Hydroponic growing has been taking off the weed industry, especially for the people who grow for personal use. Though the system is a bit more intricate than traditional soil gardening, it produces a higher quality harvest, and it takes less time to finish the plant’s life cycle. In a hydroponic system, cannabis grows in buckets that get water and nutrients from a reservoir through piping. Additionally, the plants don’t grow in soil but a mixture of water and medium such as rock wool or coco coir. This may sound too confusing, but if you’d like to learn more and take up a new gardening hobby, here is a thorough guide for you.
Pick a growing medium.
Before you get started, you need to consider the medium in which you’ll plant your germinated cannabis seeds. Despite your medium of choice, you will need clay pebbles to line the pots. The most popular media are coco coir and rock wool cubes. Coco coir is the more sustainable option since it’s made out of coconut shells and can be useful to protect your crop from infections. On the other hand, rock wool is superior in retaining water for longer periods which makes it great in hydrating the upper root system of your plant. If you’d like to learn more about different media hydroponic systems use, check out this link.
Decide on a growing setup.
There are multiple ways to set up your hydroponic system. The method you decide upon depends on your skillset and budget. If you’re a more confident grower who’d like to save a bit of cash, you can opt for building the setup on your own from the ground up. Then, of course, you may buy the setups which are ready to use. The two most popular methods are the Kratky method and the deep water culture method.
2.1. The Kratky Method
A Kratky Method is a great option for you if you’re a complete beginner. It’s known for being the cheapest and most convenient way of growing weed by hydroponics. You will need the basic hydroponics equipment and the seeds. What is special about this method is that it’s only the roots immersed in the nutrient solution, with the rest of the plant sitting in net cups. To aerate the upper roots, you should pay attention to leaving some space between the nutrient mixture and the bottom of the cup. If you pick this method, ensure you refill the container before the roots absorb the solution.
2.2. Deep water culture
Like the Kratky Method, deep water culture systems utilize one reservoir filled with the nutrient solution, but there’s no space between the plant cups and the solution. The aeration is provided by an airstone which is put into the nutrient mix.
Prepare and maintain your system.
Before you put everything up, it is recommended to sterilize the equipment you’ll be using. This way, you’ll be sure that your product isn’t cross-contaminated. Once everything is sterilized, and all of the piping is connected, you’ll need to maintain the system constantly for the plants to have a healthy life cycle. One of the crucial factors you need to take care of is the pH value of the nutrient solution. Optimally, the pH value should range between 5.5 and 5.8 since the roots prefer a more acidic environment. Another factor worth your time is the water temperature. Purchase a thermometer and make sure to immerse it into the water. It would be best if you strived to keep the temperature at around 20 degrees celsius.
Quantity of nutrients
No matter the method of cultivation, the plants need the same amount of nutrients. Unfortunately, many people forget about this and over-feed their hydroponically grown plants. The most fool-proof way you’ll ensure your plants get a proper amount of feed is to use the nutrients mainly made to be used in the hydroponic environment. These products always come with specific instructions on how to be used, including the proportion of water needed to dilute it and how often you should top up the main reservoir.
To provide the best possible conditions to your plants, you should make sure to sanitize your equipment after every harvest and before you plant the new crop. Additionally, it is recommended to clean the entire setup every two weeks for optimal growth.