Plant sapling cannabis growing in pot with LED grow light

Hydroponic growing 101: All you need to know

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Hydroponic growing 101: All you need to know

Introduction

Hydroponics is a way of growing plants without soil. You get all the nutrients you need from water and light, which is why it’s also called ‘water culture.’ It takes some knowledge to do hydroponic growing effectively, but you can produce substantial quantities of quality marijuana with the correct setup.

In this blog post, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about hydroponics for growing cannabis.

How Do Hydroponic Systems Work?

This method of growing uses a medium that allows water and air to flow through it. The plant roots are placed in this medium, which is either solid like perlite or clay pebbles, or a liquid solution such as NFT (nutrient film technique)

Plants will take up the water directly from the light source by using their leaves (this is called transpiration) and the solution.

You’ll need fans for this method because the plants will grow faster and have a higher yield if they are not in stagnant air. The roots will rot or drown if you don’t supply adequate ventilation, so be sure to include a fan that can keep up with your setup.

Advantages of Hydroponics

There are many reasons why an experienced grower will choose to use hydroponics.

  • It’s possible to grow a lot more cannabis with fewer plants than other methods, and the yields can be much higher than in soil. Soil only carries moisture around, and it takes a long time for water to evaporate into the air around your plants. This can lead to damp conditions, which can cause some plants to get root rot and die.
  • Got a small space? You can use this method to grow with a tiny surface area.
  • There is no need for strong sunlight like when growing outdoors because it’s possible to add extra light by directly directing it at the plants. This allows you to get buds even if you’re growing your marijuana indoors where it’s not naturally sunny enough.
  • You have more control over the conditions like temperature, humidity, and airflow.
  • There is no need for a medium like coco coir, peat, or soil, which can be expensive and hard to find in some places.

Challenges with hydroponics

It can be very difficult to get the right conditions in order for your plants to grow well. You need to know what nutrients and how much of them you should use; otherwise, they will not thrive. It’s also difficult for rookies to make things like pH and PPM work outright, especially when trying to do it without breaking the bank.

Another challenge results from plants being exposed to more oxygen which can cause them to grow tall and thin. It can become difficult to evenly distribute the light through all of your plants without forgetting the buds at the bottom, even when using high-intensity discharge or LED lights.

Finally, the roots will have an easier time escaping your plants, so make sure that the pot you’re using is deep enough. PVC tubes and buckets work well for this kind of setup because they are cheap and wide at the bottom, which makes it easier for your plants to stay in place. 

Different Hydroponic Techniques

The choice of technique will depend on your experience and available materials.

Float System – Plants sit in a tray filled with water, which has nutrients dissolved into it for them to drink. The roots hang down freely and get the air they need from the bubbling oxygen rising up through the system. You control how much water there is by adjusting the height of your plants up and down in the water. This method is very easy to set up, but it tends to have a low yield compared to other methods.

Plate System – This works like the floating system, with a few differences: A solid flat surface (usually plastic) that hangs below your lights holds your growing medium and roots. This means you have to be careful not to overwater your plants and cause them to rot, so consider that when deciding how big your reservoir should be. This method tends to produce a high yield with many different sizes of buds.

Ebb-Flow – The water is only allowed in through one side of the pot at a time and is released from the other side when it’s time to give up nutrients. This way, you get a constant supply of nutrients, which helps prevent a nutrient lockout in your plants.

Flow-Through – The water flows in one end of the pot where it sits until the plant roots completely absorb it. Then they are given more water.

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) – A thin layer of water with nutrients sits below your plants’ roots. The roots are exposed to the water as it flows by them, and they grow down into it.

Trickle: A tiny amount of water trickles down from the reservoir into a pipe that goes to one end of the plant pot. The water is then drained back into the reservoir after it’s done feeding the plant roots.

Conclusion

Hydroponics is a great way to grow weed, and it’s not that hard after you get used to doing it. If you can spend some time learning about the different nutrients and how they affect your plants, then you’ll be able to do very well for yourself!

In contrast to hydroponics, we find aeroponics, which you can read about in our blog section. See which one works best for you!

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