Ebb & Flow Hydroponics System

Robert C. Newkirk, Jr. 

May 21, 2023

Today we are going to take a look at the Ebb and Flow of Hydroponic Systems. One question that comes to mind is who developed this way of hydroponics? Author Danny Danko 2016 wrote an article for High Times magazine named History of Hydroponics gives credit to scientists Robert and Alice Withrow from Perdue, In 1940 during world war ll Robert and Alice successfully developed the first flood and drain system and grew vegetables rooted in gravel and used a nutrient solution to feed the plants. Later the system was renounced as the Ebb and Flow system (Danko, 1).

What is an ebb and Flow or better known as a flood and Drain Hydroponic system? The ebb and Flow or better known as a flood and Drain Hydroponic system is a simple hydroponic system that allows water to flood a growing area such as a growing tray, some sort of gutters, or PVC pipes, from a water source loaded with hydroponic nutrients such as a reservoir for a certain amount of time allowing the hydroponic nutrients to recede back into the reservoir after the certain amount of time has been reached. This system requires the use of a submersible pump and electricity.

The type of system is fairly easy to build. I have built a few of these systems and if I had to rate the difficulty of building I would rank it very simple for the beginner.

The cost of building an Ebb & Flow hydroponic system will vary from state to state and country to country. In the United States, the cost to produce this system is less than $75.00 US. at the time this article was written. I have built one for way less using stuff laying around the home, using recyclable material

such as storage totes, and net pots built from recyclable food containers, and I have even used a pool pump from an old above-ground pool that I bought from Walmart many years ago. Be creative and let your mind explore, that is part of the fun when developing your own hydroponic system. So be unique and grow something, your way!

Thanks for reading!


1. Danny Danko. 2016. The History of Hydroponics.