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Easy Top Feed and Spray Systems

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Looking at trying to set up your first hydroponics project? Have questions about some of the common types of setups?

Top feed systems are another type of system that sound more complicated than they actually are. If you don't know anything about these systems, and just judge them by their names, you might be intimidated. In reality, these systems are so simple, you probably won't need to read much before putting them in.

Set plants in a pot

One of the most basic steps of this process is to set plants in plant pots. Now of course since it's hydroponics, you won't be using soil. So what do you use instead?

Well, you use things like rockwool, clay pellets and coco coir. But you don't have to be an expert in what these things consist of. You just pick up a package at a hydroponics store and take it and put it in a pot, and then you settle the plant roots in it. The plants are still in a regular pot -- they're just using something else instead of soil.

Getting feeders and spray emitters

One easy way to think about the gear that runs top feed systems is that it's very similar to what you see in your modern supermarket. High-end supermarkets use these types of devices, the drippers and the sprayers, to keep plants irrigated and fresh for sale. The same principle applies to hydroponics. The only difference is that you're feeding your spray tubes with nutrient rich water from a hydroponic reservoir.

The reservoir goes on the floor and the water is inside. You put a pump in there that's attached to the drippers or sprayers.

With a top-down system, you simply put a drip tube into the top of the plant pot. When the water comes out, it trickles down and feeds plant roots. With a spray system, you're spraying the water into the plant pot. That's the only difference.

One of the biggest steps with this kind of system is to make sure that the water delivery tubing isn't leaking as it's going around your garden. You'll probably have plants in neat rows, with long tubes that have outlets for each plant pot. So there are a fair number of joints and couplings and fixtures to keep track of - you want to make sure that tubes are well-rounded, that they don't come out too low in the plant pot to be able to nourish roots.

So in the end, making a top feed system is mostly a study in structural engineering. It's not something you have to know a lot about chemistry in order to do. You don't really need to know a whole lot about the physics that's involved. You just have to make sure, just like your home plumbing system, that there aren’t any leaks.

It's crazy to think about how easy these systems really are when you get right down to it. You can buy a great set of gear from a hydroponic retailer and put together your own garden structure in no time flat. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll be off to the races!

 
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