Hydroponics is a soilless method of growing marijuana using only water as the main medium, as the name suggests. Marijuana plants are grown in containers or buckets filled with a dormant growing medium in a cannabis hydroponic system and are dissolved over a tank filled with water. Water is poured with all of the nutrients that plants would need to survive and flourish, and airstones are used to oxygenate the tank. Its standard version expresses itself in many various forms and structures, with different growers choosing different setups. There are so many benefits to hydroponic marijuana growing systems, all of which would be covered by this article.
What Is Hydroponic Cannabis?
The popular nickname for marijuana is “weed” that comes from its capacity to expand almost everywhere, under different conditions and climates. “hydroponic cannabis system” simply refers to cannabis plants grown just using a nutrient-water solution and an inert-growing medium instead of nutrient-rich soil. This technique can be as simple as hand-watering inert medium pots with a nutrient solution. It is a comprehensive system with numerous pumps, reservoirs, and timers that could take some of the day-to-day work out of growth, but requires more monitoring and set-up time and also higher capital invested.
For many years, marijuana growers used to grow marijuana in marijuana hydroponic system with different methods to maximize yields and accelerate growth and the two important benefits of soilless cultivation. Working with indoor soils could be wasteful and hard for a variety of reasons:
- You won’t be able to recycle soil
- Vulnerable to pests issues
- Hard to know the proper amount of nutrients
- Required to monitor the soil pH carefully
- The result depends on the quality of the soil
You could use small quantities of cannabis growing media that sometimes could be reused also while trying to control what are the nutrients the plants are getting and the pH level it receives. With the degree of control, cannabis growers locate that their buds are more potent, healthier, and bigger. Whether you have grown marijuana before or you have no experience at all, a hydroponic marijuana growing system could be a brilliant idea to produce marijuana anywhere in the world. It may be complicated and a little bit overwhelming at first, but learning the basics would make you understand that it is not as hard as you’ve imagined.
The Advantage of Hydroponic System
If you talk to a cannabis grower who has knowledge of the cannabis hydroponic system, one of the very first things they will probably tell you would be that their hydroponic grown plants expand much faster than those from the soil. This is the main advantage and benefit of this method of hydroponic system cannabis growth plants typically grow 30–50 percent faster and sometimes yield higher yields. A major reason for this is that the nutrients in the hydroponic system are much more available to the plants. The nutrients are suspended in the water and enter directly into the plant roots since there is no soil to explore through. On the other hand, soil-growing plants must search through the medium to absorb nutrients from underneath.
Set Up Your Hydroponic Cannabis Growing System
There are a number of setups for the best hydroponic system for growing cannabis. And while there are numerous types of hydroponic marijuana system setups that don’t use any kind of growing medium, many of them still use some kind of materials to sustain the root growth. Every material offers different benefits and downsides, but some must be put into picking the right medium to use for your marijuana plants. While this method is created properly, it must be stated that there’s a lot of plug-and-play solutions available for all those who are looking for something which is simple to install. Plug-and-play system coms with almost everything you need from a simplified bundle to enable cannabis growers to get started right away.
Hydroponic Cannabis Supplies:
- 3 to 5-gallon bucket
- Grow table
- Rock wool cube
- Clay palettes
- Reservoir tank
- Air pump
- Dripline emitters
- Plastic tubing
Constructing a Hydroponic System
- First, set up a reservoir. Your reservoir should be where your nutrient solution is stored. Based on your growing size and space, the reservoir could also come in different shapes and sizes, but it keeps the water pump as well as the airstone. It’s going to have a line in from the air pump to the airstone and an irrigation line in from the growing table. The reservoir would have a line from the water pump to both the drip line and a power cord and for the water pump.
- Next, you’re going to create your growing table. The main aim of the table is to generate and give back the extra water from the plant to the reservoir. To do something like this successfully, the table would need to have a low point where all the excessive water travels. This low point is where you are going to install a drain that will take the water back to the reservoir through the use of plastic tubing.
- You can then add on the table your 5-gallon buckets filled with clay pellets. You must soak the pellets overnight when using clay pellets to enable them to become fully saturated with water for your plants to drink. Also, buckets should also have holes drilled in the lower part to enable them to drain extra moisture to the growing table. It is essential that the holes are around half the diameter of the clay pellets in order to prevent the pellets from moving through it or clogging the holes.
- Start taking the plastic tube from the water pump and run the line to the growing table. After that, you could use drip line equipment to fracture holes in plastic tubes and broaden the drip line to every bucket. At last, attach the drip line emitters to the end of the drip lines.
- After that, you could also run your system without even a plant to see if anything is working properly. The process must have no stagnant water anywhere. The air pump must always run to keep water in the reservoir moving and oxygenated, while the 5-gallon buckets and the growing table drain any extra water back into the tank.
- At this moment, you are now able to create a nutrient water solution in your reservoir.
- You could already introduce your plants once your solution is ready. Take the beginnings or clones which have started to grow in the rock wool and place them in the clay pellets. Add the dripline so that when the water reaches the rock wool and the roots of your beginning.
The advantage of this setup is, it could be made quickly as you’d like to grow more plants as long as your reservoir does have enough capacity to supply all plants with enough water. All you have to do is add extra lines to the new pots to increase the drip line setup.
Nutrients for Hydroponic Cannabis
When growing the best hydroponic system for marijuana, you are in charge of providing all the nutrients required for the survival of plants. Nitrogen (N ), Phosphorus (P ), and Potassium (K) are three important nutrients for the growth of plants known as macronutrients. In addition, there are secondary and micronutrients to help the plant grow. Which include Boron, Copper, Calcium, Iron, Sulphur, Zinc, and Magnesium.
Many companies can sell hydroponic nutrient solutions that are designed specifically in certain stages of development. Nitrogen-rich nutrient solutions would be used in the vegetative phase, whereas phosphorus-rich nutrients would become more essential in the flowering stage.
Nutrients are either pre-mixed in a solution or in small quantities. Hile powder form may be cheaper and far less bulky, but it’s better to stick with liquid premixed nutrients if you’re a small grower as they blend easily with water and are more tolerant.
Explore Nutrients for Your Hydroponic Cannabis
It takes several measurements to ensure your solution is safe for the plant, what you are mixing in nutrients. First, ensure you have the correct electrical conductivity (EC) reading, second, make sure that the pH reading is accurate and right. The electrical conductivity is how cannabis growers could tell how powerful their solution is, and how rich the mineral water is. The more minerals, the greater the electrical conductivity rating would be. In general, reading around 0.9 to 2.0 is enough for growing marijuana. It would need a lower quantity of nutrients as against when it’s flowering and growing big.
Another reliable method used is ppm (parts per million), that is another way to look at just how nutrient-dense the solution is. There were also two distinct ppm scales used in the marijuana industry: 500 and 700. The much more effective method to decide ppm would be to take an EC reading, expand it either by 500 or 700 depending on the complexity you use. The electric conductivity reading of 2.0 will be equivalent to either 1,000 ppm (500 scales) or 1,400 ppm (700 scales). A lot of readers used it to estimate EC or ppm will be doing this transition for you.
The lesser the ppm, the lesser the density of the solution. As a rule of thumb, the target for the preceding concentrations depend on the age of your cannabis plant:
- Seedlings or early sprouts – 100 – 250 ppm
- Early vegetative stage – 300 – 400 ppm
- Full vegetative stage – 450 – 700 ppm
- Early blooming stage – 750 – 950 ppm
- Full mature bloom or ripening stage – 1,000 – 1,600 ppm
Note how much nutrients you use are relied on before you make any nutrient solutions. Next, you will need to balance the pH level. Approximately 5.5 and 6 are optimal for the absorption of nutrients by marijuana. If the levels are significantly reduced, the plants will fail to absorb the nutrients and will suffer from deficiencies. You must keep monitoring your solution by reading data twice a day to ensure that all are at the right level. It is great exercise, however, to swap your solutions each week or two to maintain the solution as ideal as necessary.
Hydroponics may seem frightening and difficult with the outside observer. All the various components, methods, and procedures make this process very sophisticated. The best way to start with a simple structure, get a suitable strain, and often evaluate the environmental needs of your plants. Growing cannabis hydroponic system is very satisfying, and work pays off with fast times of development and increasing yields. The idea of starting out in hydroponic systems is scary, but it can still be done. Actually, it’s a lot easier than it might seem.