hydroponic-cannabis-growing

Hydroponic Cannabis Growing Made Easy

October 11, 2019

Hydroponic growing is a concept growers developed thousands of years ago. For centuries the method has been executed in different environment settings where plants grew in a soilless setup using water, air, and nutrients.

In the case of cannabis cultivation, growers are adopting the hydroponic culture because of its advantages of faster (30-50%) and productive yield. Growing weed might seem difficult without the conventional soil method. But when you look closer at the process, learn the tips and tricks, hydroponic can be the right way to grow cannabis. Since the plants absorb food from water and air, you need to regulate the atmosphere as per the requirements. Before getting into cannabis growing it is important to know what are cannabis strains or what is Sativa and indica strains. 

Related article: 5 Reasons Why You Should Grow Your Own Weed

FIRST! Sterilize Tank and Equipment

It is important to set up the basics like a tank and equipment for cannabis cultivation. If you are reusing any tank, make sure you disinfect and sterilize before setting up the plant. The same applies to the equipment. For the hydroponic system, you need to avoid the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms and prevent root rot. Besides the tank, you will need pipes, filters, hydroponic nutrients, fluorescent lights, pH tests, and so on. Remember to sanitize every material used for the hydro system with disinfectants regularly. 

Related article: A Step by Step Guide - Growing Weed Indoors for Beginners

SECOND: Choose the Medium

Here medium refers to a substance that can assist the plant’s stem, and roots get a hold in the growing area. It is a support that can position the plant properly. Through this medium, the roots will find their way into the water and absorb nutrients. The static medium will also let the air pass in easily reaching the top of the roots. Growers can choose from different substances like pebbles, rock wool, perlite, and coco coir. Try and experiment with all to find the best suited for your cannabis yield. Check out this article for more information on choosing the right medium.

Related article: How to Build the Perfect Indoor Grow Room (For up to 6 Plants)

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THIRD: Decide the Hydroponic Setup

Your tank, equipment, and medium are ready. Now you have to decide on the hydro system. The primary method of using nutrients, water, and air is the same in all. But the difference lies in water exposure and distribution. There are a few systems you can purchase:

  • Deep Water Culture- One of the easiest for beginners. You need to place the plants in a bucket full of nutrient-supplemented water. There will also be an air pump at the lower level of the bucket to supply oxygen.
  • Drip System- In the drip system, you have to choose a substance to fill it in a large tray and place the cannabis plants into it. Each plant will have a separate drip pipe to supply water from an external water tank. The drip system will allow sufficient air to the roots and offer an outlet of excess water through the medium to the tank.
  • Aeroponics- The process in this hydro system involves using water mist sprinkled on plants to enhance air exposure and hydrate them. Fill the tank up to 25% of water and attach a pump to it to supply water through a mister below each plant. Hence, the roots get equal portions of water and air.

You can look up for more systems or DIY your hydroponic setup for cannabis cultivation.

Related article: Germinating Marijuana Seeds and The Seedling Stage

FOURTH: pH Level of the Water

It will be ideal to start growing with freshwater having a neutral pH level. A pH level of 5.5-7 is necessary during the entire cultivation. Keep checking on the degree and adjust depending on the stage of your cannabis plants. For instance, the flowering stage will need up to 6 pH range. A pH testing kit can help you maintain and change nutrient solutions accordingly. Failing to maintain a proper level will lead to low-quality produce or plant death. 

Related article: Marijuana Vegetative Stage - For Indoor Growing

FIFTH: Monitor the Temperature and Humidity

The hydroponic temperature for proper nutrient absorption should be around 65 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 degrees C. The air temperature should preferably be warm. To adjust the temperature, use a water thermometer for monitoring. You can achieve good cannabis yield in temperature of up to 24 C.

For humidity, there is no one particular level suitable for productive growth. The level may vary depending on the stage of the cannabis plant. When they are starting to grow the humid level should be 60-70% range. As they enter the flowering stage, they bring the level down to 40%.  Install a humidifier and dehumidifier to adjust the levels.

Related article: The Flowering Stage

SIXTH: Electrical Conductivity Readings

A PPM EC meter is an instrument to measure the electrical conductivity of the water. It is necessary to determine the amount of organic and inorganic substances (dissolved solids) in the water. If there are more minerals, the conductivity will be high. An EC reading is necessary to find out the nutrients in the hydroponic water is in balance. A high level will burn your plants while a low level will not give you potential output.

In the initial stages, the EC level can range from 0.5-1.3. As they start to grow bigger, increase the level up to 2.0, and during its blooming stage, the EC can be 2.5. There will be a difference in these levels according to various weed types.

Related article: How to Dry and Cure Your Marijuana Plant  

SEVENTH: Install Proper Lights

Last, but one of the most crucial factors in cannabis growing is the light setup. It is important during the vegetative stage. The space you select for plantation will help you decide which form of light arrangements can maximize yield. For a large area, HID (High-Intensity Discharge) lights would work well to facilitate airflow and ventilation, and LED lights are suitable for small. To avoid stretching of the plants, growers suggest 14% of the setup should be blue lights.

While indoor cannabis growing can be expensive it is not impossible to carry it out on a shoestring budget, refer to this guide on growing pot indoors on a budget, for tips and tricks to keep in mind.

Related article: How to Trim Your Marijuana Bud?

Conclusion

Cannabis plants have resistance capacity. But for maximum yield, every plant needs proper care to flourish well. With a different variety of strains, you have an array of choices to experiment with. Strain choice should depend on the effect you want from the produce.

Also, remember to purchase seeds from only a trustable source. Try growing along with some other plants like basil, mushrooms, or lettuce to reduce the risks of pests attack and loss of too much cannabis.



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