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DWC growing tips

7 Deep Water Culture (DWC) tips to get your best ever results 

Looking to get the most from your DWC system? Then follow our top tips to growing success.

Check your roots

Before you start growing in a DWC system you’ll need to make sure that there’s sufficient root growth before transplanting. Make sure there’s plenty of fine roots on show. They should be anywhere between 6-8cm long.

Maintain a consistent temperature in your system

Anywhere from 19oC – 21oC is ideal for growing using the Deep Water Culture. One way of doing this in colder weather is to add a heater to the reservoir of your DWC system.

Keep your pH stable

The range you should be aiming for with DWC is 5.7-6.3, at this range your plants will get the most from the nutrient solution in the reservoir.

Managing pH is simple, but if you’re looking for help, check out our guide to how to manage pH.

Make sure to keep your nutrients fresh

Change them every 14-21 days. Over time the nutrients in your deep water culture systems will need refreshing.

Some systems like IWS R-DWC will refresh the nutrients at timed intervals, though most don’t.

Rinse your media

Make sure to clean the dust from the pebbles, particularly if you’re using a pipe based DWC system. You don’t want to encourage any build up that might inhibit the flow of nutrients. You’ll really only ever be using a handful of clay pebbles, so this won’t take a long time.

Adjust your water levels

During the vegetative growth stage when the roots aren’t as full and thick, make sure that the water level is 2cm above the base of your net pot. When the roots have developed towards the flowering stage, you’ll want to let them get even more access to oxygen, so lowering the water level to 2cm underneath the basket is where it needs to be.

Keep the systems running

Unless your system is timed to refresh the nutrients, make sure they’re in operation 24/7.

For systems like an Oxypot, there’s no need to put them onto a timer to stop the system. Just keep it going the plants will take what they need.

BONUS TIP

Check your leaf colour!

If you find that your leaves are Brown, then there’s likely to a lack of oxygen in the root zone. If that’s the case, just make sure there are bubbles coming from the air stones in the reservoir.

A yellow colour to your leaves will likely mean the pH is too high. Give it a check and if necessary use a reputable pH down solution to correct this.  

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DWC V’s R-WDC – What’s the difference

Deep Water Culture or DWC and (Recirculating) R-DWC grow systems permanently suspend roots in a root chamber, while an air stone in the chamber oxygenates the solution. Access to oxygen and nutrient solution is completely unrestricted.  Growth is exceptionally fast and the crops are huge. 

So what’s the difference between the two?

In DWC Grow Systems:
  • The solution always stays in the root chamber
  • The grower mixes the solution manually 
  • Or the grower can remix the solution with a timer, if their system allows this

A typical example of a self-contained DWC system is an Oxypot, which is the easiest way to trial Deep Water Culture (DWC).

If you grow multiple plants though, you might want to try an IWS DWC system. Think of it as a modular Oxypot, it makes managing many DWC pots much simpler.

In R-DWC Grow Systems
  • The solution moves constantly between root chambers 
  • The constant recirculation between root chambers keeps the pH balanced
  • The solution becomes even more oxygenated, which on large scale set-ups means it outperforms DWC

Our largest scale R-DWC system is the Rush, which has up to 34 nutrient circulations per hour, providing more oxygen to plants roots.

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Holland Hydroponics – Oxypot tips

At Holland Hydroponics we’re often asked when growers want to switch from hand watering, usually in a soil or coco grow medium, into a fully automated hydroponic system, what would we recommend?

There is only one answer really and that’s the Oxy-Pot. Although a completely different principle to hand watering as it’s DWC (Deep Water Culture), the Single (1 Pot) chamber is similar to an 18L square pot, which most soil and coco growers can relate to. This means the change won’t be as big, daunting, or confusing, as going straight to something like an NFT system.

To help get the most out of an Oxypot, Holland Hydroponics has the following tips:

  • Always use dedicated hydroponic base nutrients, under no circumstances should you use a soil or coco feed
  • Always measure the pH of your nutrient solution, never assume it’ll be OK as it can differ depending on your geographical location and/or if using a silicon based supplement, as these are known to raise the pH, sometimes by as much as 2.
  • It’s important to also measure the EC, this determines the strength of the nutrient solution, too strong or too weak, could have a detrimental effect on overall plant health, along with the quality and quantity of the harvest
  • Change the nutrient solution approximately every 7 days, as elements get used up, the EC can rise, or fall. Regularly changing the nutrient solution, along with keeping an eye on pH and EC levels, will push plants to grow and flower at their optimum
  • Once mixed, the nutrient temperature should be kept to between 20-22° Celsius, if not problems such as algae can develop, which will also reduce the amount of available oxygen, or a worst case scenario Pythium, which can potentially destroy an entire crop
  • Oxypot’s don’t need to store nutrients in the substrate, a substrate is only needed to support the plant as it grows. With this in mind, we always recommend that clay pebbles are used, as unlike coco and soil, once the plants have been harvested, the pebbles can be washed and used again
  • Clay Pebbles are however porous, therefore it’s important to keep an eye on the nutrient level in the Oxypot chamber as not only will the roots be absorbing it, so will the clay pebbles and the last thing you want is the system to run dry
  • Healthy roots mean healthy plants so make sure the air pump is kept on 24/7, this helps to not only circulate the nutrient solution, but also replenishes the oxygen levels, keeping the roots white, healthy and strong
  • Oxypot’s also have an air-stone locator fitted to the chamber, this eliminates any guess work as to where the air stone should be placed, keeping the oxygen within the nutrient solution at the optimum level

So there you have it, a few reasons as to why Holland Hydroponics love the Oxypot DWC hydroponic system. Not only are they easy to understand, use and maintain, but will help produce impressive yields, not only in terms of quantity, but also quality. Believe us when we say, you won’t look back after using an Oxypot and hand watering will become a thing of the past.