Deep Flow or Shallow Flow Technique?
It was not long ago that I was designing a home hydroponics system that utilized PVC pipe tubes connected to PVC reducers. I thought this design was considered NFT (nutrient film technique) but after a few searches on the web I noticed a few others calling their similar systems DFT or Deep Flow Technique. I went with this terminology when naming the DFT Hydroponics build #1. Because I used PVC reducers in my design there is always standing water inside the tubes, much more than just a “film”. This kept causing me to ask the question, “what should this type of design be called?”
Shallow Flow Technique ( SFT )
Further research into the DFT hydroponics yielded another type of design where the flow was in fact, Deep. Although some of the deep flow technique hydroponic builds I came across only had a few inches of water like my design, there were other designs where the flow was a deep channel more than a foot deep often utilizing a raft system above. It became obvious that different hydroponics system can blend into one another however I believe a specific name yields more intelligent results for future discussions on hydroponics. Enter SFT hydroponics, or shallow flow technique. A SFT hydroponics build would be a system where the nutrient flow is greater than a film but not technically very deep. SFT hydroponics would perfectly describe a system such as the DFT Hydroponics Build #1 we showcased on this site. SFT hydroponics would involve many of the designs that incorporate PVC tubes connected to reducers that cause the water level inside the tubes to be an inch or more deep.
Why Shallow Flow Technique (SFT) ?
Some of the benefits of utilizing a SFT hydro design are that it works very well with PVC plumbing fittings. PVC is easy to work with and widely available. So why not use nutrient film technique (NFT) when growing using PVC? The benefit of SFT hydroponics is that because there is a decent amount of water in the tubes and surrounding the roots at all times there is a certain amount of added safety in the event of a pump or power failure. In a NFT system the roots would run the risk of drying out much faster than if there was a decent sized yet shallow amount of water in the tubes. These reasons make Shallow Flow Technique Hydroponics (SFT) a natural choice for any home or hobby hydroponics DIY enthusiast.
DFT Hydroponics Build #1
One of the earliest DIY hydroponics builds we did on this site was the DFT Hydroponics Build #1. We cataloged the process of design, parts used, and the overall build process complete with scale drawings and many photos and turned it into an inexpensive eBook for anyone interested in building their own. It is precisely this type of system that lends itself perfectly to the newer and more accurate description of Shallow Flow Technique hydroponics. For more information check out the earlier posts on DFT hydroponics category or view this updated post.
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