How to Make Homemade NFT Capillary Mat

In order to make the Hydroponic Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) method, you do not have to use complicated or expensive materials. This popular method is used by hydroponics gardeners because the system provides an evenly and a steady distribution of water along with nutrients effectively to plants, which leads to the overall higher yielding of crops.

The NFT method is easy to make and for a more effective result, a capillary mat can be added onto the system. The NFT system can be bought at an affordable price from your local hobby stores and as for the capillary mat, it is easy to make once you follow the instructions in this article.

What you need:

  1. Plastic gutters
  2. PVC pipe
  3. Flat container with a few inches deep
  4. Cheap plastic tote
  5. Air pump
  6. Water pump
  7. Capillary mats

Method:

1. The NFT hydroponic growing method is one of the low maintenance types of hydroponic system, but do remember that some of the methods of NFT gardening comes with expensive equipment and some of them are inexpensive. Normally the expensive type of NFT methods uses sophisticated pumps, thermometers and timers so that you will be able to precisely calibrate the delivery of moisture and nutrients needed for the plants that you are growing. As for the inexpensive NFT method, you just can use water usage manually. Whichever method that you decide to choose, you should know better and know what is the best method suitable for your hydroponic gardens.

2. The basic principle of NFT method is the usage of a very thin film of nutrient-rich moisture that enables the plants to have constant access to it. Due to constant access to the nutrients, which is in water soluble form, the plant’s roots will be able to have a much easier time obtaining the right amount of nutrients to grow. Besides that, the constant access of nutrients also provides higher plant yields and this is the reason this method is commonly used.

3. If you are new to hydroponic gardening, it is wise to use a capillary mat in order to make the process more consistent and much easier especially for beginners. The capillary mat is used because it is typically permeable and absorbent thus it is able to transfer the nutrient rich moisture directly to your plants.

4. In order to make a homemade capillary mat, you need to place the capillary mat at the base of the tray of your NFT hydroponic system. By using a capillary mat, it will slow down the exact flow of water so that it will be able to maximize the overall nutrient value of your hydroponic fertilizer. As the system flows, you would be able to have quite a bit of circulation as long as the right material is being used. The material should always have good qualities of absorption, durability, and drainage so that you will get a satisfying result of your hydroponic system.

5. Old newspapers are the most suitable and inexpensive materials to use as capillary mats because it absorbs water really well and deliver nutrients aptly to the plants. Although it is good material, there is a disadvantage such as it reaches its maximum level of absorption very quick and drains excesses readily. Hydroponic grown plants need access to oxygen to grow healthily and if its roots receive too much moisture, it will suffocate.

6. Although newspapers lack resilience once it is in wet conditions, it is a low cost replacement that is used for homemade capillary mats. It is recommended that you use at least 10 sheets of newspapers for creating capillary mats, which is quite good for holding up the water so that it flows up a little bit.

7. Place these newspaper sheets neatly at the bottom of the NFT tray so that the plants would be able to have instant access to nutrients in order for your hydroponic system to work effectively. Besides that, newspaper materials also provide a natural acidity that helps standardize the otherwise natural tendency of hydroponic nutrient solutions towards alkalinity.

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