like a pump is used. In this, you only submerge root tips in the water and leave the rest of the roots to get oxygen. It is sometimes also called a DIY hydroponic system.
How much water should touch roots in this system? Don’t submerge the whole roots, leave some area. Water should touch the root tip only and the remaining area of roots should stay away from water to develop air roots. These will absorb oxygen. Furthermore, when you leave the rest of the roots and submerge only the tips, root growth also happens vigorously and Plants grow quickly. Since no electrical equipment is used in this, hence it is one of the cheapest ways to grow plants quickly.
DWC water level Guide
Are you wondering where should Water level be from net pots? Well, stop wondering and listen to our answer. Well, let us tell you first that you have to be careful about the Deep Water culture water level. The water in the DWC reservoir should not be too low for roots to even reach it. Similarly, it should not be too high which may submerge the whole pot in it. So, what should be the DWC water level for seedlings?
It must be only on that level where the top root portion can easily access the solution. Adjust the pot without submerging the seedling or without putting it too far from the solution.
Be extra careful while dealing with water as over-watering to high levels can lead to even deaths of seedlings in DWC. That is why experts recommend extra care if the plant is in the seedling stage. So, considering this, set a proper DWC water level indicator and marker (limit).
How do Seedlings & Mature Plants absorb water in the DWC system?
Well, first of all, the growing medium in the net pots has some moisture. So, seedlings initially live on that. For this, you have to choose a growing medium that has water retention properties. But what happens if moisture dries out in the growing medium? If this happens, then drip some water droplets into the pot. But there is another better method to deal with this situation. There is an airstone in the DWC system attached to the reservoir. This shoots the water bubbles upwards (towards the bottom of the net pot). When these hit the bottom of the net pot that has holes, water is absorbed by the growing medium.
It is done until roots start to stretch out of the pot. After some time, when roots move out of net holes, then it gets easier to water the plants. Adult plant roots remain in the water 24/7 in this system.
How to maintain DWC system?
DWC growers have to maintain a DWC system for the smooth growth of plants. Any little setback can lead to a hindrance in the growth procedure. So, what factors are considered maintenance-worthy?
- DWC Water Level maintenance.
- Maintenance of machinery (air pump, airstone, water pump, etc)
Maintenance of DWC water level
During the whole process, DWC water level drop due to:
- Absorbed by roots.
As we have mentioned before, maintaining water in the DWC system is key to the success of this system. As the plants grow older, the water intake also increases. So, keep monitoring water in the DWC system for smooth growth. Moreover, after every month, replace the old water with the new one.
Maintenance of machinery
Maintenance of machinery is important for the smooth functioning of hydroponics. Imagine if the air pump or water pump goes out of order, the whole DWC system will collapse. Plants will not grow if any of the machinery stops working.
As the roots of the plants in DWC are in the water 24/7, hence air pump and airstone must work continuously as well without any break. If they even stop for just a few minutes, roots will start to suffocate and plants will die. Keep checking the oxygen meter too. Keep monitoring their performance to avoid any setback.
Which Plants should be grown in the DWC System?
Those plants are ideal to grow in this system that does not produce flowers like lettuce, and other herbs. Such plants grow very quickly and the quality is top-notch too. DWC growers also grow tomatoes, peppers, and bigger vegetables like squashes too but that requires too much care.
All-inclusive, hydroponics is gaining popularity with each passing day due to its unbelievable benefits. In this system, you grow plants without soil that turns out to be better than those grown in the soil. DWC is a type of hydroponics that is widely used to grow plants with desirable qualities. However, in dealing with this, take special care of DWC water level as it is the most important aspect of the DWC hydroponics system. Water should neither be too low nor too high as both scenarios cause problems for the roots. As this system has no place for soil, nutrient solution and oxygen is supplied for plants to grow properly. This produces plants with better quality than expected!
How much water goes in a DWC bucket?
In a DWC Bucket, 10-15 liter water can be filled. If you want to know the range in gallons, then 5 gallons is the answer. You can buy DWC buckets on Amazon which has a 5-gallon capacity.
How high should the water be in a hydroponic system?
It should be high enough to touch the roots coming out of the net pot. But keep in mind that it must not exceed this limit as this will lead to submerging of pots. If it does, then plants will be affected and may also die as well.
What should my PPM be during flower DWC?
PPM during flowering should be Between 800-1500.