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The Hydroponics Wick System Demystified

By Gilbert Hernandez

A simple set up used to keep your plants watered without having to constantly be monitoring the moisture level is the hydroponics wick system. It utilizes a reservoir full of water or a nutrient solution and a wick to feed your plants.

One simple way to set this up is to take two buckets of equal size, some soil or other planting medium, some nylon rope, or other fibrous material, and water or nutrients. There are many different ways to do this and some include complicated feeding techniques along with specific lighting regimens, but this is just a simple explanation of how to set up a basic hydroponics wick system.

The first thing you will need to do is cut some holes in the bottom of one of the buckets. The holes need to be just big enough to fit the wick through. Four holes should be plenty, for four wicks. The wicks need to be long enough to fit the entire height of the bucket and to hang down long enough to reach the bottom of the second bucket when they are stacked on top of one another.

Next you will need to string the wicks along the inside of the bucket and through the holes cut in the bottom. Then fill the bucket with soil. Place your plant in the soil. Follow your own gardening expertise, or consult with a gardener for the correct method of planting the specific plant you are attempting to grow so as not to damage the roots or for a proper depth.

The last step is to fill the other bucket with water to a point that allows for the wicks to be dipped into it when you stack the buckets but not so full that it will touch the bottom of the bucket with the holes in it. This will allow the wicks to draw water up into the first bucket and keep the soil moist but it will not be too full as to keep the roots soaked.

To avoid root rot, or simply drowning your plants, and to avoid a flood you must fill the bucket with the proper amount of water. If the water level is too high the soil will remain soaked and if it is too low you will end up with inefficient water supply to the roots.

That should give you the basic idea of the hydroponic wick system. There are many different tweaks you could give it to suit your specific situation. The idea remains the same, use a wick to draw water from a reservoir to keep the roots adequately watered. Some gardeners use a fertilized grow medium and plain water while others choose a low nutrient medium and add nutrients to the reservoir. Each method works well it just depends on what you have to work with.

As you can see the idea is the same, use a wick to keep the plants root system fed. The techniques are just adjusted based on the facts mentioned earlier, space, experience level, and available supplies. Get out there and try a few things out, and remember to be patient. Happy Gardening!

Indoor gardening ideas for the hydroponics wick system and other hydroponic gardening ideas can be found at

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Hernandez, Gilbert "The Hydroponics Wick System Demystified." The Hydroponics Wick System Demystified. 3 Jul. 2010. 14 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Hernandez, G (2010, July 3). The Hydroponics Wick System Demystified. Retrieved August 14, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Hernandez, Gilbert "The Hydroponics Wick System Demystified"

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