Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

The nutrient film technique (or NFT) was developed in the mid 1960s and is still extremely popular among indoor growers, to this day, for its easy set-up and simple maintenance. NFT is simply plant growth in a constant flow of nutrient enriched water.

The nutrient film technique was invented by an English doctor, named Allen Cooper. Dr. Cooper's main objective was to build a cost-effective, universal grow system that could be put to use even in areas with the poorest soil quality.

The way NFT works is fairly simple - it provides a slowly moving stream of fertilizer solution (referred to as a film) to the roots of plants which are immersed in sloped channels.

The NFT growing system takes place on a flat surface, much like a table, with a series of 1 millimeter to 3 millimeter deep gullies, running lengthwise across its surface. The roots of each plant are fixed in a root cube and placed in pre-drilled holes within the gullies. The nutrient stream is then fed to the plants via a submersible pump. The pump releases water at one end of the table causing the stream to spread evenly to each channel, flowing downward and submersing each plant in approximately 1-3 millimeters of nutrient-rich water. Once the stream reaches the end of the table it is caught at the bottom in a reservoir or tank and then re-circulated. NFT feeds plants constantly because the pump is continual.

Since the NFT grow system doesn't require a grow medium, the over saturation of plant roots is rare and the cost is minimal. However, NFT systems should be monitored regularly in case of a power failure, which would shut down the NFT pump and starve the plants.

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