What is Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Hydroponics?
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) is a type of hydroponic system that grows plants in long channels, or tubes. These channels are sloped and a thin film of nutrient water is run over the roots. NFT growers usually do not use and media to support the plant roots. These types of systems typically capture and reuse the nutrient water. Plants for you to grow in NFT hydroponics include herbs like basil, cilantro, oregano, parsley, and other leafy lettuce greens like kale and arugula.
Advantages of Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Hydroponics:
- Systems are lighter than other hydroponic systems and are therefore suitable for rooftop hydroponics
- Very nutrient and water efficient
- Harvesting is very efficient and simple without a media for the plant roots
- No medium allows the plant roots to be inspected regularly for disease problems
- Plants can be sold with roots attached to increase shelf life
Disadvantages of Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) Hydroponics
- Power failure will have an immediate effect on plant health, especially in dry areas
- Plants larger than herbs and lettuce are difficult to grow without support
- Not suitable for root crops like potatoes, carrots, and radishes.
- Plants at the beginning of nutrient channels can outgrow those at then end of channels resulting in uneven growth.
Overall NFT systems are fantastic for growing lettuce and other leafy greens. NFT systems are easily customizable so you can place them vertically in front of a window or side-by-side on a table. This was one of the first systems I built (right) and it was a blast. Many, many different designs are possible.