Hydroponics Growing Techniques: Deep Water Culture
Is Deep Water Culture (DWC) as effective as everyone says it is OR is the fact that you are using so much more electricity in AC, chillers and more lights to grow big trees the actual difference?
DWC is becoming more and more popular with certain growing crowds who like to grow big trees. One company changed its already large bucket into a 13 gallon monster but is there really a benefit to having a huge amount of water to chill and growing so much superfluous root mass?
When hydroponics first hit the scene in scientific communities more than a half century ago, the method was similar to DWC—keeping plants in water and trying desperately to oxygenate that water. Results were mixed due to root rot caused by warm water with low oxygen content. It was later discovered that adding water into an oxygen rich environment was much more simple, logical and effective than adding oxygen to a water rich environment.
So, why has there been this supposed resurgence back to what we already know is not the best or most logical way to grow plants (in water and adding oxygen to that water) instead of keeping the roots in air or in substrate with a lot of air and simply adding water at intervals to that air?
The DWC crowd boasts these huge results and makes claims that there is nothing better. There are even quasi scientific tests on-line showing massive results from a single plant that is grown large while pretending that it is the DWC that is doing it. We think not.
After closer study, it is apparent that the DWC crowd uses so much electricity in extra needed equipment to prevent root rot, keep the water cool, add oxygen and bombard the grow area with more lumens per square foot to achieve a massive tree that there is a compounding effect of many stimuli that are being erroneously attributed to just DWC itself.
Regardless of hydroponic method, if you add more light into your grow area, you too will achieve bigger results up to a point. Most people never hit that point of diminishing returns, but overlooking the fact that these gardens are wasting more electricity than a city block is cheating.
Overlooking the fact that DWC requires a water chiller to cool the water to prevent root rot is like overlooking the fact that a house in the desert needs AC to cool it or the people inside will die. DWC is one of the biggest money wasting methods of growing if not the most inefficient to date.
Adding oxygen into water isn’t difficult but if you think all these B.S. air stones are adding oxygen into your nutrient water, you’d better go back to school. The bubbles you see coming out of the water never diffused into the water which means they did nothing to oxygenate your water. But, I use a ceramic air stone which claims it makes micro bubbles… yeah and they are misleading you. Micro bubbles are so small that you would not be able to see them with the naked eye. These porous ceramic stones are making small bubbles but not micro, not nano, not even good bubbles because again, what you see bubbling out of the water never mixed into your water.
The only way to infuse oxygen into a water molecule is to take something out of that molecule first to allow more oxygen into it. This is called Thin Film Transfer. Your expensive air stones don’t do this very well and therefore, you use huge air pumps, with air stones in each DWC bucket thinking you are the oxygen master when in fact, you are a clown.
Oxygen stays in water longer if the water is cool so the DWC kings use inefficient chillers to keep the water cool, to allow more oxygen to stay put, to prevent root rot. Just look at all the brands of hydro systems on the market that do a wonderful job at growing rotten roots. Chillers to the rescue! More, more more. Wake up!
DWC is the most inefficient way to grow due to high energy costs needed to make it and all of its necessary peripherals available so your plants don’t die. But, so many people grow such large plants and talk about massive yields per square foot with DWC. How can it be bad? Try adding the same amount of oxygen, chillers, AC and light to any other hydroponic method and see how you do! Firstly, you won’t need all that stuff, only some of it. Secondly, if you keep your atmosphere cool and in check and you add a ton of light, you too will grow very large plants. Master Aeroponics, a much more efficient way of growing. Use evaporative cooling instead of massive chillers on large bodies of water. Three dimensional NFT is also a great way to grow but the companies offering these types of systems never updated their systems for the bigger growers.
So, we are left with a few companies making totally inefficient DWC monster machines causing more power consumption than all other methods and a ton of growers thinking they are the coolest thing around when all they did was waste more electricity to get more product than everyone else. That’s nothing to write home about. Put your ego in check.
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