Updated: Feb 13
Deep water culture is a method of growing plants in nutrient rich, aerated water that recirculates through the system. The reason it is called "deep" is because of the small air bubbles that travel up and through the water from your air stone at the bottom of the tank and their need for deeper water. As these air bubbles travel upwards they spin, gathering more oxygen and releasing it into your water increasing your overall (DO) dissolved oxygen levels. The more water volume you have in your overall system the less your pH, temperatures and PPM will fluctuate as well, making the deep aspect of this growing system and the combined grow chambers a useful tool in your overall reservoir size needed.
If you have ever heard the term "look at your roots, not your fruits" then you have an understanding of why growing in this style of hydroponics can be very lucrative. When your roots have little to no resistance to push against for growth, proper temperatures, oxygen and nutrients then you will see the incredibly fast, lush growth DWC is famous for.
Hydroponic DWC plants grown this way have immediate access to all the nutrients they need at any given moment making them easy to over feed if its not done right. All of our consulting programs come with fully structured programs containing write ups on your specific strain, growing system and its needs at any given time complete with feed charts and environmental control sheets all on a weekly bases.
Maintaining a fairly low parts per million of nutrient strength and only raising at peak flowering periods coupled with regular flushing will keep your plants from getting too much nutrients. If your plants leaves get what's called "tip burn" where the tips of the leaves begin to get slightly yellow, or burnt and crisp in later stages then you have added too much nutrients. Prior to this happening the plants will likely be a very deep green in color, ideally you want the plants to be vibrant green, not too pale, and not too dark.
Unlike temperature in the growing environment there is no average good level to keep your nutrients at in DWC. Instead it varies based on the strain, type of nutrients added, stage of growth, lighting and intensity as well as c02 levels. These variables dictate the optimum levels which is why we offer custom catered programs for growers.
This growing method is by far the best in case of power outages. In the case of an outage the growing system does not dry out or overfill. Instead the recirculation stops and the aeration stops (as well as everything else in the grow room), however, oxygen remains in your water for roughly 48 hours which is generally the time an outage will be fixed in. Making this growing method the safest in the event of a power outage.
Licensed for a certain number of plants? This is an excellent method for utilizing your plant count and making the most of it for its large bush style growth.
Water consumption, nutrients and labor are at an all time low with DWC. This is because a drain to waste style system will waste the nutrients that you feed them each day, where a DWC system, recirculates the water and it is swapped out once weekly. This accounts for over 90% savings in water & nutrients as well as cuts back drastically on labor needed in filling tanks and mixing nutrients.
As amazing of a growing system as DWC is, it is not right for every scenario. The large bush style growth does mean you will have to have them in the vegetative state for longer, ideally have a larger vegetative room them a drain to waste system would require and deep water culture systems will also cost more to set up then a drain to waste.
We would love to hear from you and help you choose the best growing system for your needs so don't hesitate to get ahold us. We offer free 15 minute consultations and can easily point you in the right direction in that time.
Article coming soon to a Maximum Yield Magazine near you.