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Passive Hydroponics: the wick system

The wick system is very similar to the Kratsky method, except that it is not the roots that will soak in the water and collect the nutrient solution, but a wick, which will bring it up by capillary action.

Installing a wicking system

To build a wick system, you need

  • A container where the plant will be. It can be a cup, a pot, a bottle neck …
  • A reservoir protected from light and air. It must have a large enough capacity not to have to fill it too often.
  • A substrate to hold the plant. The best substrates are vermiculite, coconut fiber and peat moss because of their absorption capacity.
  • A wick, obviously, in a fiber that allows the nutrient solution to rise by capillary action. This will often be a nylon cord. It will be installed through the holes at the base of the bucket.
  • And the nutrient solution.

You put the wick in the base of the cup and let it hang down; you put the medium and its seed in the cup, put the solution in the reservoir, then finish the whole thing, and that’s it.

We use this technique for small plants, not too greedy.

Advantages and disadvantages of the wicking system

The main advantage of the wick system is its simplicity: you don’t need a pump or even electricity. It requires a little more equipment than the kratki method, since the tank and the cup are well separated.

The disadvantage is that you have to follow the culture more carefully, since you have to add water. You also have to avoid contamination, for example if the water becomes stagnant or the system is not cleaned for too long. It is also important to make sure that the solution contains enough oxygen. Finally, the transfer capacity of the wick is not huge, so the system is limited to small plants.