Deep Water Culture (DWC) vs Drip hydroponics. Which one to choose

Deep Water Culture (DWC) vs Drip hydroponics. Which one to choose?

There’s no doubt that hydroponic farming is gaining popularity—and will continue to do so—due to its convenience, efficiency, and environmental friendliness. But where do you start if you want to join this current gardening trend?

One of the most crucial considerations you’ll have to make is which hydroponic growth system to choose. Your decision will be influenced by how much money you want to spend, the plants you think of growing, and your understanding and level of gardening knowledge.

Though each of the hydroponic setups has its own set of advantages, in this blog, we will walk you through the Deepwater culture vs Drip hydroponics system, their pros and cons, and when you should consider using them.

Deep Water Culture (DWC)

Deep Water Culture (DWC) is a type of hydroponics system in which plants are grown with their roots submerged in an aerated nutrient or fertilizer solution. Deep Water Culture (DWC) System is the cleanest and most basic kind of hydroponics, making it an ideal system for novices. 

Pros of Deep Water Culture (DWC)

Growing plants in a DWC system has numerous advantages over other systems, including the following:

  • Plants get easier access to nutrients and oxygen as they expend less energy on root development and nutrient search. Fast vegetative development will be your reward.
  • Expect high harvests with a daily growth of up to 10 centimeters. It’s vital to remember that DWC does not affect when your plants are ready to harvest. However, fast vegetative growth will lead to the growth of bigger buds, which will nevertheless necessitate a standard flowering time.
  • There is less possibility of pest infestation in a DWC because it does not need a growth medium.
  • A DWC system is simple to keep up with. You can leave your plants unattended for up to 24 hours, and they will still be fine. Setting up a DWC system entails providing your plants with the proper amount of oxygen, nutrients, and water.
  • Watering is also easier because DWC provides water and nutrients to your plants in an automatic manner.
  • Due to the lack of a growing medium in a DWC system, your plants can take advantage of all available nutrients and space to thrive.
  • Deep Water culture systems are easy to monitor if you do it frequently and make sure you grasp the fundamentals.
  • You don’t have to be concerned if there is a power outage or if equipment fails because the DFT systems can keep adequate water.
  • Unless your plants have a root problem, sharing is caring. The nutrient solution is then isolated to a single plant in a basic DWC arrangement, which helps to prevent any root disease contamination outbreaks.

Cons of Deep Water Culture (DWC).

The DWC system has a few drawbacks, but the benefits far exceed the drawbacks, and these drawbacks can be minimized with the tips that we have provided because any style of gardening necessitates maintenance. These are the drawbacks:

  • There is a very small opening to replace the air pump if it breaks. The plants will quickly deteriorate if the air pump is not operational for an extended period.
  • It’s difficult to maintain the temperature in a non-recirculating deep water culture system since the water tends to grow too hot from the submersible pump working continuously.
  • Unexpected changes in the nutrient solution’s properties (due to inaccurate calibration) can have a harmful influence on your plants.
  • In tiny systems, nutrient concentrations, water levels, and pH can all change dramatically. Because of the tiny volume of nutritional solution, calibration is problematic, especially in smaller systems, making it more difficult to correctly change the pH and concentration of the nutrient solution.
  • If there is an electrical outage or a pump failure, the plant roots may drool in a low-oxygen nutritional solution.
  • DWC systems require additional manual labor, particularly in bigger installations. During the growing cycle, each DWC bucket must be drained, replenished, and checked regularly.

What is the best way to maintain a DWC system?

  • It’s easy to keep a DWC system running.
  • To prevent algae from taking over, keep light away from the nutrition solution.
  • Wrapping your reservoir with aluminum foil helps manage temperature and works nicely.
  • Also, change your nutrient solution frequently (empty and clean the reservoir). The frequency with which you should do this depends on the crop and your desired level of activity. You may do it once a month for DWC lettuce.
  • You can “drown” your plants in a hydroponic system just like you may overwater a plant in soil. There are two strategies to handle the oxygenation problem: by placing an air stone in the container to create oxygen bubbles, as well as attaching an air pump.

Drip system

A drip system is a hydroponic technique in which water is applied slowly and precisely to the roots of a plant. This water application could be a mist, a spray, or a standard drip emitter. Micro-irrigation is another name for this watering method, which has been used since ancient times. 

Modern drip systems, on the other hand, are more sophisticated and automated. If you plan to cultivate a large number of plants, you can save time, money, and effort by caring for them yourself rather than employing someone to water them.

Pros of Drip system

The following are some of the benefits of using a drip system to produce plants:

  • It’s faster and easier to water plants with a drip system than it is to do so manually or by hand. We don’t have to worry about system breakdowns because we’re using less equipment.
  • In comparison to a DWC system, it is a more cost-effective approach. Drip irrigation is inexpensive and simple to set up. We can make a drip system out of simple items that aren’t too expensive.
  • Drip emitters are designed to emit a precise amount of water measured in gallons per hour (gallons per hour). Plants absorb water in gal/min (gallons per minute) via standard sprinklers.
  • For faster plant growth and development, a drip system delivers a balanced supply of fertilizers, oxygen, and water.
  • The substrate decreases the chance of fungal growth by only obtaining the required nutrient solution.
  • Drip irrigation allows nutrients to be delivered to the roots of plants in a more regulated manner. It is possible to control the irrigation schedules. In the drip system, we may additionally control the drip location. As a result, there is extremely little water waste.
  • In the event of a failing watering cycle or power outages, you won’t have to worry about the system’s precision tuning or whether your plant roots will suffer from dryness because the growing medium will continue to give moisture for a while after the dripping has ceased.
  • Versatility is maybe the most important reason why drip system hydroponics is so popular. It may be used for both small gardens and large-scale commercial enterprises, and it can grow a variety of plants, including larger plants like melons, tomatoes, and squash that aren’t supported by conventional hydroponic systems.

  • The nutrition solution’s pH variation is a drawback. The health of the plants is affected by pH variations.
  • One of the most common problems with the drip system is clogged drip emitters. The emitter might become clogged as a result of physical materials in the fertilizer solution or as a result of algae growth.
  • If you utilize a non-recovery system, you risk wasting water. However, if a recovery system is utilized, maintaining the pH might be a challenging chore.
  • If the reservoir is kept low, the system becomes reliant on electricity. This will lead to heavy usage of power and will impact your pockets.
  • Rodents can eat through PVC pipes so you need to spend on good quality PVC pipes.

Best way to maintain a Drip System

Even though there might be some challenges, you can overcome them with these tricks.

  • Check the pH level of your nutrient solution in the reservoir regularly to ensure that the nutrients are thoroughly dissolved, based on the solubility of your nutrient formula.
  • Check the drip emitters regularly, tapping them with your finger to release any collected residue.
  • To prevent bacteria and algae development, thoroughly clean your Drip system hydroponics between growing cycles, including rinsing, sterilizing your growing medium, and cleaning and flushing your irrigation system with nitric acid.

Choosing Between DWC Vs. Drip System

Deep Water Culture (DWC) and the drip method can both suit your plants’ modest needs and deliver exceptional results. For first-time gardeners, a drip watering system is a good place to start. You can upgrade to DWC by simply changing or repurposing parts from a drip system.

The following are the distinctions between DWC and a drip system:

The medium between DWC Vs. Drip System

In hydroponic systems, a DWC is employed. However, in soil medium plants, a drip system is used.

Setup between DWC Vs. Drip System

Drip systems are less difficult to set up than DWC. While a DWC requires more complex gear, it is a more exact and automated method of meeting your plants’ nutrition and oxygen needs. But, both systems are low-maintenance once they’ve been set up.

Cost between DWC Vs. Drip System

The drip system is easier to set up and less expensive than DWC. DWC, on the other hand, takes a little longer to set up and operate.

Size of plants 

DWC works absolutely fine with small plants. But the drip system can be used with any variety of plants whether it’s tiny or bulky. This gives the Drip system an edge over the DWC hydroponics system.

Performance between DWC Vs. Drip System

Both irrigation systems give plants the correct amount of water, nutrients, and other essentials. So ultimately you can ensure good yield in both the hydroponics systems.

Plants are immersed in specific nets or pots in a Deep Water Culture (DWC) method, with roots stretching down in nutrient-rich water or a hydroponic system. On the other hand, a drip irrigation system is a highly precise watering method for plants in soil.

What Kinds of Plants Can You Grow With DWC Hydroponics?

Deep Water Culture systems are best suited for plants that do not require flowering. Lettuce and other herbs are particularly well-suited since they develop at a much faster rate than plants grown in soil.

 Deep Water Culture systems are ideal for growing kale, tomatoes, chard, peppers, and collard greens.

What Kinds of Plants Can You Grow in a Drip System Hydroponics System?

Drip system hydroponics is perfect for a variety of plants and herbs since it allows you to have more control over water and nutrient inputs while also dealing with a variety of growing media. 

Drip systems are also suited for larger plants that demand a larger growing medium and more moisture for a longer time. As a result, the larger plants receive adequate hydration and nutrition in a drip setup despite the sluggish watering mechanism.

This strategy works best if you start your seeds in a smaller container with a porous media like coir and then transplant your “teenage” plants to larger pots. 

Final Thoughts

By this time you must have realized the fine line of difference between both of them. Drip hydroponics will give you an edge in a few genuine ways. However, both Deep Water Culture (DWC) and the drip method can suit your plants’ modest needs and deliver exceptional results. 

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