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Drip feed your knowledge of hydro systems

Did you know dripper systems are one of the most widely used types of hydroponic systems around the world, both for home growers as well as commercial growers too?

This is mainly because the concept is pretty easy – simply set a timer and your chosen nutrient solution drips into your pots. This allows growers to produce much bigger yields with much less hassle.

Drip irrigation sounds complicated right? It really isn’t! Take the Wilma for example… the pots are filled with your chosen growing medium, you set the timer to the desired feeding duration and frequency, and a pump delivers nutrient solution through the drippers and into the pots. It’s as simple as that. This makes them the perfect growing system if you want to feed your plants little and often but still desire increased yields with the familiarity of using pots!

The Flo-Gro is another brilliant yet simple drip system and it is almost impossible to over-water due to the drip ring only releasing solution slowly… with pebbles offering excellent drainage. The speed of the draining through the pebbles re-oxygenates the roots at every feed ensuring long-term root health.

The Flo-Gro is designed for those plants that you intend to keep long term. We’ve had plants in Flo-Gro’s in our polytunnel for many, many years.

When choosing a drip-feed system, keep in mind that the process has been made intentionally simple, so using a drip system with any media is easy – the only thing you have to do is tiny tweaks to the timing to reflect exactly how much nutrients you want your plants to receive.

Here’s a sample feed guide based on the media you’ll be using.

Coco / Soil60/40Clay Pebbles
Start1 x 15 mins per day2 x 15 mins per day2 x 15 mins per day
Veg2 or 3 x 15 mins per day3 x 15 mins per day3 or 4 x 15 mins per day
Flower3 to 5 x 15 mins per day4 or 5 x 15 mins per day4 to 6 x 15 mins per day

And it’s that easy! The Wilma is an ideal first hydroponic growing system that provides fuss-free feeding and ultimately bigger yielding plants.

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Wilma automated watering in pots

If you’ve ever thought about how you can make growing easier (and we’re sure you have), then maybe it’s time you automated your watering schedule with a Wilma.

This blog intends to give you as much information on the growing process in a Wilma dripper system as possible, so you can decide whether it’s right for you.

How does a Wilma dripper system work?

Very simply. You plant up the pots and fill the system’s reservoir with nutrient solution. Insert the drippers into the pots and set the timer. The timer controls  when the water pump is activated, which is when the nutrient solution is dripped into the tops of the pots. Any excess solution drains back into the reservoir and drips into the pots again at the next feed.

How big is a Wilma?
  • As small as 60 x 60cm or as big as 190 x 90cm
  • Available with 4 pots right up to 20 pots
  • Choose 6L, 11L, 18L or 25L pots
A little bit of history

According to Wikipedia, (let’s face it when is that site ever wrong) the Chinese were using drip irrigation as early as the first century BCE. We doubt though that their methods were anywhere near as effective as our very own Wilma dripper system. After all, how did they time their feeds?

Now drip irrigation may have been used for a while, but don’t confuse Wilma dripper systems with being old-fashioned. They’re far from it.

Wilma Improvements

Over the years Wilma has had a couple of face-lifts, not only making her better looking but much more effective.

Drainage is excellent which means there are no soggy roots. The pot spacing gives plants plenty of space between each other. The top trays allow growers to use different sized pots on the same system. Growers can start plants in 11L pots and can switch to 18L pots.

I bet the ancient Chinese didn’t think of that!

Soil / Coco / mixed media – take your pick

You may have a growing media that you’re particularly fond of using, the good news is that you can use whatever you like in a Wilma. In fact we’d encourage you to trial different media to see how each affects the quality of your crop.

So if you love soil or coco – you can stick to that. If you want to really optimize the growth you can move towards clay pebbles which provide a more oxygen-rich root zone, which drives faster and healthier growth. If you want to benefit from the oxygen benefits of pebbles and the buffering benefits of soil or coco opt for a mix such as 60/40.

Timing – How many feeds

The Wilma drips nutrient solution into the pots at the set times – so you need to set the timer. This table offers guidance as to the times you’ll need to stick to in order to get the most from your plants.

Coco / Soil60/40Clay Pebbles
Start1 x 15 mins per day2 x 15 mins per day2 x 15 mins per day
Veg2 or 3 x 15 mins per day3 x 15 mins per day3 or 4 x 15 mins per day
Flower3 to 5 x 15 mins per day4 or 5 x 15 mins per day4 to 6 x 15 mins per day

You’ll never want to feed your plants for more than 15 minutes each hour. And remember these times are just a guide. You’ll be able to tell if your plants need additional feeds, by the colour and health of the leaves. If they are slightly droopy or yellow, it may be time to increase the number of feeds in a day.

What time to feed?

Ideally provide a 15 minute feed within the first hour of the lights coming on, or the sun coming up. Also one 15 minute feed within an hour of the lights turning off, or the sun going down. 

Drippers?

If you’ve ever seen a Wilma at your local hydroponic shop, then you may have noticed that there are 2 different colour dripper stakes that can be used with the systems. If you’ve ever wondered what they are then let us enlighten you.

The blue dripper stakes are known as ‘Flood’ drippers and are suitable for use with clay pebbles as they have a faster release. It is the free draining nature of pebbles, which makes this necessary as they do not hold moisture in the same way as other media.

The black drippers are known as ‘Arrow’ drippers and provide a slower drip, and are used with Soil, Coco or 60/40 media. 

What’s the cost?

For prices of the Wilma system use our store locator to find your nearest stockist, but in terms of the running  cost, we can shed a little light on that.

The price of using the largest Wilma for 4 feeds per day is just 18p per day! In our opinion 18p doesn’t seem a lot to make sure that your plants get the nourishment they need, when they need it.

Crop size?

As with any hydroponic system you can expect a larger crop, but done correctly an increase in yield of 2-3 times is easily achievable, especially when comparing with hand watering.

The reason for this is that you can feed your plants when they need it, rather than when you are able too, making them more productive.

If you think this super simple system is something you’d like to try then visit your local hydroponic retailer who can provide you with a Wilma Dripper system to suit your growing needs.