What Is A Nutrient Film Technique System And How Does It Work?

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Nutrient film technique is a type of hydroponic system that is simple and yet, it can provide optimal conditions to your crops. It's an active and versatile hydroponic gardening with effective design.

Here is a thorough analysis of a nutrient film technique system. Read on and find out how it really works!

RELATED: Hydroponic Gardening FAQs: What Is It And How Does It Work?

Nutrient Film Technique | Everything You Need to Know

What Is a Nutrient Film Technique?

hydroponic vegetable garden | NFT

The nutrient film technique (NFT) is a popular hydroponic gardening system that uses a pump to diffuse nutrient solution to the bare roots of plants.

NFT is quite similar to ebb-and-flow hydroponics, except NFT is active which means the water or the nutrient solution continuously flows over the roots ensuring they are fed and watered properly.

The term “nutrient film” was derived from how this technique works. The shallow stream of nutrients solution flows as a film on the bottom surface passing over the roots.

In NFT, the roots of the plants develop on a surface with a maximum of 1mm of nutrient solution. This ensures that only the bottom part of the roots are immersed in the nutrient solution while the uppermost part is left exposed to humidity.

Why Is NFT Perfect for Both Novice & Experienced Growers?

There are several reasons why the NFT hydroponics is a good choice for both novice and experienced growers. Some even say that NFT is better than any other hydroponic systems.

The following are some of NFT's notable advantages:

  • Easy to set up and relatively inexpensive
  • Less water and nutrient consumption
  • Adaptable to different plant requirements
  • Works well even without a growing medium
  • Easy to monitor root's health and condition
  • Reduced chance of water contamination due to constant circulation
  • Continuous flow avoids salt buildup in the root area

The NFT system is absolutely a good start for beginners and pro gardeners alike, as it can increase your yields without putting extra effort.

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Which Crops are Ideal for a Nutrient Film Technique System?

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The nutrient film technique system is ideal for lightweight and fast-growing crops that can be harvested in a few weeks. Anyone can grow various greens, oriental vegetables, and herbs with the NFT system,.

Here are some of the most ideal hydroponic plants for a nutrient film technique system:

Some growers successfully raised edible flowers such as pansies and nasturtiums which are great in salads. However, NFT is not suitable for growing crops with large tap-root such as carrots.

What are the Components of a Nutrient Film Technique System?

You will need these basic components to set up your own NFT system and make it work:

  • Growing channels. The ideal growing channels are those with a flat bottom and a larger surface area for the roots and should measure no more than 10 to 12 meters.
  • Net pots or net cups. Net pots are the small baskets used in the NFT system that works well as an alternative to growing media.
  • Nutrient solution reservoir. The reservoir is where the nutrient solution circulates. Its size depends on the number of plants you're growing.
  • Submersible pump. A reliable pump is vital in a nutrient film technique hydroponics as it keeps the nutrient solution flowing throughout the system. When choosing a pump, look for the one with an adjustable flow rate for easy modification.

How Does an NFT System Work?

vegetables hydroponics | hydroponic gardening

In NFT hydroponics, the chamber or channel where the roots grow should have a larger surface and should be in a slightly inclined position so the nutrient solution will flow through it.

The plants are located in the holes atop the growing channel. Most NFT doesn't need a growing medium and use net pots or net cups to support the plants instead.

The nutrient solution is pumped from the reservoir to the higher end of the growing chamber. After flowing through the chamber, it will pass through a tube and return to the reservoir.

The cycle will keep on repeating until the day of harvest.

Watch this video by Hoocho on how to build a nutrient film technique hydroponic system:

To conclude, the NFT system recycles the nutrient solution and uses it over and over again to successfully grow fresh produce.

This type of soilless gardening has been proven to provide massive yields despite the simplicity of its design. If you are a novice or an experienced grower, you definitely have to give a nutrient film technique hydroponic system a shot!

Will you consider growing vegetables using the nutrient film technique? Let us know in the comments section below.

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