Today, we will discuss some basic information on how an Ebb and Flow bench system works. Ebb and Flow benches (also known as ebb and flood benches, flood benches, sub irrigation benches, etc.) typically consist of a sturdy and stable bench framework similar to any good quality bench system designed for the greenhouse and nursery industry. The big difference is that the bench top surface is a solid waterproof tray, that allows water and nutrient solution to be periodically pumped into the tray, and then allowed to drain away again, typically back into a holding tank to be recirculated to other benches, or to the same bench at a later time. The bench top tray s used in Ebb and Flow benches from Innovative Growers Equipment, Inc. are vacuum molded from polystyrene plastic. They provide a rigid sturdy bench top surface. At the same time, they have a series of larger and smaller drain drainage channels molded into the surface that facilitates rapid and very even flooding of the bench for the watering cycle, and rapid and complete drainage of the irrigation water at the end of the watering cycle.
In a typical installation, the system will take from 10 to 15 minutes to fill the ebb and flow bench with the irrigation solution, and then a similar amount of time to drain the unused solution from the bench. This usually results in the bench surface having about 3/4 of an inch (2 cm) of water at the peak of t he watering cycle. The plants on the bench will be in contact with the irrigation solution for about 20+ minutes. During this time the capillary action in the root media in the plant pots takes up the irrigation solution, and moves the water and nutrient solution upwards through the pot, thoroughly watering the plant. Since all the plants receive the same amount solution exposure for the same amount of time, the watering of the crop on the bench is very even, and thorough.
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