We will be discussing what plants are best for the NFT system. The versatile Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) is a type of hydroponic system basically used to cultivate leafy greens or vegetables. It is a hydroponics or aquaponics technique that is especially suited for commercial purposes.
The nutrient film technique makes use of a thin film of hydroponic nutrient solution to run smoothly across the root of your plant. The thin flow of steady nutrient solution to the root of the plants’ channels is where the name of this technique was derived from. Read on to discover the best plants for the NFT system.
Best Plants Grown In NFT System
Nutrient film techniques are only fit for growing some particular types of plants. These types of plants include broccoli raab, certain herbs, spinach, salad or leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables.
Let’s take a look at these plants in details:
- Certain Herbs: some certain herbs are ideal for the NFT system and they are the popular options grown in the NFT channel. An excellent type of herbs is basil because they are the simplest and popularly grown. Their root system is not large and they grow pretty fast. Other types of herbs suitable to grow in NFT include cilantro, parsley, Thai, lemon, Genovese, and so on.
- Salad or Leafy Greens: they include various types of spinach, lettuce, and arugula.
- Brassicaceae Family: also known as cruciferous vegetables include mustard greens and kale. However, the nutrient film technique is not ideal for the types that form heads like broccoli and cabbage because of the space limit. They grow big and have massive roots and their maturity period is lengthened thus, making them inappropriate plants for the NFT system.
- Certain Fruits & Flowers: certain flowers and fruits are not left out in the NFT system. Examples of fruits that can be grown in the NFT channel are strawberries. Strawberries are not big growing fruits and they can fit in a shallow system. Thus, making them ideal for NFT. Examples of flowers that can be grown in NFT channels include orchids, pansies, and nasturtiums.
NFT system is basically for growing leafy greens with a growth period that is short. However, nutrient film techniques are not suitable for larger or taller plants like cabbage, trees or shrubs, and root crops. They are also not suitable for plants with larger root systems or plants that take longer to grow.
Characteristics To Consider When Choosing Plants For NFT
The nutrient film technique (NFT) is a narrow and limited channel that allows a thin flow of nutrient-filled solution below the plant roots. This thin channel allows the upper part of the plant to be subjected to air and also remain dry.
Therefore, when choosing the plants to grow in your nutrient film system, you should consider the following characteristics.
- The Root System Should Be Minimal: one crucial thing to consider is the root system. The root system should be minimal and accommodating enough to convey the nutrient solution for your plants’ growth. We don’t want a heavy root system as this can consume all the space available and clog up the nutrient film channel.
- Plants Should Be Lightweight: because the nutrient film system is narrow, you should only consider growing lightweight plants. Plants that are heavy and need supports like the heavy-hanging fruits are not ideal for the NFT system.
- Short Harvest Period: another thing to consider when choosing plants to be grown in your NFT system is the harvest period. The time to harvest should be short. We are talking about plants attaining maturity within 3 months starting from the seed sowing period. Leafy greens are mainly in this group. Some seed pack comes with the information of the harvest time.
Planting With NFT System
To commence planting in the NFT system, we normally start with seeds. Usually, most hydroponic growers prefer starting seeds in cubes and transplanting them into the hydroponic system.
We recommend the same for NFT and as the seedlings attain a height of about 2 inches; they can be transplanted into the NFT channel. Supply the necessary nutrient solution into your NFT channel till your plant attains harvest size.
When harvest time comes, harvest your crops by carefully lifting your plants out of the NFT channel.
We have concluded that the best plants for NFT systems are mainly leafy greens. The plants should also have minimal root systems, be lightweight, and have a short harvest time.
If you can comprehend and follow these rules for planting in NFT systems, you can be sure of enjoying a smooth and productive harvest.