Posted on by Jason Gibson

What is Deep Water Culture (DWC)

Deep water culture is a soil-less method of growing plants.

Rather than growing in soil, you use a large reservoir containing a nutrient solution. The nutrient solution must be aerated (oxygenated) for it to be truly effective hydroponic system, this is usually achieved with the use of an Air Pump and Air Stones.

The plants root-zone is partially suspended in this aerated solution, as roots need oxygen to form.

The plant uses capillary action to transport nutrients, the air contained within the nutrient solution is vital for the root zone to form properly.

 

HOW CAN DWC WORK FOR ME?

DWC growing can be done indoors and out.

Whether using a system with 24-sites or just one, you will be able to root cuttings using this application, or just grow a single plant into a monster.

Whichever style you choose, because of the systems versatility it can be modified to suit any project very easily, and quickly.

 

DWC & TEMPERATURE

Temperature in any form of gardening is something we are all aware of, the same applies to DWC growing.

Our reservoir will have a Min and a Max for temperature, exceeding either of those windows can result in health problems for your plants.

To help maintain correct temperatures, we advise changing your reservoir’s nutrient solution every 2-4 weeks.

While DWC growing does require some maintenance and monitoring, if your setup falls outside of the optimal temperature ranges for short periods of time (few hours), your plants should be fine, if you leave your plants for days without adjusting temperature issues, you will start to see problems arise.

Water temperature ranges for DWC systems:

The perfect range; 18C – 21.5C (65-70F)

Temperatures 18C or lower, and the plants will go into shock, the drop-in temperature will cause cellular activity to stop, rapidly declining plant health.

Temperatures 21.5C or higher, will result in the level of (DO) Dissolved oxygen to go much too low for the plants daily requirements, at this temperature or higher more worrying things like pathogens and root diseases form rapidly.

What is Deep Water Culture (DWC)

DWC & pH (Power of Hydrogen)

As with most indoor gardening methods, plants generally uptake nutrients when all factors are in place.

Let’s talk briefly about pH;

Regularly checking your pH level informs you whether or not your plants can consume food.

Plants absorb nutrients when the pH of the nutrient solution is in range.

Most plants hydroponically grown, will grow perfectly between the pH range of          5.5 – 6.5

If the pH range goes outside of that suggested window, then some nutrients will become “unavailable” to the plant, resulting in deficiencies and growth problems.

To correct these drops, we can do a few things:

To lower the pH, we can use a product called pH down. This is basically an acid, by adding a few drops we can change the pH.

We can also add more of the base nutrient (food) and this will also lower the pH, in hydroponics this is generally the go-to method.

To correct these rises, we can do a few things:

To Increase the pH, we can use a product called pH up. By adding a few drops we can increase the pH.

We can also dilute our solution by removing 5L at a time and re-adding the appropriate amount of water to dilute.

  

DWC & EC (Electrical Conductivity)

Regularly checking your EC level informs you of how much food your plants have available to them and whether or not they can consume.

Plants absorb nutrients when the pH of the nutrient solution is in range.

Most plants hydroponically grown, will grow perfectly between the pH range of          5.5 – 6.5

If the EC range goes above of the recommended number, then some nutrients will become “locked out” to the plant, resulting in poor growth and deficiencies and/or toxicities.

 

To be continued...

(Part 2 of the DWC guide will be posted later this week.)