Ebb and flow is a low-cost, high-efficiency hydroponic system. Thanks to its clever design, it allows you to grow plants in a largely automated way. This setup is perfect for the novice-to-intermediate grower who’s ready to supervise their growing system without micromanaging.
Ebb and flow, also known as flood and drain, is an effective hydroponics system that’s becoming increasingly popular for growing cannabis. It’s low in cost and intermediate in difficulty. If you’ve tried out some basic hydroponics systems and are ready to take things to the next level, ebb and flow might be for you.
WHAT IS EBB AND FLOW?
In ebb and flow, plants are potted in an inert growth medium which provides no nutrition, but anchors the roots and drains slowly. The pots are then placed within a growing tray, which sits above a reservoir of nutrient-rich water. This water is pumped from the reservoir into the growing tray where it flows through holes in the pots to the roots of the plants. The water is then allowed to slowly drain back to the reservoir through the force of gravity. The roots then remain dry for a period and become oxygenated.
This is a kind of “fast and feast” model. During the flooding phase, the plant becomes “starved” for oxygen—so it feasts on O₂ when the roots are dry. Vice versa during the draining phase—the plants becomes thirsty and guzzle water.
Once set up, the ebb and flow system pretty much takes care of itself. It’s easy to maintain and works in a mostly automated way. They are also cheap and fairly easy to set up. It’s pretty simple—the limited exposure of the plant roots to the nutrient solution prevents the necessity of temperature control, water oxygenation, and other complicated factors common to other hydroponic systems.
Ebb and flow systems are known for their modesty—they’re quiet, take up little space, and don’t require much energy. If you need your hydroponics system to be unobtrusive, ebb and flow is a good choice.