How to Use Hydroponic Growing Systems for Marijuana
Although growing marijuana can be challenging and intricate, it is a satisfying thing to do. You’ll not worry about the quantity and quality when you grow your cannabis. As well, it gives you the freedom to choose the best strain that you want.
There are various approaches to grow marijuana, outdoor and indoor. Every method has its advantages and disadvantages. Amongst the most advanced way for growing your cannabis is a hydroponic growing system. You can visit website to procure the best quality cannabis seeds, set up a hydroponic system and grow them without soil.
What is hydroponic marijuana?
You’ll get hydroponic cannabis when you grow marijuana in a solution containing nutrients and water only instead of usual nutrient-rich soil. You can use hand-watering containers/pots with a fixed medium that contains the nutrient solution or use of a complex system (hydroponic system) that requires various items to setup.
Many people think that hydroponic systems are expensive and they are suitable for commercial growth. On the contrary, you can use them to grow your plants as long as you have time for setup and provide needed maintenance.
It is the best approach for growing your cannabis if you face the following problems:
- Pests problem.
- A continual need for you to check the pH of the soil.
- When you have to select the best soil. It is vital because the quality of soil will determine the size of your cannabis as well as your harvest.
- You may not recycle the soil.
- You find it difficult to ascertain the correct amounts of nutrients.
Why use a hydroponic system?
Hydroponic systems are of various kinds. They are deep water culture, drip system, nutrient film technique, aeroponics, ebb and flow, and wick system.
Each setup type has its pros and cons. However, some of the benefits that come with the hydroponic system are:
- Hydroponics uses a controlled system; thus, they release less nutrient pollution into the environment.
- Hydroponic cannabis yields are more than when you use nutrient-rich soil. Therefore, it produces potent cannabis that has better aromatics and bigger buds.
- The water you use remains in the system to allow you to recycle it.
- There are no dry spots or root drowning when you use hydroponics.
- Faster growth of cannabis.
- Less risk of destruction on the plants by diseases and pests.
Hydroponic system setup
This post discusses one of the hydroponic systems called the Ebb and Flow method. It is the most popular hydroponic systems.
It is a method that is suitable for people with experience in growing their cannabis plants. Ensure that the containers you use have lids, and they must be big to hold the nutrient solution for 1-2 weeks. Also, you must set up in a spacious place to house six mesh plant pots.
The following are things that you’ll need:
- Plants potted in a fixed grow medium like Rockwool cubes, clean gravel, or coarse sand.
- Water pump with timer.
- Reservoir with lid.
- Rubber piping.
- A growing tray that will sit on top of the reservoir.
Steps to follow are:
- Drill two openings in the lid of the reservoir, and then drill two more holes on the bottom of the growing tray, making sure that the holes line directly above the two holes of the reservoir.
- Join two of holes using an overflow tube that sits over the anticipated water level in your growth tray. It will help catch any excess water when flood levels run too high.
- Join the other two holes using black tubing. The tube will work as a drain and flood pump. Fix the head of the pump in your reservoir to the opening of this tubing.
- Place your potted plants in the growing tray and ensure that the pots are two times tall as the border of the growing tray.
- Set your timer on the pump. You may plant your flooding period to last for about fifteen minutes, and the draining period should also last for another fifteen minutes.
Your draining and flooding will depend on climate and growing medium. You’ll flood two times a day if you’re in a cooler climate or using a slow-draining media such as Rockwool. Using fast-draining media or being in warmer areas allows you to flood 4-6 times per day.
Irrespective of the method you use, the right tools help optimize your harvest. They help you measure precisely the amounts of nutrients in the solution. Therefore, it enables you to avoid too much or too little nutrients.
PPM and pH help you check and rectify any imbalances of your nutrients. A pH meter is vital in determining the acidity levels of the solution to ensure that there is healthy growth of your marijuana. Most marijuana strains like budget buds when using a hydroponic system require a 6.0 pH level with -/+0.2 variation. A study shows that marijuana can grow well with a 6.0 pH level.
PPM meter helps you determine the number of Parts Per Million of specific elements in your nutrient solution. Therefore, it helps you know precisely how much of elements like Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus are in the nutrient solution.
Also, it helps you measure different amounts of the nutrients for different growth stages. The right PPM level ranges 900-2800 depending on your plants’ growth stage.
PPM-EC meter is an instrument that helps you measure the electrical conductivity of the water. It will show higher conductivity when more minerals dissolve in the water. Therefore, it allows you to determine the quantity of food in water for your plants. Too little will slow the growth, and too much will kill the plants.
PPM-TDS is a meter that is precise, and it measures the exact amount of plant food that is in water. To be more precise, measure the level of PPM of the water that you’ll use then add needed nutrients and measure again. Therefore, you get the exact PPM level by subtraction. It helps you determine how much nutrients in the solution throughout the growth cycle.
Nutrients for growing marijuana hydroponically
Hydroponic systems allow you to grow cannabis without using soil as they will only require some constituents from the soil. The macro elements include Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus. As well, for healthy growth, they need microelements such as Iron, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Boron, and Molybdenum.
Hydroponic systems require you to create a solution with the right balance of these salts, nutrients, and water. A nutrient solution that contains all the secondary elements is suitable for all the growth stages of your marijuana. However, it is prudent to adjust the levels of nutrients according to the plant’s growth stage.
Typically, nutrients come in either powder form or a pre-mixed nutrient solution. Although powder form is cheaper, the pre-mixed nutrient solution is best for a beginner.
Hydroponic systems help you grow your marijuana faster than when you grow them in soil. For a bumper harvest using a hydroponic system, ensure to sterile the equipment, check water pH, temperature, humidity, and lighting conditions.
A study shows that different cannabis strains work well under different production conditions. Also, make sure you buy the right strain. Luckily, there are online options available from where you can buy marijuana seeds.