These are systems where multiple independent
pots are connected to a central nutrient reservoir. It is plumbed in
(Fig 1.4a) or ‘run-to-waste’ mode (Fig 1.4b) depending upon which medium
is used. However, it is undesirable to have run-to-waste specific media
soil, coco fibre, Rockwool) in some pots and recirculating specific media
(e.g. expanded clay, perlite) in others. This is because of the different
feed frequencies and volumes required for each.
Individual pots are top fed and contain
multiple drain holes in their base to ensure complete drainage. Each pot
is seated inside a second pot that acts as a sump to collect the waste
nutrient. This arrangement is referred to as a “nested” pot. The ‘sump’
pot contains a drainage line that is either plumbed to waste (Fig 1.4b),
or back to the central nutrient reservoir (Fig 1.4a).
Advantages of satellite systems
Very flexible because pots can be added or removed as needed without
disturbing the other pots.
- Larger pots can be used for plant
species with large root systems.
- Easy to reposition individual plants.
- Diseased or pest ridden pots can be
removed to protect healthy pots.
Disadvantages of satellite systems
- Top-fed nutrient tends to ‘channel’
downward through the medium where root density is lowest. As a
consequence, roots located off to the side often dry out (Fig