We at Emporium Hydroponics are really proud and pleased to be working with University Academy of Engineering South Bank
who are a Secondary School that is governed by London South Bank University
Philipp Herzberg from the school gave us a design for what has already proven to be quite a revolutionary growth system and by working in conjunction with the school we have been able to install this ready to get the plantation into its baby stages! Hydrogarden
have given fantastic support in terms of product supply and additional advice.
The beauty of Philipp's design it that it is a shelving system which can be installed almost anywhere, regardless of space limitations. We made a few slight adjustments, one of them being that the solution flows around the system and back to the same bucket. This means that the nutrients need to be topped up but the water does not continually need replenishing.
A gully system utilises what is known as Nutrient Film Technique, more commonly abbreviated to NFT. Developed in the 1960's by Dr. Allen Cooper It comprises of PVC piping with holes cut in the lids. This constitutes part of the plumbing system through which the nutrient enriched water flows.
Grow nets are placed In the holes and they will contain clay pebbles into which the seeds are placed. As the seeds start to grow the roots simply dangle into the nutrient solution and this is how the plants are fed.
Piping connects the gullies to buckets which contain the nutrient solution and submersible pumps govern the liquid flow from the buckets. The flow rate for each gully should be in the region on 1 litre per minute with a shallow liquid depth, hence the term Nutrient Film and the brackets for the gullies are placed such that the nutrient solution will naturally flow back to the buckets.
Dual Spectrum Lights hang above each gully to provide both red and blue light for the plants to photosynthesize from at each stage of their growth. The lights are effectively a substitute for natural sunlight which means the system can be installed practically anywhere.
A huge advantage of this system is the ease at which the supply of light, water and nutrients can be controlled and regulated.
The system at UAE Southbank is one of an experimental basis where different nutrient levels will be provided to each gully. For this reason there are three separate supply buckets to contain the varying solutions.
For a separate experiment different light powers will also be used and the effect that this has on the crops can be analysed.
Watch this blog for updates as things grow up!