I’ve been growing cannabis in soil for most of the last 10 years; its just how I learned and what I feel comfortable with. I’ve been investigating hydroponics and its effects on cannabis over the last few months and have decided it was time to make the move to a complete hydroponic grow system. For me it was a shocking move and a tough decision to move away from what I’m an expert at; growing in dirt with led grow lights. This article will discuss my adventure as I uncover why growing cannabis in combination with LEDs and Hydroponics is the ultimate blue print for cannabis growing success!
Top 3 Complete Hydroponic Grow Systems on Amazon
The biggest issue I had when deciding to try hydro gardening was what setup to get and where to buy it from. I didn’t know exactly what I would need or how it all works together. That’s why I took the time to do the research. I’ve found the best hydroponic kits that include everything you need to start growing. You can now benefit from my hard work researching the best options.
|PICTURE||HYDROPONIC SYSTEM MODEL||Manufacturer||Rating|
|Deep Water Culture Hydroponic Bubbler Bucket Kit (I’m Using This, Amazing!)||by PowerGrow|
|Hydroponic Self Watering Bubbler||by H2OtoGro|
|16.5 Gallon Deep Water Culture Hydroponic Growing System Complete Kit||By Active Aqua|
Beginners need not be afraid of hydroponics, it’s concept and equipment are very simple. When I first looked at a system I feared the learning curve but in actuality it has a very small learning curve. I find that it’s simpler to grow hydroponically than in soil. There is really less watering issues which tend to cause issues for newbies growing plants when using a complete hydroponic system instead of traditional soil.
Growing in soil has its plus’s and negatives but it’s main limitation is its ability to transfer oxygen to its roots while maintaining enough moisture in the plant. You can’t over or under water your plants, they need a very regimented amount of water and schedule. Other issues that can arise due to growing in soil are molds, mildews and pests. I’ve found out what hydroponic growers have known all along, hydroponic systems for growing cannabis are incredible.
The Power to Maximize your Grow
With hydroponics you can maximize the amount of water that comes in to contact with the roots while also giving the roots enough time to dry partially before the next feeding. With hydroponics nutrients are placed in oxygen rich water. The nutrient water mixture is oxygenated using sand stone and an air pump like those systems used with fish tanks. Since the water nutrient mix has oxygen it is transferred to the root system of your plants.
The nutrient mix is a combination of macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients which provide all of the plants chemical requirements. The nutrient solution comes into contract with your cannabis plants roots but the roots do not remain in constant contact with the water and nutrients. Depending on the type of Hydroponic system you are using the water, oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the roots in one of 6 ways.
The Types of Hydroponic Feeding
Wick System – The simplest Hydroponic system is passive which means that it uses no moving parts. Solution is drawn into the root system using a wick which sucks water up from the reservoir and delivers it to the growing medium which could be Perlite, Vermiculite or Coconut Fiber.
Water Culture System – This is an active system but in it’s simplest form. With this method the plant is held in a Styrofoam substrate which floats in the nutrient solution. The nutrient solution is air rated so that the roots can be in constant contact with the nutrient/water solution. This option is great for growing lettuce but not good for cannabis or any other plant for that matter.
Ebb and Flow – this option is much more commonly used for Cannabis plants. The ebb/flow system works by temporarily flooding the roots with nutrient solution and then draining that solution back into the reservoir. This movement of the water is driven by a pump which is submerged in the nutrient/water reservoir which is enabled by a timer. With this method you can control how often the roots are flushed with water and nutrients.
The growing medium for this system would be grow rocks, gravel or granular Rockwool.
Drip Systems – the most common of the hydroponic systems used for growing cannabis is the drip system. Its simple operation is very attractive to growers. With this system nutrient/water is dripped into the roots of your cannabis plants and the run off is collected in the reservoir for re-use. This is an efficient system that saves on water and nutrients.
Nutrient Film Technique – This system is what most people see in their minds when they think of hydroponics. This system uses a constant flow of water/nutrients which is run past the roots of the cannabis plants which are suspended above the water using plastic baskets. No growing medium is required which makes this a very simple and cost-effective option.
Aeroponic System – The most advanced option in hydroponic gardening. In this setup the plants are held above the reservoir in a plastic basket with the cannabis’s plants roots hanging down below. The roots are then misted with the water nutrient blend often so that the roots are never given a chance to dry out.
Benefits of Complete Hydroponic Grow Systems
Even though your growing medium is water instead of soil it doesn’t mean it uses more water; in-fact hydroponics only requires 1 gallon of water per plant for the entire grow cycle start to finish. If you were watering your cannabis plants in soil you would use 5x more water over the course of the grow.
Hydroponics Promotes Fast and Larger Plant Growth
Due to the efficiency in providing oxygen, water and nutrients to the roots of your cannabis plants you will experience faster and larger plant growth. Since your plants aren’t sitting in soil or another grow medium that increase the amount of oxygen water and nutrients that your plants can absorb without causing root rot or other conditions related to over and under watering. Since you are in control of all the growing variables from light to, feeding your plants will be heartier.
Hydro Grows Produce Larger Cannabis Yields than growing in Soil
When growing in soil your plants root system must absorb nutrients from the surrounding soil, as nutrient rich water evaporates it leaves behind trance amounts of minerals in the soil. The roots are then able to absorb the nutrients for use. When working with hydroponics the roots of your plant are in better contact with water, oxygen and nutrients which means the plant has an easier time of taking in what it needs to thrive.
If you need to make an adjustment to your water/nutrient supply it’s very easy, either add more water to weaken the mixture or add more nutrients to increase the strength. You adjust these parameters based on how your plants are looking. Since your plants won’t ever be under or over watered any visible issues with your cannabis plants will either be light related or nutrient strength related. This really simplifies the growing process for you and allows you to grow healthier plants which will yield more flowers and more potent levels of CBD and THC.
Hydroponic Grows Experience Less Plant Disease
As any cannabis grower can tell you that pests and disease are your enemy. When growing in soil your odds of running into some sort of pest or disease is much higher. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Soils Can be contaminated with fungus and larva
- Soils hold on to moisture for longer periods of time which increases the chances of mold and mildew issues
- Soil gives bugs a place to hatch and thrive
Growing indoors means you have taken control over your plants environment and created a micro climate for them to thrive in. Since you are indoors you have much greater control over pests that could be introduced. This isn’t a rule because I’ve had issues indoors many a time with all sorts of pests. It’s just less likely, if you keep a clean grow area you can greatly reduce the odds of contamination. Since you are removing soil out of the grow equation you are removing the number one reason why plants have issues with pests and disease in the first place.
No Need for Poisonous Pesticides
Since growing hydroponics means no soil and no access to outdoors your risk of harmful insects attacking your cannabis is very low and thus the need to use pesticides in not required at all. Since you will be smoking this cannabis you really don’t want pesticide in your plants, even organic pesticides will affect the flavor of your cannabis and chemical fertilizers can poison you. Remember to flush your plants at the end of the grow cycle to remove any left over nutrients this step will greatly improve the taste and aroma of your cannabis.
Affordability is Key
Hydroponic grow systems are the key to efficiency in your cannabis grow. They require less space then traditional grow setups, less water, no pesticides and you can pick the nutrients. After the initial start up expense of the pump and containers your hydroponic system will require very little future investment or maintenance.
Using LED Grow Lights with Hydroponics
If you are using LED grow lights or are thinking about using LED grow lights in conjunction with complete hydroponic systems you are playing with amazing! The advanced grow power of the led grow light with the super charged nutritional performance of hydroponics is a match made in stoner heaven. Just be careful when working with electricity and water. Hydroponic systems are generally closed systems so there is no chance of electrocution unless you do something really stupid.
Even with my love and experience of growing cannabis in soil I have to admit I’m drawn to the simplicity and effectiveness of hydroponics. The ability to reduce the number of negative factors such as pests and disease as well as control the nutrient uptake of your plants without causing negative effects on the root system is magical.
As an environmentalist I’m also drawn to the efficiency of hydroponics, using less water, chemicals and pesticides while increasing your production seems like it’s too good to be true but in this case it is true. This one time cheaper and simpler really does produce the best results for growing cannabis.
Since we are talking about growing cannabis you should be looking to use either the ebb and flow system, drip system or the nutrient film system. If you use one of these simple options your cannabis grow will explode, and your work load will decrease greatly. It’s a win win and that’s why I’m going to continue growing with hydroponics instead of soil.
This system which is producing amazing results for me got me to switch from soil growing to hydro growing in one grow. I would highly recommend this system to any cannabis grower new or advanced.